Farisees (Fairies) at Ash, Surrey
The Puttenham farmhand got off lightly compared to Matthew Trigg. In the early 18th century Trigg was a cantankerous old codger who lived at Ash. One day the villagers noticed he was missing. some children had seen him set off for a walk in the woods between Ash and Tongham. A search party set off, but there was no sign of him other than his walking stick found discarded among the trees. Worried, the villagers consulted the local wise woman, or witch. She poured pure spring water into a brightly polished copper basin and sat staring at it for a while.
“The farisees have him,” she finally declared. “He came across them dancing in the woods and the old fool spoke to them. Now they have him far away to the east and have put an enchantment on him to make him dance forever for their amusement. If we don’t rescue him soon he will die of exhaustion.”
In answer to the demands of the villagers that something be done, the wise woman asked each of them to donate a small personal item that they were willing to give to get Matthew Trigg back again. One woman gave a hair ribbon, a child donated a doll a man gave a whistle. The wise woman put all the items into a pot and set them on fire. She then collected the ashes and mixed them with some goose fat. Taking the resulting mixture outside she smeared it on the head of her old horse, then whispered the name “Matthew Trigg” in the horse’s ear. The horse gave a whinny, and set off at a trot.
“Now we wait,” said the old woman. Everyone sat down as the time passed. A few hours later there came a whinny. The people looked about, but could see no horse. Then they realised that the wise woman was looking upward. Coming toward them through the air was the old horse with a terrified Matthew Trigg hanging on for dear life. The horse seemed to be having trouble flying in a straight line and at one point it collided with the steeple of Ash church, its hooves inflicting a dramatic dent on the side of the spire. Then it came down to earth and Matthew Trigg was saved.
The hoofmarks remained on Ash church steeple until 1864 when an unimaginative new vicar had the old spire replaced with a flawless new one, which remains to this day.
from "Paranormal Surrey" By Rupert Matthews
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