Just beyond the realms of living memory there was a famous parson living in Hennock. His name was parson Harris and locally he was known as a ‘wizard’. This may seem a strange pass-time for a man of the cloth but he was only versed in ‘white magic’ and so only practiced his art for the good of his fellow beings. One day a local farmer came to visit him and was clearly in an agitated way. He explained to the parson that some of his geese had been stolen. He was assured that the identity of the thief would be revealed and they would be “put to open shame”.
On the next Sabbath the parson delivered his usual sermon and then announced: “I give you all to know that farmer Tuckett had had three of his geese stolen. I have consulted my books and drawn my figures and I can tell you that I have conjured it so that three feathers from the stolen geese will now, this very instant, stick to the nose of the thief.” No sooner had the parson spoken those words that one of the congregation instinctively lifted his hand and brushed his nose. This was exactly what the parson was waiting for, he leaned over the pulpit and pointed an accusing finger at the man, “There is the man who stole the geese,” he yelled.
On another occasion a farmer who had lost his gander came to the parson for help. The man was shown into the parson’s study where he explained his predicament. The parson set about ‘conjuring’, walked over to the window, opened it and the gander was thrown into the room, plucked, trussed and ready for the oven.
The parson employed a young maid from Exeter who although an excellent worker seemed to be homesick. When the parson asked her what was making her so sad she explained that she was sorely missing her boyfriend. The parson agreed, even though it was a Sunday that he would cast some spells. The girls spirits immediately lifted and she bustled about her work. But as the day went on there was no sign of her love and slowly she became dispirited once again. By the time she retired to bed the maid was heart-broken. She had placed her trust in the parson and he had let her down. She awoke the next morning to a frantic banging on the door and when she looked out of her window she could not believe her eyes for stood below was her true love. He was breathless, sweating and in his shirt sleeves. The little maid hurriedly got dressed and ran down stairs. It transpired that he had just ran the whole 12 miles from Exeter. Later the parson explained that the reason it took so long for the lad to arrive was that all through Sunday her boyfriend had worn his best jacket and had put his prayer book in its pocket. It was only when he took the jacket off that the spell could work.