Goodman’s Ground (Guidman’s Grunde) is in Scottish lore, a portion of farmland that is left uncultivated and ungrazed. The offering of Goodman’s Ground was intended to avert misfortune, especially diseases among cattle.
Other names were the Halyman’s Rig, the Goodman’s Fauld, the Gi’en Rig, the Deevil’s Craft, Clootie’s Craft, the Black Faulie, and Given Ground. Christian Church authorities considered this pagan practice to be an offering to the Devil and levied heavy fines on farmers who observed it. Belief in the power of Goodman’s Ground was often strong enough for farmers to resist the church and pay the fines, which were seen as preferable to courting disaster and risking the death of their cattle.
The Goodman’s Ground played a part in the witchcraft trial of Jonet Wishert in Aberdeen in 1596. It was testified that Wishert was seen in his Goodman’s Ground, naked from the waist down, bending over to kiss the Devil’s anus.
The last fields dedicated to the “Auld Goodman” were finally ploughed at the beginning of the 19th century as a result of economic pressure.
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