Hannah Twynnoy was an early 18th century barmaid working in a pub in the centre of the town. All that remains of the story of her death is her gravestone, in a corner of the Abbey grounds. Her tombstone records her name and death at the age of 33 as occurring on October 23, 1703, with a gravestone poem which reads:
"In bloom of life / She's snatched from hence / She had no room / To make defence / For tyger fierce / Took life away / And here she lies in a bed of clay / Until the Resurrection Day."
Although this poem is all that exists as a source for her death, recent research by historian John Bowen has discovered that a more detailed account of the death was placed in a plaque on the wall of the parish church in Hullavington. The plaque, which was almost certainly installed soon after her death in the first years of the 18th century has since been lost but was recorded in Victorian times by a local historian.
It said that Hannah Twynnoy was a barmaid working at a pub called the White Lion in Malmesbury (now number 8 Gloucester Rd – private house) in 1703 when a travelling circus arrived to set up in the pub's large rear yard. The circus contained a menagerie of animals including a tiger, which Hannah was warned against upsetting.
She liked bothering the animal until one day it got tired of it and mauled her. Hannah did not survive.