Illustrated Tales of Wiltshire: Eddy Greenfield Author Interview

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Illustrated Tales of Wiltshire, by Eddy Greenfield, dives deep into the folklore and modern stories of the South-West English county. Spooky Isles’ DAVID SAUNDERSON talks to Eddy about his new book

Illustrated Tales of Wiltshire by Eddy Greenfield
Illustrated Tales of Wiltshire by Eddy Greenfield

Illustrated Tales of Wiltshire Interview with Eddy Greenfield

SPOOKY ISLES: Wiltshire is a treasure trove of ancient wonders like Stonehenge, Old Sarum and loads of standing stones, not to mention newer but no less captivating places to visit. I’ve spent great holidays in Wiltshire exploring and this book is going to be a great resource for my next trip. Can you tell us a bit about putting it together?

EDDY GREENFIELD: Thanks for your kind comments! I hope the book does indeed prove useful for your next adventure. The book was actually written when Covid was still very much with us, so it gave me something to do during that time. As a self-confessed horror fan, I couldn’t resist delving into the strange and spooky underworlds of Wiltshire!

Your book is beautifully illustrated, adding a whimsical yet eerie touch to the stories about witches, aliens and the unknown. Wiltshire’s landscape is a storybook of its own with every hill, standing stone, and barrow holding a piece of folklore and mythology. How did you weave these natural elements into the tales shared in your book?

I grew up in the South Downs in Sussex, and so landscape and the natural environment has always been something that has interested and inspired me. I also love being able to connect stories with places.

You’ve dug into a variety of quirky tales, from how locals got nicknamed Moonrakers and Dabchicks to eerie stories around landmarks like Oliver’s Castle and Hackpen Hill. Do you have any favourite stories from the book you’d like to share?

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There are so many that I can think of, but my favourite would probably have to be the leper colony at Fosbury Camp, and its similarity to the plot of John Carpenter’s 1980 film The Fog (which happens to be one of my all-time favourite horror films). I know that he visited Stonehenge before writing and directing the film, and so as I note in my book: I wonder if he heard the tale of Fosbury Camp and if that inspired the idea behind the film.

Illustrated Tales of Wiltshire: Eddy Greenfield Author Interview 1

Your journey through Wiltshire’s folklore, uncovering both ancient and modern mysteries, seems fascinating. How did your background play a part in gathering these tales and getting them down on paper?

As a massive horror addict, and a fan of all things spooky and mysterious, I’ve always kept an ear out for such tales from an early age. I’m also particularly fascinated by how such stories and legends come about, particularly with the more recent urban legends, such as those concerning Boscombe Down and Rudloe Manor. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a tendency to absorb random facts and anecdotes like a sponge, and for me, the best part about that is being able to share it with others.

You’ve touched on some peculiar aspects of Wiltshire’s history and traditional customs, blending historical facts with local legend. How did you decide what to include from the vast pool of stories and events?

With great difficulty! Essentially, I tried to provide a representative overview of all the various types of myths and legends and strange historical facts in order to showcase the fabulous wealth Wiltshire has to offer.

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Aside from the famous spots, your book unveils some hidden gems of Wiltshire. Can you give us a sneak peek into some lesser-known tales or places that readers will come across?

Wootton Rivers and the amazing clock built by Jack Spratt immediately comes to mind as a local curiosity off the usual tourist trail (and definitely worth a visit!), but it’s also some of the more unusual stories of the more well-known landmarks that I particularly enjoyed discovering, such as the eye-opening carvings on St John the Baptist Church in Devizes, the curious epitaph in Salisbury Cathedral to someone who appears to have died three months before he was born, or the story of how a dart is embedded high up in the tower of St Mary the Virgin Church in Calne.

Now that Illustrated Tales of Wiltshire has hit the shelves, do you have any new projects or adventures lined up that you’re excited about?

Amberley Publications released another title of mine for the Illustrated Tales Of series (Illustrated Tales of Surrey) last year. I have also recently signed a contract with Amberley for Illustrated Tales of Hampshire and another for Chichester in 50 Buildings, both of which I am particularly excited about.

Lastly, how do you hope your book will shift readers’ perspective of Wiltshire?

If I can introduce people to a darker, stranger and sometimes humorous underbelly of a place they think they know well, I consider that mission accomplished! There’s nothing I love more than finding the secrets hidden just below the surface of our towns and villages.

Illustrated Tales of Wiltshire by Eddy Greenfield is published by Amberley Publications.

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