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Sunday, 28 October 2018

A Halloween Story

 The Legends of Devon


Purple, heather clad moorland, wide open views, crystal clear waterways and grey stone tors these are the things that shape the landscape of Dartmoor.
These valleys, swamps and wetlands, are home to long and well-trodden pathways, though empty and desolate. The scenery of Dartmoor is alive with legends.
Battered by the cold winds, covered in thick mist, and home to some of Britain's most mysterious tales.
for the longest time, this area of southwest England has been a hotbed of spooky stories and urban legends.
keeping with the Halloween theme lets take a look at a suicide, a great British legend, and a cursed man.

From the old bluffs of Cornwall to the hazy peat lowlands of Devon, there are stories whispered for  hundreds of years, old once told by the local tin miners, passed down and cherished in local custom.
they're all superbly spooky.
The first brings us to a Little homestead in the middle of  Dartmoor.
a place where Many guests stop by.
The grave of Kitty Jay.
in years gone by, Those that took their own lives were not permitted to be buried in the sanctified ground of a church, this leaving their spirits to wonder our world lost and alone
The superstitious people of the time trusted that, if a body was taken at as far as possible outside of a town or village, and then buried, ideally at a crossroads, the soul would not be able to find its way back.
This saving the fearful residents from being haunted by the recently departed.
Jay's Grave is the place of is one of these burials.
The story goes Kitty Jay was a young beautiful unmarried housemaid who took a lover, this man betrayed the young woman breaking her heart. Kitty in distress took her own life, hanging herself in an outbuilding adjacent to the homestead.
 the body was dealt with in the most brutal way, discarded like trash denied a proper burial.
 This is when a Mr James Bryan decided to exhume the remains and give them a  better burial.He took the remains outside of the village and at a crossroads buried poor kitty once again using stones mark the spot.
This is where the mystery of the grave begins.
Each day fresh flowers are found on Kitty's resting place but no one is ever seen placing them there.
No matter what time of the year, whenever you pass  Kitty Jay’s Grave you will always see fresh flowers, sometimes wildflowers, sometimes garden flowers.
  No one knows who put them there or why, but one thing is for sure poor Kitty Jay has been remembered for far longer than the superstitious country fold who originally buried her!!

The next location on the windy moor is associated with two local legends one known by many the other maybe not so much.
Dozmary (or Dozmare) Pool is a small lake found in Altarnun on Bodmin Moor.
the lake sits 10 miles from the ocean and around 9 miles north-east of Bodmi an area famous for having a beast stalking its hills.
Local legends tell that the lake is supposed to be bottomless, and it plays a part in two other important local legends.
the first is that it is said to be the home of the Lady of the Lake from Arthurian legend.
As told in the legend, it is here that King Arthur paddled out and met with the Lady of the Lake obtaining the legendary sword Excalibur.
Excalibur the legendary blade of King Arthur, enchanted with magical powers it is said whom ever wields the sword is the legitimate ruler of Great Britain.
the legend of Arthur has been told and retold for hundreds of years with the ending always being the same, Arthur lay dying from the injuries received following his fight with Mordred, and Excalibur must be returned back to its source, this until someone worthy shall rise to replace Arthur and rule Britain.   the Lady of the Lake residing in Dozmary (or Dozmare) Pool along with the sword waiting.
Today sadly, the lake has all but dried up, the water evaporated away.
have the chances of finding the legendary blade evaporated too?

Another story tied to  Dozmary Pool is that of Jan Tregeagle.
This mans wild spirit wanders the moors, his ghostly wails can be heard along the rugged coasts, across these bleak moors and echoes through the valleys.
the unresting spirit of the most evil man the Duchy has ever known.

This wicked man's spirit is said to have been set a series of impossible tasks by the devil, this to keep his soul out of hell.

Jan Tregeagle was an early 17th-century magistrate in Bodmin. this man amassed great wealth through all manner of evil underhand deeds which included cheating an orphan of his inheritance.

towards the end of his life remorse began to creep up on Tregeagle.
There was practically no sin he had not committed and in a desperate attempt to escape the fate that lay ahead of a life of wickedness
he lavished money on the church and the poor hoping to obtain the help of the clergy to save his soul from the fiery depths of hell.
duty Bound the priests banded together in an attempt to save his soul,  and by constant prayer, they kept the powers of darkness at bay.
Tregeagle eventually died and was buried in St Breock Church near Wadebridge.
 But the demons were not so willing to give up what they felt was their lawful prey.
Shortly after his death, there was an important lawsuit. The judge was just about to finish his summing up, and the case was all but decided against the defendant.
This was when the judge called for any further witness.
 To the horror of the court a  slender, shadowy figure appeared in front of the court, it Tregeagle back from the dead to take the witness stand.
People fled but the stoic judge remained and began to question the ghostly figure.
Now the fact that Tregeagle had been brought back from beyond the grave, despite the reason being worthy, placed him once more within dangerous grasps of the demons who were hungry for his soul.
 The Churchmen who had once prayed for the man's soul needed to step in and keep the demons from their prize, it was decided that the only hope for peace was for the spirit of the evil man to be given a number of tasks which would keep him busy until the Day of Judgement.
As long as he worked unceasingly he might still have some hope of salvation.
He was to empty out Dozmary Pool, using only a limpet shell which also had a hole.
it is said that for many years Tregeagle laboured at this until one day there was a terrible storm he stopped working for just a moment.
The demons seized the opportunity and descended on him.
He fled only escaping them by leaping over the lake - demons its is said cannot cross water - he rushed to the sanctuary of the little chapel on Roche Rocks near St Austell.
scrambling to enter the chapel he managed to get his head through the east window, just in the nick of time.

 his head was stuck in the window but his body was left dangling outside at the mercy of the demons, there Tregeagle remained.
Eventually, Tregeagles screams and the incessant howling of the demons drove the priest to call for help.
They bound the wretched soul with holy spells and took him safely across to Gwenvor Cove, where he was set another task.
 He was to weave a truss of sand and spin a sand rope to bind it.
Tregeagle worked out a way to complete his impossible task, he poured water onto the sand which then froze.
he could now finish what was set for him by the priests.
 this preist fearing he would once again be free bringing demons back to the land summoned St Petroc who bound Tregeagle with a mighty chain.
 Tregeagle was set another task, he was to carry all the sand from the beach across to the estuary of the River Cober to Porthleven, this until only rock remained on the beach.
 St Petroc knew the task was futile because with every tide the sand would be swept back again.
the demons were always watching, then one-day Tregeagle was wading across the river, sand began to pour from the huge sack that he carried, this dammed up the stream, forming Loe Pool.
The dam is what is now known as Loe Bar, a sinister place with more than a few myths of its own.
after yet another failure and the threat of demons, a final task was set for Tregeagle, which he is said to still carry out to this day.
He was taken to Land's End and ordered to sweep the sand from a cove on the headland, it is said on a winter's night when you are in the area you can hear Tregeagle howling and roaring at the hopelessness of his task.
what spooky local legends do you have?
What stories do you like tell of a Halloween night?
let me know in the comments below have a great Halloween

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