On the outskirts of the mid-Cornish village of Roche stands a rugged outcrop of granite rock casting a jagged shadow across the bleak and windswept moorland landscape. And built upon the highest rock, and into the rock itself, are the ruins of a 15th century haunted chapel. This is the atmospheric and eerie Roche Rock.
Once thought to be the dwelling place of early religious hermits living in a small oratory or cell a larger chapel was built above in the early years of the 15th century and dedicated to St Michael.
Local folk legend says the 17th century magistrate Jan Tregeagle, sent to hell for his sins and then reprieved, sought sanctuary in the chapel after being set a series of impossible tasks. Another legend suggests Roche Rock may be where the Cornish knight Tristan eloped with the Irish princess Iseult to shelter from their pursuers.
The chapel is accessible by an iron ladder hammered into the rock and you can climb the 66 feet (20 metres) to the flat rocked summit where you are assailed by the screaming wind and the shadows of the clouds across the rocks. Or is it the screams of a murdered miner you can hear and is that his shadows flitting between the rocks?
Words and photographs Copyright © 2015 by Antony J Waller