Drummers Well, Harpham
The drumming well located near to the church is reputed to foretell death in the family of St Quentin. The folklore relates to a story about a fourteenth century drummer called Tom Hewson, who was accidentally knocked down the well by a St Quentin squire. His mother put a curse on the family predicting that the sound of drumming from the well would predict death in the family.
There are other traditions about the well suggesting a long precedent, William the conqueror – who laid waste to the North – is said to have promised the surrounding lands to the first person who reached the well. This turned out to be a drummer boy, but one of Williams nobles named St Quentin knocked the poor lad down the well and claimed the lands for his own.’
About the time of Edward II. or III. … the Old Manor House near this well . . . was the residence of the family of St. Quintin. In the village lived a widow, reputed to be somewhat “uncanny,” named Molly Hewson. She had an only son, Tom Hewson, who had been taken into the family at the manor and . . . appointed trainer and drummer to the village band of archers. A grand field day of these took place in the well-field. . . . One young rustic proving more than usually stupid in the use of the bow, the squire made a rush forward to chastise him; Tom the drummer happened to be standing in the way. St. Quintin accidentally ran against him and sent him staggering backward, and tripping, he fell head-foremost down the well. Some time elapsed before he could be extricated, and when this was effected the youth was dead. . . . His mother appeared on the scene. At first she was frantic, casting herself upon his body, and could not realize, though she had been warned of the danger of this spot to her son, that he was dead. Suddenly she rose up and stood . . . before the squire . . . and in a sepulchral voice exclaimed, “Squire St. Quintin, you were the friend of my boy. . . . You intended not his death, but from your hand his death is come. Know then that through all future ages whenever a St. Quintin, Lord of Harpham, is about to pass from life, my poor boy shall beat his drum at the bottom of this fatal well.” . . . From that time so long as the old race of Quintin lasted on the evening preceding the death of the head of the house, the rat-tat of Tom’s drum was heard in the well by those who listened for it.’ [County Folk-Lore Volume VI – Examples of Printed Folk-Lore Concerning The East Riding of Yorkshire (1911)’, Eliza Glutch — citing Leeds Mercury.]