In 1901, J. U. Powell reported to Folk-Lore that people of this village were telling vivid tales about how the ghost of a prominent member of the local gentry had been laid by a posse of parsons in 1854. This was done at the request of the dead man’s wife, who was troubled by the revenant and used to speak with it once a year, wearing a sheepskin turned inside out as a protection against its attacks. It was believed that though a ghost might easily tear a living man to pieces, it had no power to harm a lamb’s skin (this, presumably, is because it symbolizes Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God). Parsons from several parishes gathered at Heytesbury for this exorcism, but almost all of them were mastered by the ghost’s power and could not keep up their prayers. One, however, a certain Parson Smith, stood firm, and correctly replied, ‘A lamb’, when the ghost asked, ‘What is the simplest thing in the world?’ He then began the formula to banish the ghost to the Red Sea, but the spirit pleaded so earnestly not to be sent there that some other place of confinement was chosen, though what this was is not said.



Haunted England : The Penguin Book of Ghosts – Written by Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson
Copyright © Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson 2005, 2008