Cornish Fairies: The Spriggans

Apr 15, 2014 by

Cornish Fairies

“It should be understood that there are in Cornwall five varieties of the fairy family, clearly distinguishable—

1. The Small People,
2. The Spriggans,
3. Piskies, or Pigseys,
4. The Buccas, Bockles, or Knockers,
5. The Browneys….”




“The Spriggans are quite a different class of beings. In some respects they appear to be offshoots from the family of the Trolls of Sweden and Denmark.  The Spriggans are found only about the cairns, coits, or cromlechs, burrows, or detached stones, with which it is unlucky for mortals to meddle.  A correspondent writes:  “This is known, that they were a remarkably mischievous and thievish tribe.   If ever a house was robbed, a child stolen, cattle carried away, or a building demolished, it was the work of the Spriggans.   Whatever commotion took place in earth, air, or water, it was all put down as the work of these spirits.

Wherever the giants have been, there the Spriggans have been also.  It is usually considered that they are the ghosts of the giants; certainly, from many of their feats, we must suppose them to possess a giant’s strength.

The Spriggans have the charge of buried treasure.”

Popular Romances of the West of England, Robert Hunt, 1871

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