Arrow Lane, North Littleton, Evesham WR11 8EF

The Mystery of the Ivy Inn

There is an old world mansion stately, grand,
Which noble trees surround, and fine park land
Men call it “Fernleigh Grange of Severn-Side”
Where wild, rank, trailing plants, all windows hide;
The grounds were fashioned, in olden time,
Approached by long, broad avenues of lime;
Lichen – veiled statues, speak of fast decay,
As if some blight had lain there, many a day,
Causing this desolation. A will was lost
For long years, Long years, – to certain kinsmen’s cost-
Of the late Squire Grant Fernleigh of this place,
Throughout the county, t’was a noted case.
In this lone house, retainers still remain,
From youth, to age, their duties much the same;
So, being now, in the sear, and yellow leaf;
One aged crone, held to a firm belief,-
Caused by a vivid, strange, unusual dream-
“The Will was hid, behind an oaken beam
At an old Hostelry, The Ivy Inn”;
She hoped, the hundred pounds reward to win;
But where to find this spot, now, no one knew;
So then the days, months-years, still onward flew.
From the Vale of Evesham, a pedlar came,
His wares to sell. He was both halt and lame.
Who knew Squire Fernleigh in his buoyant youth,
He could a tale unfold – perhaps the truth –
“In years gone by, upon a dark, cold night,
He had met the squire, in sad and sorry plight,
From the restive horse, he had just then be thrown,
And startled the pedlar by a low, deep moan.
At the “Ivy Inn,” the Squire stayed all that night,
Then started homeward way, by dawn of light;”
He breathed his last, upon his journey home,
Alone, the pedlar knew, he had chanced to roam.
The Host’s fair daughter Rose upon her bridal eve,
Sought among her girlhood’s treasures those she would
Within the guest-room, in a cup-board deep,
From every prying eye, there safe to keep;
A panel fell, and thus a box disclosed
Of old parchment deeds, which were reposed,
An incident eventful, startling, strange,
“These were the long lost deeds, of Fernleigh Grange.”
The Squire’s adopted son, and sweet young wife,
Now took possession of “The Grange” for life,
Then the whole County join’d, in his full delight.
The “Will” thus proved his title, and undoubted right.

 

Jane H. Oakley.
Wilbury Lawn
West Brighton
1898