Editor’s note: there is not much evidence for fairy belief in Huntingdonshire. However, as a marshy territory there are plenty of will-o-the-wisp sightings including Jinny with one of the most vivid fairy surnames of all.
‘[Will-o’-the-wisp] generated by marsh gas was regarded with fear and superstition as a power of evil. It must have been much less common once the fens were drained, but was remembered by people on the west side of the fens where it was called Jinny Burntarse. In 1944 Mr W Dear of Hollow Farm, Alconbury, described it as a bright as a torch and seeming to travel around the fields. Earlier, Mrs Sam Wilson of Leighton remembered that as a child she had been frightened into coming home early at night by the threat otherwise Jinny, with her light, would get her’ (Tebbutt 1984, 88).