Charlotte Latham

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The first issue of Folk-Lore Record (1878) contains an article entitled ‘Some West Sussex Superstitions Lingering in 1868’ (1–67). Unfortunately, nothing is known about the author, Mrs Charlotte Latham, except that her husband had been rector of the village of Fittleworth, but her paper is a model of its kind, and her methods exemplary; she used to write down ‘the scraps of homely conversation’ in which she got her information, so that others could ‘form a truer judgement than they could otherwise arrive at of the degree of faith existing in the original narrator’. She writes with clarity and immediacy, giving short but vivid sketches of the circumstances of her fieldwork, for example how she once allowed a Sunday School class to ‘quite overwhelm’ her with ‘a torrent of narrative’ about their relatives’ encounters with ghosts and the Devil (19); she also draws on her own childhood memories; she even dares (after due apology to readers) to include two traditional cures for bed-wetting.

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