Headless horsemen, demons and smugglers: Perched, breathtakingly, on the clifftops above the beautiful Talland Bay, the parish church is a must for those who adore a little prettiness with their ghosthunting. The large building has been adapted over time, from a pre-Christian Celtic church (the altar is still in the same place), to the large rambling complex we see today, with adjoining tower. Painted, photographed and sketched a thousand times, the church has its fair share of legends and folklore.

These include: The frightful tale of the desperate horseman, whose cart has been seen racing down the lanes, past the church and around the Bay, before disappearing on its fateful journey to the nearby harbor town of Polperro. The rider is thought to be fleeing the customs men, with his illegal bounty of rum. Shot several times, the man was dead before arriving at his destination, but the horse raced on, over the edge of the harbor wall and into the depths below.

Lastly, Matt Clark (the creator of Barrow Hill) took part in a paranormal investigation at this very church. See the findings, read the casefile, at the This Haunted Land website.

Ice-cream and coffee by the Bay. Smugglers Rest BBQ & Bar. The church, high above the Bay.

Or, how about the bizarre stories surrounding Reverend Richard Dodge (vicar of Talland from 1713-47), who was thought to possess the power to lay rest to wandering ghosts, raise demons at will, and stalk the dark country lanes each evening on the look out for wandering locals. Modern theory suggests Dodge was in league with crafty smugglers, who utilized his frightful stories to provide much needed secrecy from spying eyes.

Or, how about the contemporary reports of hearing a woman sobbing, from somewhere inside the building, but no source or person can be located, upon entering the church. This has been mentioned by more than a few visitors.

Lastly, there's the intriguing story of "Robert Mark". Resident of the nearby harbor town of Polperro, Mark was shot dead in 1802, although there is some confusion as to whether he was a local smuggling hero (shot at sea) or a customs/revenue man shot on duty. A stone (tablet style) memorial can be found in the church Baptistery (by the font, in the south west corner) upon the wall, and states "In prime of life, most suddenly, Sad tidings to relate, Here view my utter destiny, And pity my sad state. I by a shot which rapid flew, Was instantly struck dead."

An isle in Talland Church. The pipe Organ in Talland Church. The view from the Church.

Where is Talland Bay: Multimap

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This page forms part of the Barrow Hill: Archaeology Meets Adventure website. if you are lost in the web, or wish to visit the site, please click here: http://www.barrow-hill.co.uk / or http://www.shadowtorstudios.co.uk