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A Northern Ghost Story


The tiny village of Renwick possesses a small and uneventful church in which can be found an intriguing explanatory announcement that tells of a supernatural connection
The village is lonely and isolated perched on the edge of desolate moor land by what is poetically named “Fiends Fell”. and informs the casual observer of the sinister reason behind the villagers being dubbed “Renwick Bats”. Although the church is an ancient foundation a sad notice inside the tiny church laments “our little church is bare now, it has been burnt and ravaged through many centuries of border warfare but it is beautiful to our eyes.

To the casual visitor the village is bleak. Take a walk along the byways it is the most beautiful parish in the country”

Inside the tranquil though uneventful little church is a type written announcement that informs in unsteady lettering the reason why the villagers in this remote and isolated spot are called “Renwick Bats”. By 1733 the church had fallen into disrepair and it was decided to rebuild it. As the workmen were demolishing the building a hideous creature suddenly flew at them from the foundations which they immediately recognised as a cockatrice. This mythical creature was said to be a four legged cock with a crown, the tale of a serpent ending in a hook and huge pinions. Its gaze was believed to be fatal or, according to Chaucer it “sleeth folk by the venim of his sighte”.
The workmen, naturally, were terrified by the sudden appearance and when the creature suddenly rose up before them they downed tools and ran for their lives. All except John Tallantire who taking the branch of a rowan tree (long believed to be a protection against witchcraft and diverse other evils) and fought the beast managing to kill it, earning for himself the gratitude of the parish and for his heirs “his estate was enfranchised.. forever”.
Over the years the story has been toned down with the beast being subsequently described as a giant bat hence the epithet “Renwick bats” falling upon the descendents of the 18th century villagers.
It is these descendents who speak in hushed tones of a huge black, bat like flying figure that has been seen flying about the village on “certain evenings” and others who may not see it have sensed its evil presence as a cold chill passes over them and a faint shadow flickers across them.

 

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