Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/349

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Hmnpshire Folklore.


about 1862, when the church was much altered, it had stood close to the South door, so that everyone entering the church passed by it. And one day when I was showing an old man, whose people had lived in the Parish for some 250 years, the dowel holes which used to fasten the figures, (which I had cleared of the cement that had long hidden them), he astounded me by saying, — 'Ah, yes, when I was a boy and used to come up to church with granfer, he would always stop before that there, every Sunday, and say, — "Look e here my lad, them's the marks of Cromwell's spear. Cuss uti." And I cussed u?!.' "

On enquiry of two other aged inhabitants, Mr. Heanley found that both had also been brought up to curse Cromwell every Sunday.

Now to this day a New Forest curse is " God damn the Devil."

Puck lingers in the Forest as a place-name only, — Puck pitts, — but the wood-imp or colt-pixy may yet lead horses astray in lonely corners, and the Devil's connection with the elfin world is borne out by the common belief in a multiplicity of devils. Another of Mr. Heanley 's stories corroborates this : —

"When I was Vicar of Upton Grey, I noted to my great astonishment that, when the time came for the tolling (of) the Passing Bell, instead of the sexton tolling only the big Tenor Bell, as is the custom in most parts of the country, he tolled lla the bells one after another, with, say, two dozen tolls for each. And, when I enquired the reason, I got this delightful reply, — " You know, Sir, devils can't abide o' bells. And there's some devils as are feared of some bells, and there's other devils as are feared of other bells, and so we tolls them all to fear them all." Just as in Lucerne, for instance, I have heard all the bells of the Cathedral there clanged together when a thunderstorm was raging, to banish the evil spirits that were supposed to be causing it."

To quote from another of Mr. Heanley's letters : —

" I know for a fact that most rustics hereabouts (Weyhill) firmly believe in witchcraft, as firmly as they did in the days of the famous