Who Were the Cunning Folk?

Cunning folk were people who practiced low magic, providing cures for common ailments and simple problems during the renaissance. The skills of cunning folk employed a combination of herbal medicine, midwifery and Christianity to imbue charms (objects or mummified animals) with supposed powers as a form of protection for clients or their homes or transferring illness from clients into live animals (1). Cunning folk offered magic and medical services which included herbalism, astrology, love magic, theft magic, fortune-telling, charm writing as well as protection from witchcraft (2).

  1. Blackett-Ord, R. & Fischel, A. 2020. A History of Magic Witchcraft & the Occult.
  2. Davies, O. editor. 2017. The Oxford Illustrated History of Witchcraft & Magic.