The ninth Relation.
A Relation of the Apparition of Fai∣ries, their seeming to keep a Fair, and what happened to a certain man that endeavoured to put him∣self in amongst them.
REading once the Eighteenth of Mr. Glanvils Relations, p. 203. concerning an Irishman that had like to have been carried away by Spirits, and of the Banquet they had spread be∣fore them in the Fields, &c. it called to mind a passage I had often heard of Fairies, or Spirits, so called by the Country People, which shewed them∣selves in great Companies at divers times; at sometimes they would seem to dance, at other times to keep a great Fair or Market: I made it my business to inquire amongst the Neigh∣bours what Credit might be given to that which was reported of them; and by many of the Neighbouring In∣habitants I had this Account confir∣med.
Page 208The place near which they most or∣dinarily shewed themselves, was on the side of a Hill, named Black-down, between the Parishes of Pittminster, and Chestonford, not many miles from Tanton: Those that have had occasion to Travel that way, have frequently seen them there, appearing like Men and Women of a stature, generally, near the smaller size of Men; their habits used to be of red, blew, or green, according to the old way of Country Garb, with high crown'd hats. One time about 50 years since, a person (living at Comb St. Nicholas, a Parish lying on one side of that hill, near Chard) was riding towards his home that way; and saw just before him, on the side of the hill a great company of People, that seemed to him like Country Folks, Assembled, as at a Fair; there was all sorts of Commo∣dities to his appearance, as at our ordi∣nary Fairs; Pewterers, Shoe-makers, Pedlars, with all kind of Trinkets, Fruit, and drinking Booths; he could not remember any thing which he had usually seen at Fairs, but what he saw there: It was once in his thought that it might be some Fair for Chestonford, there being a considerable one at some Page 209 time of the year; but then again he considered that was not the season for it; he was under very great suprize, and admired what the meaning of what he saw should be; at length it came into his mind what he had heard concerning the Fairies on the side of that hill: and it being near the Road he was to take, he resolved to ride in amongst them, and see what they were; accordingly he put on his Horse that way; and though he saw them perfectly all along as he came, yet when he was upon the place where all this had appeared to him, he could discern nothing at all, only seemed to be crouded, and thrust, as when one passes through a throng of people: all the rest became invisible to him, until he came at a little distance, and then it appeared to him again as at first. He found himself in pain, and so hasted home; where being arrived, a Lameness seized him all on one side, which continued on him as long as he lived, which was many years; for he was living in Comb, and gave an Ac∣count to any that inquired of this Acci∣cident for more than twenty years af∣terward: and this Relation I had from a Person of known Honour, who had it from the Man himself.
Page 210There were some, whose names I have now forgot, but they then lived at a Gentlemans House named Comb Farm, near the place before specified; both the Man, his Wife, and divers of the Neighbours assured me that they had at many times seen this Fair-keeping in the Summer time, as they came from Tanton Market; but that they durst not adventure in amongst them, for that every one that had done so, had re∣ceived great damage by it.
Any Person that is Incredulous of what is here related, may, upon inquiry of the Neighbour Inhabitants, receive ample satisfaction, not only as to what is here related, but abundantly more, which I have heard solemnly confirmed by many of them.