Bard of Cumberland

Stephen George Rae, contemporary artist and poet; performance artist and co-founder of Bardsea-Green Films and Land of Lore Films; writer and folklorist as the Bard of Cumberland.

Art and Film link:

I’m a Hedge Druid and Bard. I trained as a Bard within the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids (OBOD). The Bard within Druidry is the poet; the keeper of tradition; the keeper of historical record; the poet; the storyteller. One must never offend a Bard, this writing from Lady Wilde explains why :

“Bards possessed strange and mystic powers of wisdom. It was therefore very dangerous to offend a poet. If anyone refused him a request he would take the lobe of the person’s ear and grind it between his fingers, and the man would die.”

The Hedge Druid is someone who walks the Druid path, for the most part, alone. The Hedge Druid is someone who ‘rides the Hedge’ – travels between this world and The Otherworld.

My interest in storytelling and folklore started in my youth, in Ayrshire. Tales of the sea people, boggles, kelpies, and sea-witches from my grandfather, William Rae; and tales of the Ancient Folk (faeries), leprechauns, and banshees from my grandmother, Cicely Anderson. Each summer, my family would vacation in the Lake District, so I’ve been walking the Cumbrian Fells all my life, learning about Cumbria’s rich heritage.

I worked in northern Cumbria during the 1990s. In 2003 I moved to Cumbria full-time, three years of studying Fine Art in Carlisle, before moving to Ulverston in 2006. Since living in Cumbria, I have been spending more time researching the folk tales of my adopted county, an area rich in folklore – boggarts, vampires, faeries, and the strange monsters that lurk in the depths of our lakes and tarns.


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