Friday 5 May 2023

A Brown Hooden Horse Made for a Past Coronation

Whatever you might feel about King Charles' coronation, I hope you like this brown horse made back in 1953 for Queen Elizabeth II's crowning. The Brown Horse was made by Barnett and Olive Field and was part of celebration parades in Folkestone. 

This lovely bit of folklore history is part of the Animal Guising and the Kentish Hooden Horse exhibition that's on in Maidstone at the moment. 

Hooden horses are a bit like pantomime animals. They have wooden heads with jaws that snap and a cloth body covering the operator. They're a particular feature of Kentish folkloric customs, but similar traditions take place all over England and Wales. 

If you see an interesting folk tradition being enacted as part of the current coronation festivities and take a photo, I'd love to see it!  You can email me at or leave a comment below.

Animal Guising and the Kentish Hooden Horse is on until Saturday 17 June. I've blogged more about it here. The exhibition runs alongside another exhibition, Discovering a Bronze Age Hoard. Both displays are at Maidstone Museum, St. Faith's Street, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1LH. Entry is free.

An interesting book about horses in folklore and traditional witchcraft is Black Horse, White Horse by Melusine Draco. You can read an extract here.

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