A hob is a type of small mythological household spirit found in the north and midlands of England, but especially on the Anglo-Scottish border, according to traditional folklore of those regions. They could live inside the house or outdoors. They are said to work in farmyards and thus could be helpful; however, if offended they could become nuisances. The usual way to dispose of a hob was to give them a set of new clothing, the receiving of which would make the creature leave forever. It could, however, be impossible to get rid of the worst hobs.
"Hob" is simply a rustic name for the countryside goblin, "a piece of rude familiarity to cover up uncertainty or fear". "Hob" is generally explained as a nickname for "Robert". "Hob" is sometimes a generic term given to a goblin, bogle or brownie.
Hobs have been described as small, hairy, wizened men. In northern Britain the hob was viewed as a kind but mischievous spirit, helpful to local people in need of healing. A famous hob called the hobthrust lived near Runswick Bay in a hobhole, and was said to be able to cure whooping cough.
The hob would help the farmer in the field or the shopkeeper in his store. Hobs are generally considered household spirits, who preferred to be about at night. Katherine Briggs noted that hobs were not tied to a particular place, but seemed to come and go as they chose.
As well as the brownie, another cognate exists in the Scandinavian nisse or tomte; all of which are thought to be derived from the household gods of olden times, known in England as the cofgodas (Old English for "house-gods") of which the brownie and hob are indeed a survival.
In Moldovan Romani folklore a correlate of the hob was the "Goblin". They also lived inside or outside, worked incredibly fast and hard and could make plants grow quickly. These abilities combined with their supernatural strength and speed made them invaluable to farmers lucky enough to be on their good side. There existed no folklore regarding a negative interaction with clothing except that these creatures considered the clothes of mankind to be inferior to their own.