Lud’s Church: Lollards & the Green Chapel of Arthurian Legend

Lud's Church, a deep Millstone Grit chasm in the Staffordshire Peak District, an upland area of England, formed during the Namurian stage..(Image: August Schwerdfeger. Lud’s Church, a Lollard meeting place in Peakland)

In a Staffordshire woodland near the River Dane called Back Forest, west of Gradbach, a deep chasm in the millstone grit has become woven into the fabric of local folkore. Over the centuries this narrow gorge – penetrating 60 feet of bedrock – known as Lud’s Church has been associated with figures of popular legend, and linked to the persecuted Lollard movement, those Christian pre-Protestant followers of Roman Catholic dissident John Wycliffe.

Situated on the edge of the beautiful Peak District National Park three miles west of the main Leek to Buxton (A53) road, Lud’s Church (sometimes known as Ludchurch) is a haven for flora and fauna; a humid environment where dense mosses cling to its jagged cliffs and sunlight struggles to penetrate on even the warmest summer days.

Lud's Church has been linked to the persecuted 14th century religious movement the Lollards (followers of John Wycliffe) and could be named after Lollard worshipper Walter de Lud Auk..(Image: August Schwerdfeger. The chasm may be named after Walter de Lud Auk)

Carved from the rough carboniferous sandstone of Roaches Grit, which formed across the South West Peak during the Namurian stage, it’s unknown precisely how the chasm got its name, but Lud’s Church may have been named after Walter de Ludank (or Lud-Auk), a Lollard worshipper rumoured to have been captured there during a secret meeting.

According to Wikipedia: “A wooden ship’s figurehead from the ship Swythamley formerly stood in a high niche above the chasm, placed there by Philip Brocklehurst, then the landowner, around 1862. It was called ‘Lady Lud’ and was supposed to commemorate the death of the daughter of a Lollard preacher.”

Entrance to Lud's Church.

This account appears to be supported by the Guardian, which says the name may have come from the Celtic god Llud, but concedes that Walter de Lud Auk is a more likely candidate. According to the newspaper: “One day a raid took place during one of these services and Walter’s daughter, Alice, was accidentally shot.”

Local legend tells of Alice’s ghost haunting Lud’s Church, along with “a headless figure echoing the beheading ritual of Gawain and the Green Knight.” Whatever your personal beliefs, the Arthurian reference is notable for the chasm’s connection to the Green Chapel, where in the chivalric romance Sir Gawain of the Round Table faced the Green Knight one last time. Based on the anonymous author’s description, the Green Chapel is thought to be either Lud’s Church or nearby Nan Tor.

Steps leading out of Ludchurch.(Image: Neil Theasby. Steps leading out of Ludchurch)

But Sir Gawain and the Green Knight aren’t the only mythical characters linked to Lud’s Church. Robin Hood and Friar Tuck – whose names appear often in the folklore of the region – are rumoured to have used the chasm as a hide out. So too, supposedly, did “The Young Pretender” Bonnie Prince Charlie, Charles Edward Stuart of Jacobite fame.

But its Walter de Lud-Auk and the Lollards, the persecuted religious movement active from the mid-14th century until the Reformation, that Ludchurch is most commonly associated. Today, the deep gorge in the South West Peak is a popular tourist destination. Like many rock faces in Peakland, the so-called Green Chapel has proved popular with climbers. But nowadays the activity is discouraged in a bid to protect the fragile ecosystem within.

Lud's Church may also be rooted in paganism, taking its name from the Celtic god Llud. The chasm and Nan Tor have also been linked to the Green Chapel from the 14th century chivalric romance Gawain and the Green Knight..(Image: lankelsall1)

Read Next: The Eldon Hole: One of “Seven Wonders of the Peak”

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Ruined Windmills Near Alcantarilha Salt Marshes (Algarve)

Ruined windmills around the Alcantarilha salt marshes, Portugal.(Image: Kolforn, cc-sa-4.0. Ruined windmills around the Alcantarilha salt marshes)

In a world increasingly focused on renewable energy, where modern wind farms and turbines are rapidly appearing on the landscapes of many nations, there’s a certain irony to those broken down, abandoned windmills of old, as well as a gentle charm often absent from industrial ruins.

The derelict windmills and grain stores are near Armação de Pêra in the Algarve region of Portugal.(Images: Kolforn 1, 2). The derelict windmills are near Armação de Pêra in the Algarve region)

We’ve examined a series of abandoned mills, turbines and windpumps across the world in a previous feature (see here). The ruined windmills seen in this article, however, are all located around the village of Pêra, in Portugal’s picturesque Algarve region.

(Images: Kolforn 1, 2)

According to the photographer, the ruins are located east of the Alcantarilha salt marshes and close to the popular tourist destination of Armação de Pêra. But the serene countryside in which the crumbling windmills stand is a far cry from the bustling seaside resorts nearby.

(Images: Kolforn 1, 2)

Rich in vegetation, the verdant salt marshes are a haven for waterfowl and other wildlife. Dotted around and about, the forgotten ruins of abandoned industry seem to compliment the landscape rather than detract from it.

(Image: Kolforn)

Related: Defunct Delta Solar Project: Abandoned Solar Farm in the Utah Desert

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A “Hidden Pool” Near Creeton, Lincolnshire

Could this "hidden pool" near Creeton in Lincolnshire be a WW2 bomb crater?(Image: Bob Harvey. A “hidden pool” near Creeton in Lincolnshire)

Those familiar with Ordnance Survey maps will know that they are incredibly accurate, sometimes going as far as to detail a lone tree on the British landscape. So I took notice when I saw this photograph on the Geograph website, labelled “hidden pool”. The photographer’s caption reads: “Hidden among a small covert at the field’s junctions this little pool does not appear on the Ordnance Survey sheets.”

So what could it be? Perhaps nothing; just an oversized puddle in the trees near the Lincolnshire hamlet of Creeton. But its appearance got me thinking of an article we ran last month highlighting the World War Two bomb craters on the moors above Greenock, Scotland. At first glance, the farmland of rural Lincolnshire may not seem like the most likely target for German bombers. But, then again, Lincolnshire wasn’t known as “Bomber County” for nothing. As with other parts of eastern England, Lincolnshire and the surrounding area was home to dozens of operational airfields belonging to RAF Bomber Command.

A quick glance at the map reveals the remains of RAF North Witham several miles to the west. Nearby, down the A1 road and just over the Rutland boundary, is the former RAF Cottesmore, now a British Army base called Kendrew Barracks. So could the above image have a wartime connection? Or is it just … a “hidden pool”?

Read Next: 10 Abandoned Wartime Structures Built for the Defence of Britain

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A “Hidden Pool” Near Creeton, Lincolnshire

Could this "hidden pool" near Creeton in Lincolnshire be a WW2 bomb crater?(Image: Bob Harvey. A “hidden pool” near Creeton in Lincolnshire)

Those familiar with Ordnance Survey maps will know that they are incredibly accurate, sometimes going as far as to detail a lone tree on the British landscape. So I took notice when I saw this photograph on the Geograph website, labelled “hidden pool”. The photographer’s caption reads: “Hidden among a small covert at the field’s junctions this little pool does not appear on the Ordnance Survey sheets.”

So what could it be? Perhaps nothing; just an oversized puddle in the trees near the Lincolnshire hamlet of Creeton. But its appearance got me thinking of an article we ran last month highlighting the World War Two bomb craters on the moors above Greenock, Scotland. At first glance, the farmland of rural Lincolnshire may not seem like the most likely target for German bombers. But, then again, Lincolnshire wasn’t known as “Bomber County” for nothing. As with other parts of eastern England, Lincolnshire and the surrounding area was home to dozens of operational airfields belonging to RAF Bomber Command.

A quick glance at the map reveals the remains of RAF North Witham several miles to the west. Nearby, down the A1 road and just over the Rutland boundary, is the former RAF Cottesmore, now a British Army base called Kendrew Barracks. So could the above image have a wartime connection? Or is it just … a “hidden pool”?

Read Next: 10 Abandoned Wartime Structures Built for the Defence of Britain

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Sunny Acres: San Luis Obispo Orphanage Set for Adaptive Reuse

Sunny Acres orphanage opened in 1931 in San Luis Obispo, California.(Image: Sarmatae. Sunny Acres orphanage opened in 1931)

Abandoned buildings often give rise to colourful urban legends that blur fact and fiction. The derelict Sunny Acres orphanage in San Luis Obispo, California, which is currently under renovation, is no exception.

Elegant brickwork defined the San Luis Obispo building.(Image: Sarmatae. Elegant brickwork defined the San Luis Obispo building)

Known in some circles as Hells Acres and described as an abandoned insane asylum haunted by the ghosts of children and malevolent former employees, Sunny Acres opened in 1931, almost 90 years ago, and closed in the mid-1970s.

Sunny Acres orphanage was abandoned in the 1970s.(Image: Sarmatae. The orphanage was abandoned in the 1970s)

Strip away the dark folklore that swirls around it, and the building’s history is more prosaic. Sunny Acres was built as an orphanage and later served as the county’s juvenile detention center, reported The Tribune newspaper in San Luis Obispo. The building had been empty for a decade or more before falling victim to a fire in 1989.

Fire ripped through the derelict Sunny Acres in 1989.(Image: Sarmatae. Fire ripped through Sunny Acres in 1989)

The Tribune wrote: “Workers who enter are required to wear respirators. Chunks of floor, wall and ceiling are missing. What’s left between peeling flakes of paint is covered with graffiti. Gnarled metal bars dangle across hallways. Old cells are lit by rays of sunlight that pierce the holes of the boards covering the glassless windows.”

The former San Luis Obispo orphanage is now being converted into affordable housing.(Image: Sarmatae. The complex also served as a juvenile detention center)

After years of decay the 87-year-old Sunny Acres is poised for adaptive reuse. The abandoned orphanage is under renovation and is set to reopen in in 2019 as part of Bishop Street Studios, a project that aims “to provide affordable housing for adults who receive mental health services.”

The Sunny Acres complex also served as a juvenile detention center.(Image: Sarmatae. The former orphanage is now being converted into affordable housing)

Read Next: What’s the Story Behind California’s Mysterious Pirate Tower?

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“On This Site in 1897 Nothing Happened”: Another Monument to Nothing!

“On This Site in 1897 Nothing Happened” - another offbeat plaque to nothing, this time in Gowla, Galway, Ireland.(Image: Oxana Maher. “On This Site in 1897 Nothing Happened”)

A week ago we featured this curious plaque in Clintonville, a neighbourhood of Columbus, Ohio, which bore the intriguing inscription: “On This Site in 1897 Nothing Happened”. We also quoted the Mental Floss website, which explained that such plaques were not unusual, and that similar ones could be purchased online and dated back to the 1980s.

And here’s the proof (as if any were needed)! A similar plaque bearing the same inscription is pictured above in Gowla, Galway, Ireland. As photographer Oxana Maher adds in the image caption:

Monument to nothing, Recess

Erected by the locals just for the hell of it!

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“On This Site in 1897 Nothing Happened”: Another Monument to Nothing!

“On This Site in 1897 Nothing Happened” - another offbeat plaque to nothing, this time in Gowla, Galway, Ireland.(Image: Oxana Maher. “On This Site in 1897 Nothing Happened”)

A week ago we featured this curious plaque in Clintonville, a neighbourhood of Columbus, Ohio, which bore the intriguing inscription: “On This Site in 1897 Nothing Happened”. We also quoted the Mental Floss website, which explained that such plaques were not unusual, and that similar ones could be purchased online and dated back to the 1980s.

And here’s the proof (as if any were needed)! A similar plaque bearing the same inscription is pictured above in Gowla, Galway, Ireland. As photographer Oxana Maher adds in the image caption:

Monument to nothing, Recess

Erected by the locals just for the hell of it!

The post “On This Site in 1897 Nothing Happened”: Another Monument to Nothing! appeared first on Urban Ghosts Media.

The Abandoned Target Towers of Luce Bay, Scotland

Abandoned 1930s target bases on Luce Bay bombing range.(Image: James T M Towill. Abandoned 1930s target bases on Luce Bay bombing range)

It was once an important fishery, but in more recent times the wide sweep of Luce Bay – in Wigtownshire, Scotland – has been used as a bombing range by the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence operating from the former RAF West Freugh airfield nearby. Nowadays, the range is run by defence giant Qinetiq, which uses Luce Bay for the test and evaluation of bombs and air-to-surface missiles. But punctuating the sands at low tide are a series of unusual structures that echo an earlier period in the location’s military history.

Ruined concrete and metal target tower in Luce Bay.(Image: James T M Towill. Ruined concrete and metal target tower in Luce Bay)

A bombing range was established at Luce Bay during the 1930s to train RAF aircrew in the art of weapons delivery. The most notable structures on the range were two clusters of metal-covered concrete towers, three in each cluster, that formed a solid tripod base for a large triangular target. Eight decades after the Luce Bay range was established, these intriguing cone-like structures (pictured) continue to dominate the landscape.

The Luce Bay bombing range near MOD West Freugh is still in use, now operated by Qinetiq, but the 1930s target bases stand long disused.(Image: James T M Towill. The disused Luce Bay target bases date to c. 1937)

A.T. Murchie writes in The RAF In Galloway 1910-2000: “The two Luce Bay targets were erected in 1937 by the contractors who had constructed the airfield. They were situated at the shallow northern end of the bay, built on the sandy sea bed offshore, but above the low water mark.”

(Image: James T M Towill)

The author adds: “Considerable difficulty was found in ensuring the stability of the three conical supports required to carry each triangular target platform which had to be above sea level in all conditions. Eventually, foundations were taken to a depth of 30 feet, no easy task working between tides using the limited construction material then available.”

(Image: James T M Towill)

Though the Luce Bay bombing range is still used by Qinetiq, operating from what is now known as MOD West Freugh, the disused 1930s target towers have been abandoned for years. This series of photographs reveals their condition; lonely sentinels from a pre-war era when Britain’s very survival hung in the balance.

(Image: James T M Towill)

The Luce Bay bombing range was used by the Royal Air Force over the 60 year period from the 1930s to the 1990s. During that time, ordnance dropped from aircraft was reportedly retrieved by an old minesweeper based at Drummore on the Rhins of Galloway.

(Image: James T M Towill)

In the years since, the firing range has been operated by Qinetiq, part of the former Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA), on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence. Access to Luce Bay is restricted while the range is in use.

Related: Ashley Walk Bombing Range: Explore the Ruins of a Secret World War Two Test Site

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Vintage Austin Parcels Tractor Demonstrates Form & Function

A vintage Austin parcels tractor photographed at Central Railway Station in Sydney, Australia during the early 20th century.(Image: Photographic Collection. Austin parcels tractor at Central Railway Station in Sydney)

We’re often of looking at the past through rose tinted spectacles, and remembering days gone by from an objective standpoint can at times be a challenge. But when confronted with vintage machines like this one, it’s hard not to wonder whether the best days of design are long behind us. Despite its application in the relatively prosaic task of carting packages and other light freight around the Central Railway Station in Sydney, Australia, this Austin parcels tractor has a rugged elegance that exudes the importance of both form and function in early 20th century industrial design.

Read Next: The Short Life of the Abandoned Sydney Monorail

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Eltanin Antenna: From Alien Artefact to Carnivorous Sponge

The Eltanin Antenna turned out to be an unusual carnivorous sponge called Cladorhiza concrescens (or Chondrocladia concrescens).(Image: US Government. The Eltanin Antenna pictured in 1964)

In 1964, while photographing the deep seabed west of Cape Horn, the Antarctic oceanographic research ship USNS Eltanin stumbled across a bizarre object that would baffle the scientific community for years to come. Resembling some sort of man-made aerial, the object of unknown origin appeared to be anchored to the seabed in around 13,000 feet of water.

It wasn’t long before myriad theories were posited to explain the so-called Eltanin Antenna. Some suggested it had fallen off a ship, while others hypothesised that the mysterious object was some sort of top secret Soviet broadcasting device. 1964 was, of course, the height of the Cold War.

Other fringe proponents and conspiracy theorists, including retired New Zealand airline pilot Bruce Cathie and UFO proponent, suggested the Eltanin Antenna could be an extraterrestrial artefact. Treehugger writes that “The shape of the object and the angle of its spokes, [Cathie] said, fit precisely into a formula he believed extraterrestrials used to control humanity.” The website also quoted Cathie as saying:

“The nodal points of the two grids, when joined by series of small and great circles formed what I have loosely termed polar squares around the north and south geographic poles. It was when I carried out a geometric and mathematical analysis of these sections that I found a direct connection with light, gravity and mass equivalents in a harmonic sense.”

It wasn’t until many years after its discovery that the truth behind the Eltanin Antenna was finally revealed. A. F. Amos, an oceanographer who had been aboard the USNS Eltanin back in the ’60s, pointed researchers to a 1971 book called The Face of the Deep by Bruce C. Heezen and Charles D. Hollister.

1888 illustration of Cladorhiza concrescens sponge.(Image: Alexander Agassiz. The 1888 illustration of Cladorhiza concrescens)

It turned out the alien artefact was actually a carnivorous sponge called Cladorhiza concrescens (or Chondrocladia concrescens). Heezen and Hollister’s work included a drawing which originated in American scientist Alexander Agassiz’s 1888 book Three Cruises of the Blake (above). Agassiz described the deep water sponge as having “a long stem ending in ramifying roots, sunk deeply into the mud. The stem has nodes with four to six club-like appendages. They evidently cover like bushes extensive tracts of the bottom.”

Meanwhile, Bruce Heezen and Charles Hollister said that Cladorhiza concrescens “somewhat resembles a space-age microwave antenna”, reflecting how the “Eltanin Antenna” was mistaken for a man-made broadcasting device, if not an alien one. As Treehugger summed up: “It all goes to show that while the human imagination can invent new worlds full of strange, fascinating creatures–there’s no shortage of such things on this world as well.”

Read Next: 10 Enduring Cold War Mysteries & Conspiracy Theories

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