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Saturday, 5 September 2015

Coffin Wood Dartmoor by Kevin Hynes

Coffin Wood

Coffin Wood is situated within the Lydford parish of Dartmoor, it was customary to travel upon tracks and pathways to carry the deceased across the moorland to their burial place at Lydford church. This sombre journey incorporated the deceased being unwrapped in a shroud and flung over horse back and taken to the area known as Coffin Wood. This was undertaken as the journey was indeed dangerous and it was deemed an easy option with the deceased being transported upon a horse rather than being placed in a coffin. Upon arrival the deceased would be transferred to a wooden coffin to then be transported the remainder of the journey to their resting place at Lydford.

Even today within this ancient wooded area there have been full blown apparitions of the ghostly procession of shadow like figures following a single horse with an eerie sighting of a figure of someone slung over horse back.

On stormy dark nights it is not uncommon to sight the flicker of lanterns within Coffin Wood and the sound of mumbling voices have been heard.

It was also customary during medieval times that the corpse of the deceased was to travel to its place of resting via river crossings as it was told that spirits could not cross open rivers or streams. It is therefore intriguing to know that Lych way (Lych meaning Corpse in ancient Anglo Saxon tongue) was the route the deceased took. The journey involved crossing a number of major rivers and streams on route to Lydford.

Brentor by Kevin Hynes


Brentor Church

The church of St Michael of the Rock is located upon the ancient volcanic triangular hill of Brentor. This landmark church is 1,100 feet above sea level, the first church was constructed around 1130 by Robert Giffard, although legend stats a wealthy merchant built the church after his ship was caught in a treacherous storm off the coast of Devon. In the height of the storm it is believed that the merchant called out to Saint Michael to save him and as a thanks giving in return he would build a church upon the first sight of land he saw.

Another folk lore tale associated to Brentor is that the church was attacked by the devil who tried his upmost to cease the building of the church by stealing the foundation stones, although legend states an archangel intervened and threw a gigantic granite rock at the devil which struck him between the horns.

Brentor its self is located upon the well-known ‘ley line’ which is said to start at Land’s End in West Cornwall and continues through Brentor and onto Glastonbury in Somerset.