ACCORDING to tradition, that interesting headland called Oseberrow, or Osebury (vulgo Rosebury) Rock, which lies not far from Alfrick, and is situated upon the border of the river Teme, in Luisley, opposite to Knightsford Bridge, was a favourite haunt of the fairies (vulgo pharises). It is said they had a cave there (which is still shown); and that once upon a time, as a man and boy were ploughing in an adjoining field, they heard an outcry in the copse on the steep declivity of the rock; and upon their going to see what was the matter, they came up to a fairy, who was exclaiming that he had lost his pick, or pick-axe. This, after much search, the ploughman found for him; and thereupon the fairy said if they would go to a certain corner of the field wherein they had been ploughing, they would get their reward. They accordingly went, and found plenty of bread and cheese, and cider, on which the man feasted heartily; but the boy was so much frightened that he would not partake of the repast.
It also is said that upon another occasion a fairy came to a ploughman in the same field, and exclaimed:
"Oh, lend a hammer and a nail,
Which we want to mend our pail"
There likewise is a saying in the neighbourhood, that if a woman should break her peel (a kind of shovel used in baking bread), and should leave it for a little while at the fairies' cave in Osebury Rock, it would be mended for her. In days of yore, when the church at Inkberrow was taken down and rebuilt upon a new site, the fairies, whose haunt was near the latter place, took offence at the change, and endeavoured to obstruct the building by carrying back the materials in the night to the old locality. At length, however, the church was triumphant, but for many a day afterwards the following lament is said to have been occasionally heard:
"Neither sleep, neither lie,
For Inkbro's ting-tang hangs so high."
The church is a large and handsome edifice, of mixed styles of architecture. It is supposed to have been built about five centuries ago, but has undergone much alteration.
As a countryman was one day working in a field in Upton Snodsbury, he all of a sudden beard a great outcry in a neighbouring piece of ground, which was followed by a low, mournful voice, saying: "I have broke my bilk, I have broke my bilk;" and thereupon the man picked up the hammer and nails which he had with him, and ran to the spot from whence the outcry came, where he found a fairy lamenting over his broken bilk, which was a kind of cross-barred seat; this the man soon mended, and the fairy, to make him amends for his pains danced round him till he wound him down into a cave, where he was treated with plenty of biscuits and wine; and it is said that from thence-forward that man always did well in life
1 Jabez Allies, On the Antiquities and Folk-Lore of Worcestershire, p. 413.