ST DENNIS Tregeagle at Roche Rock

Jan Tregeagle was Cornwall's baddest bad man. He started life as a poor shepherd, but became steward at Lanhydrock House near Bodmin. He stole and he tricked and he thieved, he was cruel and unkind to everyone he met and he thought he had got away with it. When he died he was buried in St Breok Churchyard and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. PHEW, that's the end of him. But no it wasn't. He appeared at Bodmin Court and admitted to stealing rent money. Then he wouldn't go back to his grave, and he wouldn't go to Hell where he belonged, and heaven didn't want him. The vicar wrapped him in chains and took him to Dozemary Pool, high up on Bodmin Moor, told him to empty the pool using a limpet shell. Thing was, that limpet shell had a hole in it, and Dozemary was a bottomless pool, and Tregeagle knew he would be there bailing for ever. He howled with rage, and his cries were heard all over Bodmin Moor on stormy nights. No one had any sympathy for him.

One night he struggled and raged so much the chains snapped, and he ran off over the moors, leaving Bodmin Moor behind and speeding towards Goss Moor. The devil sent his hell hounds to catch Tregeagle, they chased the bad man, baying and snapping at his ankles. It takes a lot to scare a bad man but they did. He ran fast, jumping the rocks, wading through bogs, splashing through streams and still the hounds were at his heels. He saw a huge black rock in the distance, black as his heart, with a chapel built high on its side, and he thought this might be a place of safety, a sanctuary. He scrambled up the rock face, he scrambled in the window, the hounds baying at his heels all the while and then .. he got stuck. Head in the chapel, heels outside..just right for the hounds to snap at, and snap they did. Tregeagle howled, partly in frustration, partly in pain. No one had any sympathy for him. The hermit who lived in Roche Rock chapel complained could he meditate and pray with all that noise going on. So the hermit pushed and the vicar pulled and out popped Tregeagle and quick as a flash the vicar had him in chains again, and the hounds kept him there. They took Tregeagle down Cornwall to make ropes out of sand. He's still there, and Roche Rock is quiet once more.

retold by Sue Field

Source Hunt, Bottrell, Barbara Spooner Jan Tregeagle of Trevorder.