After years of talking about it, finally my friend and I made the journey to the small Bedfordshire village of Clophill in search of the infamous Church of St Mary the Virgin.
It’s not the first time I’d visited that particular location, but my previous trip was so long ago I can scarcely remember.
With two cars loaded down with kids and picnics, we traveled the short distance and headed for the Church.
Having left the sanctuary of my warm/dry car, we got half way up the hill when the heavens opened. I don’t just mean a little rain, it was torrential and of course we had no coats and only one umbrella. Hunkering down in some non-water-resistant bushes, we waited out the storm and eventually it eased off enough for us to continue.
Awaiting us, at the top of the hill, were the ruins of the derelict old church. With the rain still coming down, the beauty of the surrounding countryside seemed deadened by dreariness. The ruins stood in a melancholy, desolate state, and seemed pleased to have some visitors on such a dismal day.
For a while we took shelter inside what’s left of the tower, but with no roof, it bestowed little shelter. Determined to make the most of our trip, we scouted the location and took plenty of photographs.
The church is more renowned for attracting devil-worshipers than spirits, but aside from the expected graffiti, we felt the church was undeserving of such a dark reputation. Bright wild flowers, and butterflies decorated the long forgotten graveyard, and the kids played hide and seek in the long/wet grass.
This time our visit was cut short due to the persistent rain, but we will go back, and unpack our picnics on the meadow, which promises such wonderful views. Or perhaps we’ll save our next trip to a more atmospheric time of year, and see if the church is indeed deserving of its reputation.