The Folklore festival was a huge success and the organisers should be thoroughly proud of their achievement. Special thanks are due to Anne-Marie Lagram for inviting us to take part and for including Mary Webb as one of the three Shropshire women folklorists along with Charlotte Sophia Burne (Shropshire Folklore:A Sheaf of Gleanings 1883) and Georgina Jackson (Shropshire Word Book 1879). Mary Webb used both of these books as resources during her research for her novels.
Cath Edwards gave us “A Dream of Mary Webb” A new story performance inspired by Mary Webb and her Shropshire landscape. In this beautifully crafted story, Cath interwove aspects of the life of Mary Webb with some of her characters and with Shropshire folklore tales, particularly relating to Bomere Pool. The audience was captivated.
Gladys Mary Coles spoke on the influence of folklore in the work of Mary Webb. Her novels are steeped in folklore, which Mary absorbed throughout her life, firstly from her father and later by visiting local people and listening intently to their stories.
Gladys Mary read from a previously unpublished essay by Mary Webb in her own handwriting in which she clearly demonstrates her use of folklore in her work. This was a fascinating glimpse into Mary’s creative process. Gladys Mary finished by reading the dramatic sin eater passage in Precious Bane.
It was a wonderful day of storytelling, poetry, music, dancing and crafts in the evocative atmosphere of Acton Scott Historic Farm Museum near Church Stretton.
We thoroughly enjoyed our day and had a steady stream of visitors to our stall throughout the day.
Shropshire Folklore and its connection to the works of Mary Webb was firmly established. This festival needs to be a permanent fixture in the calendar and we will support it wholeheartedly.