314 Hampshire Folklore.
'Tedworth Drummer' story. But when I asked an old woman one day with respect to a case I knew had been ascribed to witchcraft, all I could get out of her was, — ' I says my Belief and the Lord's Prayer every night before I gets into bed, and then I am not feared either of the old devil or any of his little devils.'"
In an oak wood near Otterbourne, Miss Yonge tells, a hunted fox was invariably lost, and this was attributed locally to the occult powers of " a handsome, witch-like old dame, dead many years since." ^^
But of Hampshire witches the one that interested me most was the witch of Botley, perhaps because there seems to have been a good deal of confusion between her, — Kate Hunt was her name, — and a girl named Kate Knox. Kate Hunt in her day enjoyed a reputation as a local witch, with the result that she was shot, with a half-crown cut into two pieces, and fled away in the shape of a hare. People who were living three years ago, when I made many enquiries on the spot, knew Kate Hunt and remembered the story well. Kate Knox was an unfortunate girl whose lover betrayed and deserted her. In despair she drowned herself in a pond near Kit Nox hill.^-
Occult powers seem sometimes to have been attributed to whole communities. A blind octogenarian at Pilley, on the southern outskirts of the New Forest, told a friend of mine recently that the Narleywood people were a bad lot, — " some of them got rich on that they took from others," i.e. pigs, sheep, and corn from their neighbours' barns. One old man, Lankester by name, was known as " the King of Thieves," and stole in the
3' A n Old IVoiiian^s Outlook etc. , p. 1 89.
^-The similarity of the three names has caused some confusion, and the ghost that haunts the road over the hill is said by some to be that of the witch, and by others that of Kate Knox. The name of the hill, however, is far older than either, and the local folk told me that the ghost was Kate Knox, but the witch Kate Hunt. This does not tally with the story given by Shore in his Histojy of the county.