|Two of the original three Brightworthy Barrows survive here on a prominent spot of Withypool Common, with impressive views of the Barle Valley and beyond, and to the East, Knighton Combe and Withypool Hill.
Below the barrows to the NE is Knighton Farm. Many years ago the farmer here was on very good terms with the pixies. They did all sorts of jobs for him around the farm, threshed the corn and so on. The farmer's wife was so grateful that one day she made little suits for them and left them out for them to try on. However, you just can't treat the pixies like that - you can't offer them gifts of clothing. They had to stop helping out (Pixie Union Rules - more than their job's worth, etc).
For once they didn't lose all contact with the farmer. It happened that some bells were being put into the church tower at Withypool. Fairies and their ilk really don't like church bells (a bit like those people from London who move to the country hoping for a bit of piece and quiet heheh). So the father pixy came to see the farmer.
"Wilt gie us the lend of thy plough and tackle?" he said.Winsford Hill is over to the east, and no doubt they would have found lovely new lodgings in the Wambarrows which crown it. You can't help thinking that they must have lived in the Brightworthy Barrows initially.
The farmer was cautious - he'd heard how the pixies used horses.
"What vor do 'ee want'n?" he asked.
"I d'want to take my good wife and littlings out of the noise of they ding-dongs."
The farmer trusted the pixies and they moved, lock, stock and barrel over to Winsford Hill, and when the pack horses trotted home they looked like beautiful two-year-olds.
(dialogue from Ruth Tongue in 'Somerset Folklore' (1965).
According to Michael Williams' website here
the Withypool church bells were cast in 1793, so maybe that's when the pixies left.
Posted by Rhiannon
27th July 2005ce
Edited 2nd August 2005ce