Who Was Jack O’Kent?

Jack O’Kent is the Welsh sorcerer supreme.

Famous around the Welsh borderlands (particularly Monmouthshire and Herefordshire), he’s a magic user of a very different kind to Faustus and Sylvester.

While their magic is capable of horrible wonders, Jack’s is more the magic of the stage magician.

In the play ‘John a Kent and John a Cumber’, by the playwright and spy Anthony Munday, Jack appears much more like a stage magician than a devilish sorcerer.

His arsenal of tricks includes disguising himself as a Jesuit friar, producing magical music and strange mist.

His main interest in the whole plot (which is a fairly typical play about couples wanting to marry for love instead of money) is to harmlessly agitate the lovers while amusing himself by battling rival magician John a Cumber (who seems to be almost identical to Jack, except from Scotland.)

Even in this play, however, he seems to have real power.

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Filed under From Spooky Isles, Welsh Folklore

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