Tuesday, 11 May 2010

No Wind, No Rain, No Room At The Inn

It was a lovely morning as I set off on day two of this weeks haunted Britain jaunt. Bright, blue sky, scudding clouds, the perfect day to head off for Cornwall.

Emily told me the journey was going to take close on three hours, so I set off post haste and the journey was underway.

En route I stopped off to pay a visit to Maiden Castle, the largest Iron Age Hill Fort in the Country. It looked great, although I resisted the urge to hike to its summit as it looked, well to be blunt, exhausting.

So it was back to the Car and I headed further into the South West.

As I did so the bright blue sky gave way to a dull, grey, leaden sky which proceeded to open and shower my car with hail stones. I thought we'd seen the back of the winter, evidently not.

Skirting Oakhampton, I decided to pay a visit to an old favourite The Highwayman in Sourton. This little inn perches on the edge of Dartmoor.

In 1959 it was taken over by a true character by the name of Buster Jones (no relation!) who turned it into a fairytale inn that is a trulky magical place. I've got a full article about it on my main Haunted Britain Website.

One thing that puzzles me is why The Highway man isn't busier. It's not far from the Jamaica Inn, which is much more famous and which is, to be brutally honest, an absolute tourist trap. The Highwayman is much better, much more atmospheric and certainly more eccentric. Pay it a visit, you'll be glad you did.

Having partaken of a glass of lemonade, I headed down to Bodmin and pulled into the Lower Car Park at Bodmin Jail. What a place. Creepy corridors, creepy stone spiral staircases and even creepier cells.

I was much taken with the story of Anne Jeffries who was suspected of being a Changeling by her neighbours, and who then ended up being thrown into Bodmin Jail on the spurious charge of being a witch! She was kept in solitary confinement and was given no food. However, the poor woman showed no ill effects from being starved. Her health and weight remained constant, indeed she lost no weight whatsoever. Her explanation.. the fairies were feeding her in the night. I bet this didn't go down well with the prison authorities. I must learn more about her.

From Bodmin I headed to Warleggan, a remote village surrounded by the bleak expanse of Bodmin Moor. The roads leading to it are very narrow and very twisting and Emily (my trusty sat nav) had never heard of it. It was down to good, old-fashioned, atlas navigation.

Eventually I arrived and was very intrigued to find out that Warleggan is "twinned" with "Narnia."
I bet that makes for an interesting party when the residents of the two places get together!

I had come to Warleggan to visit the church of St Bartholomew, a tiny little church which in the mid 20th century became famous on account of its eccentric vicar F. W Densham. He arrived at the church in 1931 and so offended his parishioners with his autocratic style, that they boycotted his services. He resorted to replacing the parishioners with card board cut outs of former vicars which he placed in the pews as his Sunday congregation. Following the Sunday service he would note in the register "No wind, no rain, no congregation." Inside the church I found the message I'd scrawled in the visitors book back on my last visit here in April 2000. Phew... where did those ten years go!

My next destination was The Spanish Barn at Torre Abbey in Torquay, Devon. Here's a few photos to give you the measure of this beautiful place.

I decided to get as close to tomorrow's first location before finding a hotel, so I headed for Holford in Somerset. Coming off the M5 I spotted the perfect place to spend the night, the wonderfully named Friendly Spirit Inn. They were very friendly indeed, but they were also very full, so I couldn't spend the night there.

Still, the upshot was that I found the lovely Apple Tree, which is near Nether Stowey. An absolutely wonderful place and I'm shortly going to sample its fine cuisine.

So until next time.. Good Hauntings.


  1. Love the article, ive been trying to log haunted places in cornwall on my site, ive only found 3 so far though, its http://www.hauntedhovel.com

  2. Excellent blog Richard - I found you by accident from a link on a blog in the USA - small world eh?