Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Burry man, 2018

Thanks to Stephen Ward who has sent a cutting about the South Queensferry burry man from the Herald of 11 August 2018.  According to this:

Andrew Taylor, a 36-year-old council worker, walked around the town on Friday 10 August, ‘covered head to toe in 20,000 sticky plants’ [presumably 20,000 burdock, Arctium, seedheads].  In ‘full Burryman garb’, Mr Taylor, who has played the part for the last seven years, walked ‘a seven mile route … drinking almost 25 nips of whisky along the way’.

It is claimed that the tradition is 900 years old, its purpose being ‘to banish evil spirits’.

Addendum:  The Times of 10 August 2019 contained a photograph of the burry man’s head with the caption: ‘Andrew Taylor, as the Burryman, seeking money or whisky on his parade in South Queensferry, Edinburgh.  The tradition started in the 17th century.’

Image:  Burry man, c.1914, photo in South Queensferry Museum, West Lothian, August 2017.

Edited 20 October 2022.

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