THE MYTHS, LEGENDS AND FOLKLORE OF ENGLAND
England’s history is interwoven with the threads of myth, legend and folklore. These stories shape our understanding of our past and our present.
Join us as we tell tales from England’s past and uncover the history behind them, from St George to sea-monsters, medieval ghosts and buried treasure.
Help us to map England's folklore
Every village, parish, town and city has its own local legends, from ghostly tales to fantastical creatures.
With your help, we are collecting stories from across England on our interactive online map. Visit the link below and click Submit a Tale to share a story and explore those shared by others.Explore the map
Tales from English Folklore
Latest episode: The tale of the Wronged Lady of Okehampton
A local legend surrounding Devon's Okehampton Castle tells of a murderous woman, doomed to pay an eternal penance for her alleged sins.
Join two Victorian gentlemen as they are given a guided tour, and hear the spine-chilling tale of Lady Mary Howard...Watch on YouTube
The Tale of St Hild and The Snakes
The story of the determined Abbess who banished a plague of poisonous snakes from Whitby Abbey.
The Tale of the Dancers of Stanton Drew
How were the Stanton Drew Stone Circles formed? Legend says that it began with a wedding long, long ago...
The tale of the cult of Mithras
In a dark underground temple, Roman soldiers worshipped a little-known God. But what did initiation to this secretive cult entail?
The Tale of Charles II and the Royal Oak
King Charles II escapes from the Battle of Worcester to Boscobel House, where the locals help him into a rather ingenious hiding place...
Making the map
with Clive Hicks-Jenkins
BRINGING MYTH AND LEGEND TO LIFE
We visited artist Clive Hicks-Jenkins and digital experts Gravitywell to reveal how traditional craftsmanship and modern technology were brought together to create the map of myth, legend and folklore.
Dragons and their origins
Where did the dragon myth originate, and why are dragon stories so widespread across at least two continents? Carolyne Larrington, Professor of medieval European literature, investigates.
Where do myths, legends and folktales come from?
Mythical tales are well established in English culture. But where do these stories come from? Carolyne Larrington examines the origins of dragons, kelpies, hobs and even the legend of King Arthur.
Explore more stories on our blog
Discover more stories around myths, legends and folklore plus a range of other topics on our blog.
Tell us a story for your chance to win
Aged 5–14? Got a creative imagination? Do you think you could tell us a story in 500 words or fewer?
Be inspired by one of our historic sites this summer and create your own story for a chance to win some amazing prizes for you, your family and your school.How to enter
Explore the myths, legends and folklore of England
Stay tuned throughout the year as we uncover more tales of English myth, legend and folklore...
9 things you didn't know about St George
St George is the patron saint of England, and subject of one of our most famous legends. But who was he really? Some of these facts may surprise you.
Set in Stone? - Objects of Stonehenge's myths
Explore the objects that tell the story of our ancestors' perception of Stonehenge, from medieval myths and antiquarian theories to the discoveries of modern archaeology.
Lambert Simnel, the Boy King of Piel
On the island guarded by Piel Castle, a 'King of Piel' is still crowned to this day, in a tradition said to originate from the time of Lambert Simnel, a pretender to the throne.
Tintagel Castle and the legend of King Arthur
This ancient island castle is steeped in legend, and said to be the place where King Arthur was conceived.
Places of Legend
Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire
These gothic abbey ruins were the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula, and home to the snake-banishing St Hild.
Tintagel Castle, Cornwall
Ancient island castle steeped in legend and said to be the place of King Arthur's conception.
Explore all 400+ of the historic places in our care, many of them associated with myth, legend and folklore.
More to explore
Stay in the places where myths and legends were made with our deluxe holiday cottages. From Lindisfarne Priory to Dover Castle, enjoy exclusive access to a historic site after it closes to the public.
Modern Myths & Legends
These Our Monsters: The English Heritage Book of New Folktale, Myth and Legend. Featuring work eight from well-known writers, this book tells stories inspired by the myths, legends and lore attached to historical sites within the care of English Heritage.
Join us for a legendary summer
Make this summer legendary with our season of events. Witness Romans clashing, brave knights battling it out in real tournaments, and jousters displaying feats of strength and skill to rival today’s top athletes.