Crafting Corn

Crafting Corn

Tradition/Folk Lore

Throughout history items have been made from the materials available. When people were more connected with the land and whole villages were involved in the collection of harvest, it was natural to make things from straw. Many shapes which have been made for centuries (and are regarded as 'traditional'), have been documented in books. They have been given names and classified as 'corn dollies'. This is a term made up in the early part of the 20th century and applied (some what incorrectly) to any object made of corn. My interest is in the shapes and the stories behind them. 

Three dark tales

The Stafford Knot

Many myths surround this shape.
One myth tells the story of three criminals who committed a crime together . There was an argument over whom should be hung first so the hangman solved the problem by devising a knot whereby all three could be hung together.


The knot also appears on an Anglo Saxon Cross in a churchyard in Stoke on Trent and on a 7th century object found in the Staffordshire hoard so it could have been a heraldic symbol of an old anglo saxon Kingdom or a Celtic Christian symbol.
Others have suggested that the design looks like a pretzel believed to have been invented by a monk in 610 BC. Pretzels represent arms crossed in prayer.
This appears everywhere from road signs to school logos, pottery to football clubs.

The Norfolk Lantern

Some say this design came from Romania but could it be connected to the Myth of The Lantern Man?


Lantern Man Myth

On a misty evening in 1809 a group of sailors sat in The White horse Inn . Suddenly one of them, Joseph Bexfield, realised that he had left a parcel for his wife on a wherry. Despite being discouraged by his friends he set off across the dark marshes to retrienve his parcel., He was never seen again. When his friends went outside the inn they saw strange lights across the marshes and knew that Lantern Man and his ghost were wandering the land.

The Horseshoe Legend

 Once upon a time, long, long ago, the devil asked a blacksmith to fit his hooves with horseshoes. Unfortunately they gave him terrible pain, so a short while later he asked for them to be removed. The blacksmith agreed on the one condition that the devil would never enter any premises upon which a horseshoe was displayed
Over time, the belief has formed that a horseshoe holds good luck. There are some who believe that if a horseshoe is hung upside down like an 'n' shape, over a doorway, the good luck is tipped upon all who enter.


Historically horses are a predominant feature of Suffolk as we have Suffolk cart horses and the famous racing stables of Newmarket. This shape is often refered to as 'the dolly of Suffolk.'