Legend has it that a ghost haunts the surrounding area of the chapel at Roche Rock, which can be found in Cornwall, England. The vicinity is known as Bodmin Moor and the ghost is believed to be that of Jan Tregeagle, whose cries have been documented more than once. This article deals with the story behind the haunting of Hermit’s Chapel.
Jan Tregeagle was a magistrate of the area, establishing a rather unwanted following of enemies. During the 17th century, he held the position and used it to his fullest advantage. He was known for conducting shady business deals, as well as swindling people out of their money. Through these actions, he was able to accumulate a hefty sum for himself, but he spent half of this fortune bribing the clergy. For what you might ask? He was planning for after his death and wished to be buried in consecrated ground, which required the consent of the clergy. He was worried that he would not be allowed because of all the awful things he had done in his past.
But it was all for not because after a couple of years past his death, he was dug up from what he thought would be his final resting place and brought before court as a witness. As the story goes, the court case centered on land claims, involving Tregeagle because while he was alive, he incorrectly assumed ownership of a piece of property that was not his. As the case neared a conclusion, the defendant called an additional witness. The courtroom was struck with a bout of silence and eeriness when they laid their eyes upon Tregeagle in the witness box. All present was shocked to say the least. Tregeagle was actually cross-examined while in the afterlife and eventually found guilty. His final charge was fraud.
After the court case, it is believed that Tregeagle’s spirit stayed within the courtroom, although his body was turned over to the local clergy. They then went about the task of assigning duties for him to be obligated to for eternity. They believed that as long as he worked at something, he would not be sent to the hands of Devil. It is said that Tregeagle was assigned the task of emptying the Dozmary Pool, which was a bottomless body of water. His only tool for completing this task was a shell. Headless hounds were said to guard him while he worked and if he paused for even a short amount of time, he would be attacked on sight. Legend states that one night, he stopped from his work because he encountered a strong storm. The hounds responded, chasing him across the moor and to the chapel at Roche Rock. Once he reached the church, he could only peek his head through the window before the hounds tore his body to pieces. He screamed so loud that one of the clergy took pity on him and rescued him from the hounds. He was then freed and banished to the moors.
Today, the whispers about Bodmin Moor is that the ghost of Tregeagle can be found roaming about. He has been sighted going about a series of tasks. His cries have also been documented, which are thought to be over the fortune he lost, as well as his demise.