Folkore, Fact and Fable
7.00pm Thursday 29th June 2023

The Horse Hospital

Tickets: £10.00 for one night (in advance only HERE)

Admission: Tickets £8.00/ £10.00 in advance only HERE
(Includes free entry to The Wickerman exhibition at The Horse Hospital)

Join historian Robert Stephenson and London author and folklorist Anthony Clayton in an exploration of the mysterious soul of pre-Christian London - past and present.

The city still bears some marks of its life as a pagan place, whether they be the Celtic pathways that criss-cross Epping Forest, the Roman temple of Mithras by the lost river Walbrook or the legend shrouded limestone block called The London Stone, believed to have once been a druidic altar for human sacrifice. 


Historian ROBERT STEPHENSON traces the fact and fable of the city's past. Was there really a Temple of Diana under St Pauls? Is Boudicea's mound on Primrose Hill really a bronze a burial mound?  And Robert tells of the city's foundation myths, of the monstrous Gog and Magog and of the legend of London as ’The New Troy’

London was only Christianised - along with the rest of Roman empire - in the 4th c.AD and the pagan roots that ran deep beneath it continued to flower long afterwards. 

Just as the remains of lost ages lived on in London’s archaeology, traces of its pagan past lived on in some of its strange, arcane and esoteric rituals.  

ANTHONY CLAYTON author of The Folklore of London (2008) will discuss some of the wealth of customs, ceremonies and folklore of the capital. While many customs disappeared in the twentieth century, new folkloric events such as Jack-in-the-Green have arisen or been revived. Interest in folklore seems to grow every year, part of the burgeoning re-enchantment of the landscape and rediscoveries of social history – London is no exception with a long tradition of ceremony and celebration. 


ROBERT STEPHENSON is a City of London Culture and Heritage guide and a trustee at Kensal Green and Brompton cemeteries. He teaches on many subjects of London history and death studies. Robert is also chairman of the National Federation of Cemetery Friends.

London-born ANTHONY CLAYTON is the author of Subterranean City: Beneath the Streets of London, London’s Coffee Houses, Decadent London, Secret Tunnels of England, Folklore and Fact, Netherwood: Last Resort of Aleister Crowley and Mansion of Gloom (forthcoming 2023).

Our home, THE HORSE HOSPITAL, is a unique Grade II listed not for profit, independent arts venue within the only existing unspoilt example of a two-floor, purpose-built stable with public access in London. 

Built in 1797 by James Burton. the shell is constructed with London Stocks whilst the interior features a mock cobbled re-inforced concrete floor and ramps with slats to prevent the horses from slipping. Each floor has 5 cast iron pillars and several original iron tethering rings.