The Natural History of Wiltshire eBook

John Aubrey
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 257 pages of information about The Natural History of Wiltshire.

In the time of King Charles ii. the drumming at the house of Mr. Monpesson, of Tydworth, made a great talke over England, of which Mr. Joseph Glanvill, Rector of Bath, hath largely writt; to which I refer the reader.  But as he was an ingenious person, so I suspect he was a little too credulous; for Sir Ralph Bankes and Mr. Anthony Ettrick lay there together one night out of curiosity, to be satisfied.  They did heare sometimes knockings; and if they said “Devill, knock so many knocks”; so many knocks would be answered.  But Mr. Ettrick sometimes whispered the words, and there was then no returne:  but he should have spoke in Latin or French for the detection of this.

Another time Sir Christopher Wren lay there.  He could see no strange things, but sometimes he should heare a drumming, as one may drum with one’s hand upon wainscot; but he observed that this drumming was only when a certain maid-servant was in the next room:  the partitions of the rooms are by borden-brasse, as wee call it.  But all these remarked that the Devill kept no very unseasonable houres:  it seldome knock’t after 12 at night, or before 6 in the morning.

[In Hoare’s Modern Wiltshire, (Hundred of Amesbury,) p. 92, is a narrative, quoted from Glanvil, of the nocturnal disturbances in the house of Mr. Mompesson at North Tidworth, Wilts, in the year 1661, which excited considerable interest at the time, and led to the publication of several pamphlets on the subject.  The book by Mr. Glanvil, referred to by Aubrey, is called “A blow at modern Sadducism; or Philosophical considerations touching the being of Witches and Witchcraft; with an account of the Demon of Tedworth.”  Lond. 1666, 4to.  There are other editions in folio and 8vo. in 1667 and 1668.  Addison founded his comedy of “The Drummer, or the Haunted House,” on this occurrence. — J. B.]

About 167- there was a cabal of witches detected at Malmsbury.  They ere examined by Sir James Long of Draycot-Cerne, and by him committed to Salisbury Gaol.  I think there were seven or eight old women hanged.  There were odd things sworne against them, as the strange manner of the dyeing of H. Denny’s horse, and of flying in the aire on a staffe.  These examinations Sir James hath fairly written in a book which he promised to give to the Royall Societie.

At Salisbury a phantome appeared to Dr. Turbervill’s sister severall times, and it discovered to her a writing or deed of settlement that was hid behind the wainscot

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The Natural History of Wiltshire from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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