Tom Cobley

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Tom Cobley

   Tom Cobley
Tom Cobley himself
   Butsford
Butsford farm where Tom Cobley lived
   Tom Cobleys grave stone 
Tom Cobley's grave stone
   Tom Pearce's Old Grey Mare The Stable
Believed to be the home of Tom Pearce's Old Grey Mare.
   The Cobley Family Tree Tom Cobley's Family Tree Showing descendants of the Cobley Family still living in Spreyton today.  
 

Tom Cobley's Will

Widecombe Fair

Tom Pearce, Tom Pearce, lend me your grey mare,

All along, down along, out along lee.

For I want to go to Widecombe Fair.

 

Wi' Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer. Peler Gurney,

Peter Davy, Dan'l Whidoon. Harry Hawk,

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

And when shall I see again my grey mare?

All along, down along, out along lee.

By Friday soon or Saturday noon,

WI' Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, etc.

Then Friday came and Saturday noon,

All along, down along, out along lee,

Tom Pearce's old mare hath not trotted home

WI' Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, etc.

So Tom Pearce he got up to the top of the hill,

All along, down along, out along lee

And he see'd his old mare a-making her will,

Wi' Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, etc.

So Tom Pearce's old mare. her took sick and died,

All along, down along, out along lee.

And Tom he sat down on a stone and he cried,

Wi' Bill Brewer. Jan Slower, etc.

But this isn't the end of this shocking affair,

'All along, down along, out along lee.

Nor, though they be dead, of the horrid career—

of Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, etc.

When the wind whistles cold on the moor of a night,

All along, down along, out along lee.

Tom Pearce's old mare doth appear gashly white—

Wi' Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, etc.

And all the long night be heard skirling and groans,

All along, down along, out along lee.

From Tom Pearce's old mare In her rattling bones

And from Bill Brewer, Jan Stower, etc.

Tom Pearse
It is rare - indeed it is almost certainly a contradiction
to say you've come face to face with a legend. But we
have encountered a legend, or at least, part of one on
this journey.
Folklore in Devon is nearly as rich as its clotted
cream, and the story of Tom Pearse's grey mare is
probably one of the most famous. As animal lovers,
we don't particularly like the story, but the tale of
Tom Pearse's old grey mare carrying a team of
thoughtless men to Widecombe Fair is now part of
Devon's tapestry. Inevitably their collective weight
proved too much for the animal, and she 'took sick
and died'.
According to an old ballad they haunt the Moor in
a group:
When the wind whistles cold on the moor of a night,
All along, down along, out along, lee,
Tom Pearse's old mare doth appear ghastly white,
Wi' Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawk,
Old Uncle Tom Cobbleigh and all.
However we have met no-one who claims to have
seen the ghostly group. But we have stood outside a
stable which some say once housed the unfortunate
grey mare. The small granite stable stands hard by
the old mill at Sticklepath. Investigations reveal that a
Bill Brewer did, in fact/ live in Sticklepath, and the
much respected Pearse family operated the local mill
for something like three decades - they were great
benefactors to the village - and, above all, there was a
Tom Pearse in the family.
Doubtless a man of his position would have owned
a horse - and where better to keep it: close to the mill
itself? In our imagination/ we can picture the possible
leg-pulling among the locals. 'Let's go to Widecombe
Fair?' 'How shall we get there?' 'The boss's horse?
Who will ask?'
And perhaps finally Tom Pearse, Tom Pearse, lend
me they grey mare?'