Also irate is the altogether more dangerous apparition of Painswick, north of Stroud. Time was that the panelled courtroom in the beautiful stone manor house was where ecclesiastical trials were held. It may have been the number of errant clergymen who used to troop here to face justice that attracted the Devil. No doubt he took gleeful interest in the wrongdoing of the supposedly godly clerics.
Whatever his reason for coming, the Devil was eventually bound by prayers and forbidden to walk abroad in Painswick so long as the yew trees stood in the churchyard. Visitors can see these magnificent trees standing there still - all neatly clipped to shape and well cared for. It is just as well that the trees are so carefully tended. The Devil is biding his time. Eventually the trees will die or fall and the Devil wants no others in the village similarly able to restrict his actions. If anyone is fool enough to plant a yew, the Devil pulls it out and sets one of his minions to bring bad luck to whoever planted it.
Meanwhile, the good folk of Painswick eye their trees with care and concern. For when they fall the Devil will be loose among them once more.
from Haunted Gloucestershire by Rupert Matthews.
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