Green Men and White Swans

Green Men and White Swans : The Folklore of British Pub Names

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From the King & Tinker, named after a traditional tale in which a disguised monarch surprises a local craftsman, to the Eagle & Child, commemorating 'the Lathom legend', many British pub names and signs are steeped in local legends and ancient beliefs. In "Green Men & White Swans", Jacqueline Simpson, one of the UK's leading folklorists, explores the stories behind the names, showing where they originated and tracing how they have evolved over the years. In the process, she reveals why the Green Man is sometimes depicted as a club-wielding giant with a girdle of leaves and sometimes as a Robin Hood figure, retells the dramatic tale of local Wiltshire hero Rattlebone, and describes the centuries-old custom that gives its name to the Silver Ball in St Columb. From there, she goes on to explain why you seem to be able to find a Red Lion, a Queen's Head or a White Horse in every part of the country, and why the recent fashion for apparently meaningless combinations involving slugs, toads, parrots and firkins actually has a precedent in history. Enlightening, revealing and entertaining by turns, "Green Men & White Swans" is both an intriguing insight into the history of the British pub and a captivating journey through the country's legendary more

Product details

  • Hardback | 368 pages
  • 134 x 200 x 34mm | 439.98g
  • Cornerstone
  • Random House Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1847945155
  • 9781847945150
  • 762,732

About Jacqueline Simpson

Dr Jacqueline Simpson was born in 1930 and studied English Literature and Medieval Icelandic at Bedford College, University of London. She has been an active member of the Folklore Society since the 1960s, having served at various times as Editor, Secretary and President. She also belongs to the Viking Society for Northern Research.She is particularly interested in local legends, both English and Scandinavian. Her books include British Dragons (1980), Scandinavian Folktales (1988), A Dictionary of English Folklore (2000, with Steve Roud), The Lore of the Land (2005, with Jennifer Westwood) and The Folklore of the Discworld (2008, with Terry Pratchett). She is a member of the Ghosts and Scholars Society and the Dracula Society. She lives in more

Review quote

"An engaging and inquisitive narrative voice ... As well as being an enjoyable account of English folklore and history, the book provides an insight into the more esoteric behaviour that characterises English eccentricity" Sunday Telegraph "In this enjoyable compendium, Simpson, a folklore expert, elucidates hundreds of mysterious pub names" Financial Times "This book is both an intriguing insight into the history of the British pub and a captivating journey through the country's dramatic past" Living Northshow more