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Local stories for local people

Gloucestershire Folk Tales - Anthony Nanson

I'm making a point of reading landscape books at the moment - there are many ways in which writing connects with place, and this is one of them. Author Anthony Nanson is both a novelist and a story teller, so is able to breathe life into the folk tales of Gloucestershire.


Many of the stories in this book are connected with landscapes I know intimately. Some of the tales were familiar, others not, including one about a hill that has left me with a significant mystery to ponder. For me, what made the book so valuable was the intertwining of known history, physical place, and story. At times there are reasons to think that the stories have grown out of those other features, perhaps to explain something. I particularly liked the way in which the Devil stories for the county were woven into one tale. I hadn’t realised just how much of the landscape was of the Devil’s making! Parallels with tales from elsewhere were also fascinating. It’s a lively read, and a must if you’re in the county.