Loremen Podcast

Loremen Podcast

Join the Loremen (James Shakeshaft and Alasdair Beckett-King) as they "investigate" local legends and forgotten folklore.


May 16, 2024 52 mins
Richard Herring, a comedian who straddles England's North/South divide like a podcasting colossus, joins the boys for a deep dive into one of Somerset's deepest dives.

It's Cheddar Gorge! Somerset's answer to the question, "Which Somerset attraction is almost as good as Wookey Hole?" Prepare to meet the Witches of Pocklington, the Devil (himself), grumpy gravediggers and what might be the birth of a new cryptid...
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The Loreboys meet the audacious Scottish con man "Sir" Gregor MacGregor. Calling himself the Cazique of Poyais, this charismatic ex-soldier is the mastermind behind a debacle that will make Fyre Island look like Centre Parcs.

He's selling land and government bonds belonging to the Central American kingdom of Poyais. The big problem being: Poyais doesn't exist. The year is 1823, and this South Sea bubble is going to p...
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Where wolves? James attempts to answer that question with a midnight excursion to Cannock Chase. This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is home to a range of distinctly unnatural creatures. We're talking lycanthropes, black eyed children, numerous UFOs and at least one pigman.

In fact, there are many reports of uncanny incidents in Cannock Chase, James went all the way to Staffordshire to investigate. Alas, our intr...
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Thersa Matsuura of Uncanny Japan joins the Loreboys for a tale with more human faces than you've had hot dinners with human faces*. We look at a bunch of Yōkai that can take a look right back at us. From fish with a face to a blister with a kisser, these jinmen will give you the jitters. Especially the fish, because they're real. (No seriously... there are videos.)

* Unless you dine exclusively on McCain's Smiles.
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James lures Alasdair back down to the water's edge for an Important Mermaid Update! The Hayfield Mermaid first appeared in Series 2 (get up to speed here). Somehow, the Loreboys managed to overlook yet another freshwater mermaid in a nearby bottomless pool. And the grasping creature that dwells in the waters of Blakemere has a heck of a backstory.

It's Hayfield Mermaids 2: Mere-lectric Mere-galoo!

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This year's live show at the Leicester Comedy festival was a delight. The lorefolk were in fine form and James rustled up a folkloric feast, including 'facts' from Geoffrey Hodson's 1925 book Fairies at Work and at Play.

Sadly, fairy mischief meant that our recorder batteries died towards the end of the show, so the final portion of this episode has been reconstructed from a low-quality backup. You'll hardly notice! U...
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April is the time for fooling, especially in Scotland where the first of the month is Huntigowk Day: a day for tartan paint, long stands and other bootless errands. James and Alasdair (a pair of anti-prank killjoys) spent this April Fool's investigating Loch Ness, a body of water which has seen more than its share of hoaxes. But one monster prank from April 1st 1972 really takes the cake.

Is that cake? Or is it an en...
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The cats from Long Cat Media came back! Lindsay Sharman and Laurence Owen (who are so award-nominated they seem to have gained another nomination since last week) return. And they bring with them a first-hand sighting of a cryptid. That's right, Laurence saw Derbyshire's elusive Beast of Belper.

Meanwhile, James Shakeshaft has not been shake-shirking his research duties. He's on the trail of the Surrey Puma, and he'...
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The cats from Long Cat Media lure the Loreboys to the wild, wild east. Lindsay Sharman and Laurence Owen (the excessively award-nominated podcasters behind Mockey Manor and Magenta Presents) are on the trail of a hound with a thunderous bark and eyes like saucers. It's a terrifying beast that can turn even the bravest churchgoer into a quivering, crumpled crisp packet of a man...

Yes, this episode brings the Loremen ...
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[RECORD SCRATCH] I suppose you're wondering how we got here? Well, it all started when James told Alasdair the story of a spectral hound that dwells on the border of Devon and Dorset. (AKA In-Dorset and Next-Dorset.)

A sighting of the black dog could be a bad omen, but it might just make you rich. (There is actually a third option, but that involves helium and a peculiarly shaped nozzle...)

No dogs were inf...
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What does it sound like when a spooky story has James Shakeshaft quaking in his (big giant's) boots? You'll find out in this episode, because Alasdair has torn two hair-raising mysteries from the pages of W. T. Stead's book of Real Ghost Stories.

Meet a hard-as-nails northern ghost in a train station cellar, and swim frantically away from the eyeless lady of Willington Mill. Grab your gilets and slankets, and prepare ...
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This episode is a veritable bestiary! Meet an egg-thieving bird, an aquatic prankster and a big cat that's just a bit much. Amy Jeffs returns to the podcast, with a raft of early medieval legends and (frankly) way more research than the guests normally bring.

These are the legends of the panther, the partridge and Iasconius ... the whale who pretended to be an island.

Join us for another Loremen Live in Oxfor...
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February 22, 2024 16 mins
What's going on 'ere then? It's the bite-sized tale of Leicester's first private detective, Francis "Tanky" Smith: the renowned master of disguise / owner of hats.

Don't forget, you can see the Holmes and Watson of podcasting (James and Alasdair) LIVE at the Leicester Comedy Festival on Sunday 25th February 2024 (2024). Tickets here: comedy-festival.co.uk/events/loremen-live

If you can't make it in person, th...
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Are you in the mood for love? Are you in the mood for giant-slaying? Are you in the mood for some really, really long lists? Then - good news! Jenny Collier returns to her role as our Welsh Valentine's Day correspondent with aplomb and another romantic tale from the Mabinogion.

Expect curses! Extremely circuitous schemes! And a dog that is bigger than it sounds!

This episode was edited by Joseph Burrows - Au...
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 James has been fossil-hunting in Devon (AKA Next-Dorset) and he has unearthed the tale of a horrible old judge who just won't stay buried. It's the story of the Monmouth Rebellion, "Hanging" Judge Jeffries and the Bloody Assizes. (Those bloody assizes).

Expect some baffling pub names, a smattering of actual history, and a chance to learn the difference between a bugle and a beagle. (You really shouldn't blow into a b...
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Believe it or not, there once was a time when the hottest show in town was a pig doing maths. A porcine professor might not sound as binge-worthy as The Traitors or a double bill of Miss Marple, but back in 1817 people flocked to see this canny swine. James presents the story of a learnéd pig named Toby, as told in his own words. (The pig's own words, that is.)

This episode started life as our Xmas Pig 2023 Livestream...
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John Alington was an English eccentric who really put the "letch" in Letchworth. This randy reverend scandalised Hertfordshire with his saucy sermons and rock-and-roll hijinks. Alasdair tells James the peculiar history of a very rich man with a penchant for leopardskin and massively over-explaining things.

Plus, an unusual attorney, a pair of identical twin poachers and a ghostly monk chucked in for chills.

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It's our first proper episode of the year, and we're welcoming back Deputy Loreperson, Chris Cantrill!

Chris drops in to plug the Delightful Sausage's upcoming Radio 4 series Icklewick FM, and to whisk James and Alasdair off to a medieval wonderland of his own devising. Expect a tale of betrayal and intrigue from the borderlands of England (and Scotland). And prepare to be utterly astonished... because Chris actually ...
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And lo! The six top episodes of 2023 (as selected by the Lorefolk via patreon.com/loremenpod) appeared!

Lets see which tales were tall enough to make the cut:

  • 06: Strawberry Hill Gothic
  • 05: The Tanuki with Yuriko Kotani
  • 04: Cornwall's Loneliest Vicar
  • 03: The Ghostbusting Parsons of Penzance
  • 02: The Croglin Grange Vampire
  • 01: The Wold Rangers with Amy Gledhill
And stay tuned at the end ...
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What a year! James and Alasdair are counting down the top 14 (fourteen) episodes of 2023 (twenty twenty-three). This is only part one, so prepare yourself for eight of our highlights from last year. (Yes, it would have made more sense to do seven, but we got carried away.)

If you don't want to know the results, look away now...

  • 14: The Spitting Ghost of Haddon Hall
  • 13: Denizens of Another World
  • 1...
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