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25th June 2013

OTTERY ST MARY: Pixies get their revenge

By Laura Goldsbury-Noy.

Hundreds lined the streets of Ottery St Mary for the towns’s annual Pixie Day. 

Bringing the town’s traditions alive, the legend of Pixie Day continues to be a much-celebrated event for Ottery St Mary, telling the story of the pixies that once ruled the town. 

The legend goes that, refusing to live among the human settlers in the town, it is the last straw when the pixies hear of a church being built on the hill, complete with bells, a sound that pixies cannot bear. 

Trying to prevent the church from having the bells , the pixies tried everything in their will to stop the bell ringers by casting a spell on the monks who went to collect the bells from Exeter. The spell caused the monks to carry on past the town towards the sea and Sidmouth, but just as they were about to go over the cliff, a monk standed on a thistle and shouted “God bless my soul and Saint Mary”, breaking the curse. 

Having failed, the pixies were defeated and went to live in a cave by the river, but once a year, on Pixie Day, they try to get their revenge by screaming up to the bell tower and capturing the bell ringers, before taking them back to Pixie’s Parlour in the square. 

Now one of Ottery St Mary’s most popular events, which raises money for the town’s youth groups, hundreds turned out to support the re-enactment of the pixie’s revenge.  

More than 80 of the town’s youngsters from the Ottery St Mary Scout and Guide groups turned out at Coleridge Pre-School to take part, where their faces were painted and they dressed as the naughty pixies. 

This year’s chief pixie, Oliver Giles, called the pixies and they ran squealing into the square, circling the crowds before running up the hill to St Mary’s Church to capture the bell ringers, tie them up and bring them back down to the town. 

The crowds then enjoyed entertainment in the square, before the bell ringers were released from the parlour, ringing their bells and scaring the pixies away for another year. 

While the Pixie’s Revenge was the main attraction for the day, a fete held on the Land of Canaan also drew in the crowds, despite the wet weather, with various performances and entertainment as well as games, a range of stalls and refreshments. 


PICTURE: PIXIE CHIEF - Oliver Giles performed the role of chief pixie this year.


OTTERY ST MARY: Pixies get their revenge


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