Palgrave Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic

The Magic of Coin-Trees from Religion to Recreation

The Roots of a Ritual

Authors: Houlbrook, Ceri

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  • Provides the first book-length study focusing specifically on, and cataloguing, British coin-trees
  • Contributes to debates on the historic relationships between religion, ritual, and popular magic in British contexts
  • Utilises an interdisciplinary approach, combining methodologies from folklore, anthropology and archaeology
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eBook $79.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-75517-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
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  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $119.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-75516-8
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  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
Softcover $99.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-030-09252-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
About this book

This book traces the history of ritual landscapes in the British Isles, and the transition from religious practice to recreation, by focusing on a highly understudied exemplar: the coin-tree. These are trees imbued with magical properties into which coins have been ritually embedded. This is a contemporary custom which can be traced back in the literature to the 1700s, when it was practiced for folk-medical and dedicatory purposes. Today, the custom is widespread, with over 200 coin-trees distributed across the British Isles, but is more akin to the casual deposition of coins in a wishing-well: coins are deposited in the tree in exchange for wishes, good luck, or future fortune. Ceri Houlbrook contributes to the debate on the historic relationships between religion, ritual, and popular magic in British contexts from 1700 to the present. 

About the authors

Ceri Houlbrook is Early Career Researcher of History and Folklore at the University of Hertfordshire, UK, and the co-editor of The Materiality of Magic: An Artefactual Investigation into Ritual Practices and Popular Beliefs and Magical Folk: British and Irish Fairies.


Reviews

“The author has spent many hours hanging about at 40 identified sites all over the British Isles, asking visitors their thoughts, assessing their ritual, touristic and aesthetic context, and then writing up field notes and a highly considered academic contextualisation that is laudably readable.” (Northern Earth, Issue 163, March, 2021)
“Coin-trees are now very much part of British tradition, folklore and landscape as this most enjoyable book makes clear. … it is an academic contribution to a series of historical studies on witchcraft and magic, it is a clear and readable account accessible for the non-specialist reader and laced with interesting sidelights and anecdotes, of a fascinating piece of folklore, as authentic as any truly ‘ancient’ tradition.” (John Rimmer, Magonia review of books, July, 2019)


Table of contents (8 chapters)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $79.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-75517-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $119.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-75516-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
Softcover $99.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-030-09252-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Magic of Coin-Trees from Religion to Recreation
Book Subtitle
The Roots of a Ritual
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic
Copyright
2018
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-75517-5
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-75517-5
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-75516-8
Softcover ISBN
978-3-030-09252-8
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
X, 307
Number of Illustrations
25 illustrations in colour
Topics