Drummer of tedworth

This was a poltergeist that haunted the house of John Mompesson, of Tedworth, Wilts, beginning in 1661, and continuing. In March of that year Mompesson had caused a vagrant drummer be brought before the justice of peace, whereby his drum was confiscated. The instrument was taken to Mompesson’s house during the latter’s absence, which was immediately followed by a poltergeist disturbance.

Members of the household saw apparitions; invisible hands flung about small objects, the young children were levitated as they lay in their beds, and continual drumming was heard every night. When the drummer, who was thought to be the cause of the trouble, was transported away, the disturbance in the household ceased; but when he managed to return after a long period of time, the disturbance began again with renewed vigor.

There is no first hand account of the poltergeist, except for Joseph Glanvil, who describes it in Sadducismus Triumphatus (1668). Although Glanvil is the only authority for this the happenings, what he declare to have witnessed certainly is not marvelous, but only descriptions of scratches and pantings heard in the vicinity of the children’s beds. A.G.H.

Source: 81, 132.