Michael de Rupe, Brentor Tor, Dartmoor

video of St Michael de Rupe – Brentor

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Standing on an an ancient tor which was once a volcano with amazing views over Dartmoor and West Devon is one of the world’s most stunning and best located churches. The church of St Michael de Rupe stands within the Dartmoor National Park in Devon. This church takes in some amazing views including Dartmoor and West Devon. Cornwall, the sea around Newton Abbot and Exmoor can also all be seen in the distance. The church was founded in 1130 and is the fourth smallest parish church in Britain. It also claims to be the highest church in England which is still in use. The church which can be seen today dates from the 13th and 14th century however it is built on the original 12th century foundations. Brentor Village’s main church is a more recent 19th century building with the dedication of Christchurch which can be found in the village however St Michael De Rupe Church still remains the parish church with the parish of Brentor being bordered by the parishes of Coryton, Lewtrenchard (by a margin), Lydford, Mary Tavy, Lamerton, and Milton Abbot. Although there is this church (which is much more easily accessed), Brentor Church is still in use for services. Brentor Church is 37 feet long and 15 feet wide with a tower containing five bells of a height of 40 feet. This church is truly amazing and definitely is worth a visit, even if you’re not on Dartmoor. Music by Adrian Von Ziegler –

You tube music is in the link below the image

https://www.youtube.com/user/adrianvo

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After watching the Brentor You Tube Last Year, I dearly wished to visit St. Michael de Rupe on Dartmoor. Our journey began in the market town of Tavistock on a quiet Sunday afternoon, taking the easiest route through the tiny villages of Peter Tavy and Mary Tavy towards the vast open moorland. It’s an enchanting route through narrow lanes lined with wildflowers, trees and quaint old houses, and occasional picturesque pubs.

Dartmoor is entered through wide wooden gates, where sheep graze carelessly beside the road without a thought to the traffic. The famous Dartmoor ponies graze nearby. These beautiful creatures show no fear of cars or visitors; some are tame enough to allow you to stroke them. The colour of the ponies are varied from all black, to black and white, brown, or brown and white or all white. Extremely pretty, with long manes, thick eye lashes, woolly tails, that sweep the ground, they are much beloved by everyone that visits.

Lost on Dartmoor

Brentor in the far distance

Dartmoor
The entrance to Dartmoor from Tavistock

Down the road some two miles, we come to an old gate and sign that marked the entrance, official one that is, to Brentor church. It’s baffling because the climb up to the little ancient church looks easy, but it is deceptive. It can be dangerous if you take a wrong turn and I did.

So anxious was I to begin the climb up to the church, I left my handbag in the car but grabbed my camera. Entering the old gate, a couple were walking toward me.They stopped to talk. They said the climb was easy enough, to just follow the upward stone path, “It’s no sweat”, they smiled. I took their advice, stopping along the way to take photos but that was my undoing. By not concentrating on the path, I found myself on the shadow side of the hill. I knew I had lost my way when I saw the large rocks and boulders in front of me. The daunting prospect of climbing over those made me want to turn back but the church looked so near! I continued on but an eerie feeling came over me, for I was circling the Tor where no path existed. Which way to go was now something to consider. It was late in the afternoon.

Finally reaching the point just below the summit, a faint path appeared before me. Phew! What a relief! Then the church came into full view once more so I trudged on. But then, between me and the church’s refuge, more giant rocks stood tall and foreboding. I had lost the path again! In the distance, I could see several people walking along the church boundary, but they were too far away for me to call to. The wind was pretty high at this level and my legs ached. I sat down on a rock to catch my breath. The views all around were awesome.Certainly, I lost no time in taking plenty of photos. The photos below are from there.

looking up from my rock seat to the church, i was never to visit

looking down over the moors

the church again just as I turned to climb down
the descent

The gorgeous views kept me captivated. Then the sun rays disappeared behind the church -and it occurred to me that “late afternoon” was turning to dusk. I didn’t want to leave but leave I must. So I got up from my rock seat, shook myself down and began the descent. But the strangely compelling beauty of the moment kept my attention on those views, again I found myself far from the entrance from where I had begun my climb. Instead, I found myself in a bog-filled field that stretched out for miles.

So here I was – lost again! Time was passing fast, the thought of being left out on Dartmoor away from anyone, filled me with dread. I trudged on for half an hour when a road came into view. Not only a road, but a white house appeared in the distance! Now I had a landmark. So with as much speed as I could muster, I walked in that direction. But I took a wrong step and slipped into a shallow bog and lost my shoe! Recovering it was not easy; the soggy mud stuck to the shoe. ‘Darn it!’ I thought to myself but managed to slip it on. With a very uncomfortable gait I walked briskly on. Eventually, I came to a farmer’s gate. Ahh! at last a way out and onto the road!

The gate was locked! Darn it! The area was anything but safe for curious tourists and a firm ‘no entry’ sign was clearly visible on the road side. What to do? The thought of climbing over the gate came to mind but by now exhaustion had set in. Then I struck lucky. The old lock was one I knew and when I pressed my thumb onto the steel spring-loaded lock hard enough, it gave way. Freedom at last! Yay, I was back to civilisation! A ‘B’ road where surely cars would pass. None did, but the white house appeared just ahead.


The bog field
The church from the road

The house was quiet – no answer came from my relentless banging the door. But as luck would have it, a car approached and then pulled over. “Are you okay?” A kindly man asked. Breathlessly, I answered that I was not. He said, “Lost? Where is your phone?” I told him I didn’t have one, nothing but my camera. A look of alarm crossed his face but then came a kindly smile. “Never mind, jump in. I will take you back to the church entrance.”

This is where I had left my husband who now anxiously waited with a search party. What a day and what memories. It was all worth it.

On the walk to the white house,me and my shadow

Until later Eve

Ghosts Around Bodmin Moor

We moved to Cornwall last year. To Launceston and very close to Bodmin Moor. It’s a beautiful area with its hills, misty valleys, tiny villages, meandering lanes and moorland that seems to stretch for miles. Out on the moor, mysterious places suddenly appear like magic. There we find half pulled down houses, feral cats, the sound of barking dogs and many sheep. Yes, sheep are everywhere, cows too and streams, bogs and brooks. It’s like a fairy tale place where rays of light shine through trees, then suddenly a thicket turns everything into shade. Bodmin Moor is a mysterious place where every turn manifests its own particular landscape. Sometimes we see alarming scenes too, like dead dogs or cats, road-kill, that touches our own inner dread, that may happen to us. Maybe it is the silence, or the isolation, I don’t know – but one get’s a feeling of entering a different realm.

Bodin Moor – path to the Holy Well – St. Noet’s

There are unseen presences too; those around Roughtor report manifestations of misty figures as if watching you and sometimes touching you – although invisible to the eye. The Tors themselves, high up and breezy, have a feeling of being lost and alone. The sounds and smells of the moor are still the same strange stuff of yesteryear. The supernatural seeds are sewn right there and then!

Author Dame Daphne du Maurier once said, while standing in a field on the edge of the moors, that she felt like an astronaut in time. I remember walking down those little pathway toward the holy well in St. Neots last year, when a similar feeling came over me too. I felt I was walking away from planet Earth as I left that small village behind, even though the day was fine and sunny. I decided to stop there and then; to turn back to the village without ever seeing it.

Our next stop was the ‘Jamaica Inn’. Daphne du Maurier’s novel of the same name has immortalised this Inn forever. When we arrived, it was lunch time. The Inn was full and even with Covid, every table was taken. We squeezed into tiny seats beside the door – just across from us, the plaque marked the place where Joss Merlyn had been murdered. He had been the villain in D. du Maurier’s novel Jamaica inn, he being the cruel owner of the Inn, and central character of the story. It’s a book worth reading! Was the Jamaica Inn such a bete noir of the paranormal? Could this busy sunlit Inn have been the centre of so many intriguing activities? Well here’s something from Michael Williams’ booklet on Jamaica Inn from his own experiences..

Ghosts – around Bodmin Moor

“In Oct. 1998, I was a member of the Ghost Club Society term which investigated Jamaica Inn. That night, between the hours of 11 p.m. and 2 a.m., there was almost a kind of psychic electricity in the atmosphere. We had a remarkable sighting.

The small bar, where nine of us were present, was dark but some light was reflected from the main bar. Five of us saw a man sitting in a chair or it might have been on a wooden bench. Two of us were unsure about the sighting and the last two did not see anything. When the lights went back on, the man had disappeared and, significantly, I noticed that a collection of logs in a container stood before the area where the man had been seen. At the time of the sighting, I was not aware of the logs and, then when the lights revealed the present day geography of the room, there was no sign of a chair or a bench. We had quite simply experienced a time slip – and had viewed that part of the room as it had once been many years ago.

The man had not belonged to modern times. He was dark but not that distinct – like a painting that had faded somewhere through age. He was there – I have no doubt about that – and he somehow generated the impression of a person of business. “

– Joss Merlyn was a man of business – a wretched business – hardly bares mentioning.

eve.


Highly recommend the booklet ‘Ghosts around Bodmin Moor’ – Michael Williams

outside of Jamaica Inn 2020
plaque of where Joss Merlyn was murdered

Holy ‘well – St. Noets

Jamaica Inn photos – below

Outside the Gift Shop – Jamaica Inn
Inn – St. Noets
Ancient Stone Wall

Spirit is the heart of matter;

matter is the ensoulment of spirit.

-Gaston Bachelard

More photos to follow in another post..