Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


1.  My French paternal grandmother used porridge oats as a remedy for nappy rash, also insect bites.  I still use this method today [Balham, London, November 2017].

2.  [Newcastle-on-Clun area, Shropshire] Oats should be cut and stooked in the field and not brought into the barn ‘until the parson has preached over them three times’ [Sandiway, Cheshire, October 2004].

0663. Oats are good for eczema. Soak the oats in warm water and apply to the affected area. Rub the oats into the skin. The roughness of the oats gently scrapes away the dead skin, and the oil in the oats repair the skin! I have had a lot of success with this, especially when the eczema is caused by nerves! [Glamorgan, May 2003].

4. Oats should have the church bells rung over them three times after they have been cut, i.e. must be left while the bells are tolled on three successive Sundays. Otherwise there would be sickness in the village [Woodstock, Oxfordshire, January 1983].

5. Cuckoo oats (? oats sown after the cuckoo has arrived) are no good [Thorncombe, Dorset, April 1978].

Images:  main, St Peter’s church, Trentishoe, north Devon, March 2014; inset, Stonegate, East Sussex, July 2015.