A household spirit in English folklore. There were many of these, each with a local habitation and a local name. Thus there was a Hob Hole at Runswick, a Hob Hole near Kempswithen, a Hob's Cave at Mulgrave, a Hobt'rush Rook on the Farndale Moors, and so on. A hob resided at Coniscliffe, near Darlington, and another in a farmhouse in the parish of Danby.

The one in Hob-hole, a natural cavern, was supposed to cure the whooping-cough, so parents would take children suffering from that complaint into the cave, and in a low voice invoke him thus:

"Hobhole Hob!
Ma' bairn's gotten 't kink cough,
Tak't off ! tak't off!"

See sprite, hobgoblin, Throb-thrush, Robin Goodfellow.

Late Middle English, from Rob, short for Robin, often referring specifically to Robin Goodfellow.



  • Hazlitt, W. Carew. (1905). Faith and Folklore. 2 vols. London: Reeves and Turner, p. 1:314.
  • Henderson, W. (1879). Notes on the folk-lore of the northern countries of England and the borders. Covent Garden: W. Satchell, Peyton and Co., p. 264.
  • Scott, C.P.G. (1895). "The Devil and His Imps: An Etymological Inquisition." In Transactions of the American Philological Association. Vol. 26. Boston: Ginn & Co., pp. 96 ff.