One of my favorite things to do is to get out and about in search of oddities, maybe looking around locations that are supposed to be haunted or perhaps looking for out of place animals or visiting ancient sites that are full of legends, myths and monsters. I’m very lucky to live in an area that is full of these things and much more, and I’m also very lucky to have a good friend who also enjoys these forays into forteana.
It was last Wednesday that my friend Ed sent me a message via Facebook to let me know that he, unexpectedly had the next two days off of work and would I like to try a bit of ley dowsing. As I myself had no work the following Friday I jumped at the chance and arrangements were made.
So Friday morning came and I made the journey from my house near Bristol down to Glastonbury in the heart of Somerset. Upon arriving at my friends house and receiving a warm greeting we decided it would be wise to walk into the town centre to fill up on some good food and this would also give me the opportunity to buy my own set of dowsing rods. We headed off into the town and walk down the high street and a perusal of the various shops that sell all sorts of tools and trinkets for the new age type or magic practitioner eventually found me a set of lovely dowsing rods made by the local blacksmith. With that errand out of the way we could now get on with the important business of finding some food.
With Ed and I both being vegan the job of finding some good food to eat can sometimes be a little tricky but of course this is Glastonbury and we are well catered for. After tucking into a huge bowl of chilli and rice we felt suitably fueled to head out on our days adventure.
Our first stop was St leonards Church in the little village of Butleigh, which according to historians has been inhabited in one form or another for around 2000 years. The church its self dates back to the 14th century but it may have been an important spiritual site for many hundreds of years (or more) before the church was built or even before Christianity came to these shores. The evidence for this theory is seen in the stump of what was once and ancient yew tree, which has now been cut down and carved into benches. It is thought that this yew may have been several thousands of years old and we know they were highly venerated in pre christian times. And often, here in the UK you will find churches that have been built on sites that contain these ancient yews, sites that would of held spiritual importance to pagan peoples as a way of showing the power of the new religion or trying to morph the faiths together.
But it was the layline that we were particularly interested in finding whilst we were here and it wasn’t long before the dowsing rods were out and we had found where the line entered and exited the church on what is known as the Glastonbury line.
Now the finding the ley itself wasn’t much of a revelation it is well know and well mapped. But, what we discovered next really did surprise us. Straight after finding the point on the church where they lay left the building we looked up and saw what can only be described as a carving of a green man (a very pagan symbol) and when we went back around the the front where the lay went in, yup you guessed it there was the same carving. Could this be a coincidence? Well we made a careful examination of the rest of the carvings and gargoyles on the outside of church and these were the only two. So, make of that what you will dear reader.
Looking at the OS map that Ed had the fore site to bring along we decided that we may like to try and discover our own previously unknown point of the Glastonbury Ley and it didn’t take to much studying to find another church near by that might just fit the bill. Getting back in to my car we headed towards the near by village of Kingweston and to the church of All Saints, this church was originally built in the middleages but largely remodelled in the 19th century. And once the rods were out again we were very pleased to discover that the ley did indeed travel right through this church.
Now with the cold wind biting into us we made to tough decision to head back towards Glastonbury and find a nice warm pub to enjoy a couple of pints. Well dear reader a couple of pints soon turned into a few and then a few more and we were soon heading back to Eds place on foot through the somerset night. But even in our slightly inebriated state the spirit of forteana still shone through and we soon found ourselves amongst the ruins of Glastonbury Abby where on a previous visit Ed had been doing some stealth dowsing for any spirits that may have been around. Well, he was in luck he managed to pick up on a something that not only showed itself via his rods but also made itself known via a loud moan that seemed to emanate from behind Ed and his wife who was also with him. But upon turning around there was absolutely no one around. So naturally we made our way to the spot where the moan was heard, which happily was by a large old pond. We sat on a near by bench and for a while just watched the moon reflected in the cold dark waters of the pond, occasionally calling out for any spirits or entities that might be present to make themselves known to us. But sadly nothing came forward.
And so the cold the once more getting the better of us we stumbled our way back to my friends house and called it a night.
Our next trip out was on the following Sunday and we had agreed to meet and Brockley Church which is at the opposite end of the Glastonbury Ley. Now, those of you that have read Elliott O’Donnal will know the name of Brockley as being an area that is supposedly extremely haunted by a number of different ghosts and entities. Naturally with the church being not much more than a ten minuet drive from my home some how I managed to to late and Ed was already having a mooch around the church yard, where it is said that the ghost of a former church rector is said to haunt, it seems in life this rector wasn’t the most pleasant of individuals and upon hearing that a local man of some wealth and had a nasty accident followed his christian doctrine and nursed him back to health. The rich patient being very grateful to the holy man wrote him into his will. But soon after the rector took his life thusly benefiting from his will.
So again it was out with the dowsing rods and into the church yard and it took us no time at all to find were the Ley cam into and out of the church. And upon entering the church Ed discovered that as it went through the building it spiraled round before exiting. This little country church had been the site of a paranormal investigation many years before by the affore mentioned Mr O’donnel, upon hearing reports of a little brown lady being seen by many people, apparently engaged in the act of cleaning the church before dissapearing in front of the stunned witnesses. O’donnel locked himself and his team in to the church for the night sealing of doors and windows and settled down to wait to see if the lady would appear to him. Sadly she did not make herself known visually but the team did hear footsteps and the sound of whispered voices.
Alone in the church Ed and I sat down in the pews after making sure no one else was in the building. Sitting in silence we listened to the creaks and moans of the old building occasionally calling out to see if we would get any sort of answer. Unfortunately we got nothing but at one point we both noticed a rather extreme drop in temperature that we both found intriguing.
If you would like to know more about the many ghosts of Brockley I’ll be writing a comprehensive post very shortly and keep an eye out for our report from the over night stay we plan on making in the church…..