Thursday, January 26, 2006

The legend of Jan Tregeagle

As regular readers of this blog may know, I spent the first 18 years of my life in a town called Bodmin, in Cornwall. Now, Cornwall has many legends, and one I remember very clearly, which fascinated me from a young age, was the legend of Jan Tregeagle.

Jan Tregeagle probably existed in real life, perhaps as a magistrate in Bodmin. He seems to have been a rather evil and corrupt figure, who was rumoured to have swindled an orphan out of his estate. He wasn't a bit like Bystander! After his death, there was a court case which needed his evidence; the court was surprised to hear the ghost of Mr Tregeagle summoned as a witness. The ghost manifested itself, but there was a problem with sending the spirit back to hell. The local priests got together and decided that he could stay, as long as he completed certain tasks. If he didn't complete them or stopped to rest, he would be pursued by the hounds of hell. Basically, they wee keeping him out of trouble.

The first task was to empty Dozmary Pool with a leaking limpet shell. Now, Dozmary Pool is a beautiful, desolate place on Bodmin Moor, which is reputed to be bottomless. They thought that it would keep our friend busy for a bit. There are various other legends about what he got up to, but I think that the links that I provide will suffice. One day, the demons tried to chase him, but he leapt across the water of Dozmary Pool and was saved. You can read some more authoritative versions here and here.

As for the bottomless Dozmary Pool, it's the site of many other legends, and is supposedly where Excalibut was lost. After all, it's a bottomless lake. Apart from when it dried up in 1869 and 1976...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a great story. Waiting for more. »

5:08 pm  

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