The Magic of Coin-Trees from Religion to Recreation

The Roots of a Ritual

  • Ceri¬†Houlbrook

Part of the Palgrave Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic book series (PHSWM)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Ceri Houlbrook
    Pages 1-23
  3. Ceri Houlbrook
    Pages 25-70
  4. Ceri Houlbrook
    Pages 71-106
  5. Ceri Houlbrook
    Pages 107-151
  6. Ceri Houlbrook
    Pages 153-177
  7. Ceri Houlbrook
    Pages 179-204
  8. Ceri Houlbrook
    Pages 205-240
  9. Ceri Houlbrook
    Pages 241-253
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 255-307

About this book


This book traces the history of ritual landscapes in the British Isles, and the transition from religious practice to recreation, by focusing on a highly understudied exemplar: the coin-tree. These are trees imbued with magical properties into which coins have been ritually embedded. This is a contemporary custom which can be traced back in the literature to the 1700s, when it was practiced for folk-medical and dedicatory purposes. Today, the custom is widespread, with over 200 coin-trees distributed across the British Isles, but is more akin to the casual deposition of coins in a wishing-well: coins are deposited in the tree in exchange for wishes, good luck, or future fortune. Ceri Houlbrook contributes to the debate on the historic relationships between religion, ritual, and popular magic in British contexts from 1700 to the present. 


ritual landscapes microhistory folklore paganism relics

Authors and affiliations

  • Ceri¬†Houlbrook
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HertfordshireHatfieldUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-75516-8
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-75517-5
  • Buy this book on publisher's site