Knockers

All right, all right - settle down at the back. Titter ye not!

Cornish Little Folk

The Knockers are an established part of Celtic tradition, particularly in Cornwall. Equivalents exist in the mythology of Wales (Bwca) and they are similar to the US Tommyknockers.

Like leprechauns, Knockers are part of the family of "little folk". They are usually said to be around two feet tall and are often described as thin limbed with ugly faces.

Mine Dwellers

The Knockers live underground, especially in mine workings. They enjoy a good prank and frequently play practical jokes on the miners, for example hiding their tools. Their name comes from their habit of "knocking" on the walls of the mines and they can often be heard in the distance, making noises in otherwise unoccupied areas.

Harbingers of Doom

Although Knockers are annoying they are generally friendly. However if they are become annoyed then they can cause dreadful accidents including cave-ins. Loud Knocking was seen as a sign of imminent disaster and a large influx of Knockers could sometimes herald a mine's closure.

Some prefer to believe that far from causing the cave-ins the Knockers were simply trying to warn the miners to allow them to escape in time. Either way, it was common practice for miners to leave food for the little people, for example a piece of their Cornish Pasty.

Skeptics say that the sounds attributed to Knockers were simply the creaks of the struts and supports in the shaft before they gave way. This explanation may well be accurate but is also distinctly lacking in romance.