Christina Hole


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Her books were written for a ‘general public’ assumed to have no prior expertise, but without ever stooping to sensationalism or inaccuracy. Her first book on folklore, Traditions and Customs of Cheshire (1937), drew on close personal knowledge of that area; her later ones ranged further, but she always tried to observe as many festivals and seasonal customs as possible at first hand. She was always more concerned to describe clearly what was currently done than to speculate on remote origins and lost meanings; her books therefore remain reliable introductions to this aspect of folklore, the most important being English Custom and Usage (1941–2), English Traditional Customs (1975), and British Folk Customs (1976). She also wrote introductory surveys of ghost-lore in Haunted England (1940) and of witch beliefs in Witchcraft In England (1945; more accurately renamed Witchcraft in Britain in the 1977 edition), good for their time but now outdated. The full list of her publications is considerable.

From 1956 to 1978 she devoted much time and care to editing Folklore, thus contributing to the post-war revival of the Folklore Society as a focus for scholarship.

For tributes, bibliography, and obituaries, see Folklore 90 (1979), 665–6;97 (1986), 109–10;The Times (29 Nov. 1985);Jacqueline Simpson, ‘Christina Hole’, in Women and Tradition, ed. Hilda Davidson and Carmen Blacker (forthcoming).

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