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    Local Stories in Odstock

    by LouiseTopp Written Sep 29, 2004

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    Favorite thing: Odstock is 3 miles to the south of Salisbury & in the south-east corner of Odstock's cemetery is the burial place of a legendary local figure, Joshua Scamp, a gipsy who was wrongfully hanged for horse-stealing in 1801. Scamp became a martyr among his people, & each year they gathered around his grave on the anniversary of his death, after first drinking extensively to his memory in the Yew Tree Inn nearby.

    Fondest memory: One year, the rector & his churchwardens decided to stop the disorderly celebrations by locking the church door & uprooting a briar rose which the gypsies had planted by Scamp's grave. The gypsies who were very upset indeed, put a curse on anyone who should in future lock the church door, & after sudden death befell two who defied the curse, the rector threw the church key into the River Ebble, where it is said still to lie. Another briar rose has been planted by Scamp's grave, marked by a headstone now splitting with age, & the Yew Tree Inn still thrives in this tiny village of stone & flint cottages. St Mary's Church - largely rebuilt in the 1870s in flint & stone - sits alone at one end of the village street. At the other end of the village is The Parsonage, a 17th-century house that was once an inn where Oliver Cromwell is said to have stayed.

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