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Published titles > Photography > Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids
Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids cover image
UK £19.95
Hardback with jacket
160 pages
100 colour illustrations
25.6 x 21.2 cm (10.25 x 8.5 in)
ISBN: 978-1-8589-4559-0
Not available in North America
Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids
A Journey Through the English Ritual Year
Sara Hannant

In Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, a man covered from head to toe in straw – the ‘straw bear’ – is paraded through the streets, accompanied by 250 dancers, musicians and performers, while in Ottery St Mary, Devon, a crowd gathers as townspeople hoist barrels of flaming tar on to their shoulders and carry them until they are too hot to handle. Award-winning photographer Sara Hannant has travelled the length and breadth of the country, capturing the seemingly bizarre regional rituals – costumed processions, symbolic dramatizations, traditional dances and fire ceremonies – that mark the changing seasons. Many of these customs claim an ancient origin, and are kept alive today by local communities. Hannant’s vibrant photographs reflect her keen eye for the unexpected, offering a captivating and surprising study of English identity.

 

An entertaining album of over 50 folk rituals performed across the country, from Cornwall to Northumberland, throughout the year
More than 100 colour photographs accompanied by illuminating captions tracing the history and significance of each ritual
A celebration of English eccentricity that will appeal to anyone interested in folklore, tradition and national heritage

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Author Profile

Sara Hannant has been a freelance photographer for more than 20 years. She was awarded Resurgence magazine’s photography prize in 2006, and her social documentary work has appeared in the Sunday Times, The Guardian and Time Out, among other publications.

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Reviews

Sara Hannant’s remarkable photographs convey, with joy and compassion, the mystery, charm and exuberance of traditional English ritual

Shirley Collins, President of the English Folk Dance and Song Society

Sara has a rare gift for capturing peak moments in such celebrations … the human participants emerge as vivid characters in their own right, adding depth to the drama and humour of the local seasonal rites in which they are involved. She is a genuinely talented artist, and a great boon to a scholar

Professor Ronald Hutton, University of Bristol

Wonderful photographs – funny, moving, lovely and very human

Mali Morris RA

Full of wonderful photos

A Bad Witch's blog

Hannant’s vibrant images reveal her keen eye for the unexpected, offering a captivating and surprising glimpse of contemporary 'Merrie England'

British Photographic History blog

Hannant’s charming and informative photo essay brings to life this quintessentially English obsession … she captures the warmth, drama, humour and emotion of these quaint events with an artist’s eye. An oddly moving book

F22 magazine

Sara has captured the energy and vibrancy of her selected customs

English Dance and Song Magazine
Event
British Film Institute DVD

Here's a Health to the Barley Mow

 

The BFI celebrates British folk customs, songs, dances and games in this entertaining DVD containing short films, poetic documentaries, long-unseen TV reports and rare silent film footage, spanning a century.

 

MMM_BBC_DVD

 

Click here to view this DVD on Amazon.co.uk

Katharine Briggs Folklore Award 2012

Runner-up in the Katharine Briggs Folklore Award 2012


These photographs are fabulous, and the author has clearly taken the time to find out what these customs mean to their participants. Her consideration of revived, invented and semi-institutional customs alongside the ‘traditional’ is welcome, and the whole is backed with a sober and thoughtful text.

The Folklore Society

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