The Devil comes to Marston Mortaine, Bedfordshire
The church at Marston Mortaine is unlike any other in Bedfordshire. The tower stands quite separate from the body of the church with a broad swathe of grass lying between the two.
There is, on occasion, a dark figure seen lurking near the tower which may, in part, explain the stories that have grown up around this curious construction. According to one story, the tower was originally built in conventional fashion, attached to the church. But then one day, many years ago, the Devil came to Marston Mortaine to take his revenge on the overly prayerful folk of the village. He grabbed the tower, of which the good Christian folk were so proud, and hefted it up on his back. At this point the vicar appeared, saw what the Devil was up to and fell to his knees in prayer. The tower instantly grew so heavy that the Devil was forced to drop it. He had carried the structure only a short distance, and so it remains where he let is fall.
So furious was the Devil that he was, quite literally, hopping mad with anger. He hopped first into the centre of the village, then hopped again to land beyond the village at a spot to this day known as Leapfield. His third hop took him to an ancient stone circle some distance away where three boys were playing leapfrog. This being the sabbath and frivolous games forbidden, the Devil claimed the boys as his own and carried them off to Hell.
Such legends are fanciful. The tower of Marston Mortaine was set separate from the church deliberately by its human builders. No doubt the tales of the visit by the Devil were invented to explain the odd position, but that does not explain the shadowy figure seen hereabouts on occasion. If it is not the Devil, then who is it?
from "Haunted Places of Beds & Bucks" by Rupert Matthews
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