It is written in the book by Reverend James Alpas Penny entitled “Folklore Round Horncastle” dated in 1915, that there exist a famous figure known as the Wildman of Steinfield.
The Wildman of Steinfield was described to be a big, hairy, built man with rugged clothes. The wild man’s whole body was quite hairy and he was quite wild in nature. He is seen and deemed to be a man with a cub, which he used to kill both animals and humans for sustenance as well as self-preservation.
In connection with this, on Stainfield Church, a helmet can be found which is determined to be of the prominent Tyrwhitts of Stainfield. Underneath the helmet is a family crest (presumably of the Tyrwhitts) of a wild man, with features quite similar to the known descriptions, holding a dagger on its hand. This was believed to be dated from the years 1700 to around 1850. A Tyrwhitt, Sir Francis Tyrwhitt Drake, for a certain reward such as a promise of land, promised in turn to go forth in a journey to find and kill the said wild man.
It is said that he found the monster sleeping on the bank of an enormous pit. After surveying the angle, he took his sword and struck the sleeping figure. Blood streamed and stained the land, thus, the place came to be known as Stainfield.
However, several versions of the wild man’s origin exist. One version indicates that the wild man was a nobleman who was away on a crusade. When he came back from the crusade, he realized that his land was not his anymore. Moreover, after failing to regain the land he lost when he was away, the poor man decided to live in the woods. Many stories about his existence spread. It continued to do so until Sir Francis Drake came to deliver him to his death.
In addition, as a compensation for the success of Drake, he was rewarded three peewits, all of which can be seen on the bloodline’s crest.
Another version of the wild man’s origin says that the story occurred during the 12th century. The theory adds that the man was actually a surviving foreigner, of Spanish origin, who was drifted to the land from the famous ship Armada.
On the other hand, there are also several version of how the wild man actually died in contrast with the story of Sir Francis Drake;s heroism. Other people suggests that the wild man was killed by what was then known as The Hardy Gang, who were composed of farmers who had their livestock taken by the wild man and was tired of the ordeal. Thus, the group went in search of the wild man to kill him. That’s the reason why the woods was known as The Hardy Gang Woods, for it was the place where the gang successfully achieved their revenge.
The last version of the story is that, the Squire Turner went to the woods with a loaded gun and shot the wild man on the spot. The dead wild man’s body was then taken to be buried outside Stainfield Church.
As of the present, the armor, which was once stored at St. Andrews, was stolen. What remains is only the small figurine, which used to surmount the helmet.