Clophill Church – Deadman’s Hill?

clophill church

Image by bouncer1788 via Flickr

The ruins of the church on Clophill are around 400 years old. St Mary’s church was abandoned in 1848 when a Victorian replacement was build in the centre of the nearby village.

Local folklore has some interesting tales as to why the church was left and a new one built.

One rumour suggests that the church was the wrong way around, facing away from God instead of towards God. It was said that this error had forced the church into becoming a holy building for Satan rather than God.

The church is believed to have been built on top of a leper hospital which was run by monks.

The church is sometimes described as being on Deadman’s Hill. This is not correct as Deadman’s Hill is by the A6 road rather than Clophill Village.

Some of the confusion of the church’s location relates to a horrible murder in 1961 when Michael Gregsten was killed at Deadman’s Hill. James Hanratty was found guilty of the murder and hanged. Many believe that Hanratty was innocent.

There have been reported incidents of satanic rituals at Clophill. In 1963 the grave of an apothecary’s wife was broken into, bones removed and placed in a ritual formation in what was once the nave of the church. Bones where again taken from the graveyard on the hill in 1969 and once again ritualistically arranged.

Hauntings

There a number of reported sightings associated with Clophill Church. Many visitors report a chilly and oppressive atmosphere at the church even during warm days.

Visitors report watching a faint light moving up the hill and towards the ruins of the church before vanishing.

The ghost of a monk has been sighted at Clophill Church but some paranormal investigators have also used projections of a robed monk to scare curious teenagers away from the runes.

In Pure Spirit

What do you think about investigators using the monk projection to keep local kids away from the hill? Have you been to the ruined church and experience the familiar chill?

113 comments
Lucky Lee
Lucky Lee

Wow, some people have fertile imaginations. I just love the way they totally ignore the truth and cling to the myths in a vain hope of attaching some creedence to their mundane lives. I'm not saying ghosts don't exist, I was supposed to have seen one when I was a wee kid (although I can't remember it), but for crying out loud....read Kicksan's post on page 1. I used to live close to Clophill for many years and we all knew the rumours to be a complete fabrication. Of course many here will debunk all I say because they know better :)

clive
clive

ive seen them..got the scars in my mind and pics to prove it ..for those who dont believe try it ..go there ..i wont ever again

dunc
dunc

i have just read the WIKIPEDIA ? on the 1963 incident at St.Mary`s church and what a load of old tosh that is .it states that the 2 boys were playing with the skull in the street , the skull never left the grounds of the church it was taken to a couple who walking up there who then called the vicar . the police were called ,If people what to write about the incident PLEASE get the facts right regards Dunc

Witchcraft Sam
Witchcraft Sam

Check out www.facebook.com/clophill as there's a found footage horror film coming out in 2013 based on the Clophill legend. Looks like it might be rather good!

wrestling with wain
wrestling with wain

i went up there today :). After visiting houghton house in Ampthill yesterday i decided to drive around bedfordshire checking out the old history of the place aswell as supposedly "haunted" area's i must have missed the turn in and ended up driving up what looked like the grassy path through some allotments (which i later found out to be the next turning after the real one heading from the A6 into Clophill) i was riding my sports bike and found it very uncomfortable driving down these paths lol, anyways as i kept to the path i saw this church from a fair distance away and mannaged to drive closer to it when i came to the end of this grassy path there was barbed wire around the allotments and fields and i could only turn left into this forresty area on my bike this looked quite difficult so i thought id take some photos of the church from where i was when i went to get my phone i looked up at the church and saw a white ball shape float from the bottom of the hill upwards towards the rear end of the church and into it and dissapear for a few seconds i was totally wierded out but i put it down to a bird or something and didnt think anything more of it, i then drove through the forrest area with great difficulty and found myself at the end of this forrest area and managed to get down on the path to the old church and got to the front gate i parked up and took a walk around the church and took some photos, this place seemed a little creapy but only because it was a ruin and all of the grafiti and markings on the walls ruining the place other than that i didnt see anything spooky or ghostly while visiting or did anything show up in my photos other than one photo i took from inside St. Mary's turned out totally white with no image but i put this down to either my camera messing up or a glare from the sun coming through a gap in the ruins to my camera lense, but im kinda wierded out now hearing about this myth about the white orb traveling up the hill towards the church strange :S, but other than that the old ruin didnt seem scary or demonic to me just ruined by the amount of grafiti and markings on the walls and youths going up there attempting satanic ritualls and all of these rhumors of the church. a shame really,

Huni Witch
Huni Witch

4 of us went to clophill tonight, it was raining a little not heavily, we walked the church and the perimiter, saw a Barn Owl, was wonderful to see. Took lots of photo`s, we have got some amazing orbs, felt the presence of a Lady, but not much else other than a warmth as we stood in the Church ruin itself, Bit dissapointed, really expexted more. Will try again when the weather is a little more Clement.

Kelli
Kelli

I remember Clophill church being a place all us teenagers would go, it;s an eeiry place and because of it being up a long narrow lane gives the feeling of not being able to turn back once heading up there. Was always too freaked out to go inside the building but think that is just all the stories that are out there about the place. I never experienced anything untoward while up there just a lingering quiet which make it even more scary.

Kevin
Kevin

Hey Bill, I'm just finishing a book on Clophill myself about the history of the church and the events that went on up there in 63 with witness interviews, the story of Lewis Barker the rector etc and the legacy that goes on up to present day. Would love to have a chat. Please drop me a line at hydrofilms@hotmail.com. Thanks, Kevin

Bill
Bill

I have 8 out of 9 chapters written on a book about Clophill. I have been writing it for years. It is about my experiences with visiting the church in the 60's. It challenges the reader to explain whether or not the bazaar things I experienced were man-made, or supernatual. If I ever finish the book, you get to decide for yourselves.

Thomas
Thomas

Spooky bloke hanging around reckoned he was old bill, but encouraged us 2 go up there ? I think he might be a satanist or something. He wasn't too bothered that I was a kid and it was midnight ! I think he was a weirdo

Lauren cole
Lauren cole

I only heard about clophil yesterday so me my boyfriend and my friend nicole decided to go and check this place out, there was 3 guys who were in the little car park bit and he showed us around they said they were suposed to stop people going in yet one guy offered to show us around which i thought was quite strange! He took us into the church and showed us around then as we started to walk out the church his mate who was in the car park spoke through to his walkie talkie and said "have you got them in the church yet" this really creeped me out and so we decided to go back to the car! we left and started driving down the little track when all of a sudden the whole of my windows steamed up for no reason then diapeared leaving a face! i thought i was seeing things and didnt say anything untill my friend then started screaming i honestly have no explaination for this and my boyfriend does not belive in this kind of stuff but also does not no how to explain the face!! Has anyone else had any simular experiences???

charli
charli

I'm 19 and hearing there is a scary church 10 miles from your house is a very interesting night !! A few friends and I decided to go up and check it out , I was very excited so I decided to take my camera and see if we could see any orbs or anything in the mist ! When we got to clophil , as soon as we got to the turning up the dirt track the car felt cold , I wasn't the only one who felt cold , maybe it was because we knew it was haunted so our mind playing tricks on us or maybe it was somthing else ! I had butterflies in my stomach and I was nervous but excited ! I took some pics in the car no orbs or anything .. We came to the church and it didn't really look that scary , I told jack ( the driver) to keep the lights on the car on . We had 1 torch between us and lewis ( a friend) had that . I took lots of pictures of the church but found nothing .. After about 10 mins of going inside the church around the church we saw nothing .. We all went over to the grave stones , iv herd some creepy things have been written on them but I forgot to read them. Lewis is a bit of a jack the lad so he decided to try and look cool shouting "come on then you ghosts" and other things , running about in circles being a prat ! We all got in the car , when we got in the car I took a picture of lewis and the orbs decided to appear .. I think we may have annoyed them . The more lewis acted like a pratt the bigger closer and whiter they got , after 1 picture my camera stopped working , this scared me so I shouted to lewis to get back in the car . He got back and we sped off ! When we got to the bottom and on the road my camera immediately started working . I have an album on my facebook if you want to see them serch for charli ' charles' fiume on there x

heidi
heidi

If anyone would like to re-tell their Clophill stories or knowledge of the place and would like to feature in a documentary, please can you contact me immediately by email. I would love to hear from local's!! Heidi.stephenson@study.beds.ac.uk Thanks.

Spookipedia
Spookipedia

Nice post. I live a few miles from Clophill and have grown up hearing these stories, it's a very creepy place. I've linked to you on www.spookipedia.co.uk

LeaH
LeaH

About 8 years ago, I went down there with a few mates. They locked me in the back of the car and made me sit in the middle so I couldn't escape n I had no choice but to go up there. Upon arriving, we drove up that little dirt track and we saw some of the people come out of their houses, walk halfway down their driveways and just stop and stare at us. They looked really odd and creepy and something really didn't feel right. At that point I wanted to turn round and go back. Then when we stopped outside the church, a couple of my friends got out of the car and walked closer to it. I stayed in the car and when I look out the window I saw a huge black creature glide right past my window, it must of been the size of a panther but it disappeared as quick as it came. At that point, I freaked out and said I wanted to go home NOW, and everyone came back to the car. However when we tried to start the car, it wouldn't start, no matter how many times we tried it. Then something started rocking the car quite violently and I ended up in tears. We were looking out the window but there was nothing there that could have appeared to be rocking the car from side to side. None of our phones would work either! Eventually one of the lads got out of the car and started walking back down the little dirt track to try and get help with his car, but he soon re-appeared saying there was nobody about for miles! So we tried again and the car still wouldn't start, so at this point, the lads got out and pushed the car down the little track and back out onto the road. Then, strangely enough, after we were away from the church grounds, the car started up first time and are phones were all working again. I'm sorry but that freaked me out a gooden and there is no way in hell I would EVER go back up there at night!!!! However, I have been there during the day and the atmosphere was completely different, so people who have only been there during the day cannot say there is nothing wrong with the place. You would need to visit there at night before you came to that conclusion. Also, many people I know who have been there have mentioned cars failing to start up in the church grouds, and lots of people have also mentioned their phones not working whilst they're there too!! Seems a bit too much to be a coinidence! There are definitely evil forces at work up there, and a word of advice, they are definitely forces not to be reckoned with!! Go at your own risk!!!

BedsLass
BedsLass

Hi everyone! I completely understand the interest in The Old Church in Clophill but to be honest it's not all that exciting! My mum was from Clophill and I went to the Old Church a lot as a child (you can do a nice walk around the village), the gravestones were moved by the council and i never saw anything up there in my 27 years! Black magic was done up there in the 60's but not anymore, my great grandparents are in the graveyard next door to be honest i find it disrespectful to anyone that has family up there that people still go there looking for action when at the end of the day it is a dis-used church!

Anisa Munt
Anisa Munt

It is seems like you know my mind! You probably know everything about this.

shelley
shelley

i went to clophill today it was very scary i heard a voice tell me to get out so we did on the way up my husband asked a lady in a shop just at the beginning of clophill were the ruin was she looked like she has been in this shop for years and though she said she didnt know were it was it was obvious she did oh ! anyway we found it in the end when we got there i heard a voice that wasnt human say get out so we did i got a feeling that we wasnt wanted as well though i have been able to see the other side since i was 5 this is the first time i have had a nasty feeling of dread

lizi
lizi

Ten years ago my friend and I visited the grounds to investigate the tower and graves during a cold autumn morning after a party heading back to London. We were definately on our toes and ready for something to happen. After an hour or so everything seemed peaceful, We checked out the tower and its satanic stuff, a bit boring really. The graves were stilted and overgrown. I felt sorry for the buried with all the defamatory stuff going on above them! We were still jittery and decided to settle our nerves by walking along the track towards the north of the church, just got passed the red post box when we turned to find a very odd couple greet us. They were villagers who lived beyond the church grounds. That was the way they pointed. They were dressed in 70s clothes not disco stuff but everyday clothes huge collars, brown nylon, and their hair was matching in 70 styles. It seemed as if we were going back in time. They had strange faces and talked very slowly. We made small talk for a few minutes but we didn't talk about the history of the place. We did not shake hands but my friend and I were a bit confused and startled really. We had decided to go back to the car before seeing them, yet as we turned back to see if what happened was real sure enough they were no where to be seen! We looked at each other agasp and walked or dare I say ran back to the car and just upon approaching the car a black cat passed infront of us!! Yikes!! I couldn't wait to get out of that place! We sped away and still share a laugh over this one.

Levyboy
Levyboy

This board is full of people who can't spell words. And for that reason, quite frankly, I don't believe them.

Jennifer stanley
Jennifer stanley

I lived in the village of Clophill from the age of 6 to the age of 20. I used to play up Clophill church, we climbed the tower and played in all the fields around it. We never saw anything abnormal! The hole in the tower was bloked up when I was about 16-18 and the pilars around the outside were boarded up to stop people climbing the ruins. My friend and I would sit in the windows for hours just chatting and we would go up there in the dark and lay in the grave yard to watch the stars. On the night of my 18th birthday I camped there in a tent with my now husband and another friend. Clophill church is not scary at all! It has been used for devil worship and the like in the past and when I was a young girl we would find sacrifised goats and the heads of toy dolls with burn marks on them. This was as scary as it got! but it was just the work of teenage cult members and nothing more. I wish the church could be cleaned of Graffitti so that it can be enjoyed by visitors. It is a special place and a beautiful place with a grave yard still used today. Treat it with the respect it deserves. I have many photo's of the church................not one has a ghostly face in it!.... not even an orb!

Bedfordshirelass
Bedfordshirelass

My mother was from Clophill and I have been up to that church loads. The graves were moved to the perimetre by the council in the 60's to stop people digging up bones to practice black magic. The back magic stories from the 60's are true, my mum and nan went up there the day after halloween after hearing rumours and saw burnt out candles and bones arranged. Freaky! Nowadays it's just a ruin where people go drink etc I don't believe any real black magic goes on up there, however at night it can be a bit spooky as it's very isolated.

darren
darren

dont like it up there - doesnt feel right

lizzie
lizzie

DONT GO!!!!!!!!! my friend has been there 3 times and has failed to go in the church becuase the first time she went she didnt even get out the car becuase her friend heard heavy breathing. the second time i went up there with her and we only walked up a little bit of the path before running back to the car and the third time we went up there we went half way up the path and heard really really heavy brething so we ran back to the car again. but the boy we was with met peopple who was already up there and went into the church with them and said he saw a black figure poking there head in and out of the window at the top so he went and stood under the window with the other people and the breathing got heaiver and faster and we were sitting in the car and rang him to come back because we was to scared. if you want a scary night out id advise you go there, and also the later it is the more haunted it is apparrently. we went around about 2am.

Chelsea and mates
Chelsea and mates

I went to Clophill church last night, and it was one of the scariest things in my life..! We walked up the long road and went up to the church.. when we got there it was absolutely freezing.. it didnt help that it was raining, but there was a definite temperature drop as soon as me and my mates went over the gate to the church. When we got there we all thought we could see a figure in the front window arch at the top of the tower.. but as we got closer it had gone. When walked over to the large back opening of the church and 3 of my mates went inside while 3 of us stayed outside.. One of my friends kept saying he could hear breathing in his ear, like something was standing behind him breathing on him, no one else could hear so we wern't sure whether to believe him or not. Then my 3 mates came out and we walked round to the front of the church. I took a couple of photos (none have anything in them) and then we stood and spoke for a minute. Next thing we hear is a VERY loud breathing/hissing noise coming from from inside the church which echoed all around.. we all ran and got the hell out of there. The strange thing was that out of the six of us that were there only 5 of us heard it, and the 5 of us that did have all done a weegie board before, we don't know if this has anything to do with it, but all i know is that i definitely will not be going there at night again!!

Spicegirl
Spicegirl

Why are people permitted to be so disrespectful to a place where people have been laid to rest? Would any of you who think it's fun to invade the place on Halloween like it if your relatives and friends were buried there? The place should be left in peace and only visited by people who are interested in its history or who are willing to show respect for a former place of worship and a burial ground.

Chris Inner Sanctum
Chris Inner Sanctum

A group of us went up there last night and bumped into another group of paranormal investigators. We've had a few sightings and gained lots of information from our investigations. Unfortunately the evening was spoilt by a group of youngsters who decided it would be fun to dance round us shouting abuse with their trousers pulled down exposing themselves! We did call the police and got them a severe talking to, but behaviour like that and in a churchyard too is just proof that people will do anything up there.

James
James

When I went there I saw there was somone who got hung in the tower my sister got smacked on the back on the head by somthing. That chur.ch is serously creepy

serena
serena

theres a red post box right after the enterence i love it there

tatty
tatty

I've been to clophill lots of times but not for about 15 years simply because it really isn't a nice place the first time we went we couldn't find the turning, its quite hard to miss as it looks like it could be someones drive, so we asked a local where the church was he said there isn't a church in clophill i can understand they get fed up of people asking but as soon as he said that i was convinced that everyone in clophill was a devil worshipper and covering it up lol anyway i can honestly say i have never seen a ghost there and im not someone that particularly believes in ghosts but it is a scary place and its a fact that there have been satanic rituals there there couldn't be devil worshippers there now as theres so many people about and police presence so whoever dug up graves back in the 60's and 70's have quite clearly moved somewhere else having said that i've felt the atmosphere there and one night while driving up that horrible old dirt path we saw two people walking along the side of it with their backs to us and wearing black hooded cloaks, yes i know it sounds like bullshit but i swear its true anyway as we got closer to them they turned round and they were two young girls they looked terrified as we drove towards them and their faces were pale white and sweaty my friend thought it was hilarious that he'd seen two wierdo's walking up the road and wanted to turn round and have another look at them when we got back there they were nowhere to be seen being a young girl myself at the time i cant see that any young girls would be walking up that path in the dark at that time of night but like i said i dont believe in ghosts so there must be a logical reason behind it and i get that anywhere in the dark at night is quite scary but not like that place the last time i went there we went over the road to some field with bushes all around it to see the deers in the dark all you could see was thousands of pairs of green eyes staring out the bushes at us sounds pretty scary but actually it was nice after being at clophill the place is disturbing

big chav
big chav

what a load of rubbish, dont strech the truth so much, it is spooky but so is my shed at 2 in the morning....

donna
donna

well, i have been to clophill today with my family and had a picnic by the ruin...it was very pretty and peaceful, i could have sat there all day, but my youngest daughter found it very desturbing and wanted to leave at the earliest oppertunity. Will definatly go back again, beautiful place..shame about the graffiti.

liz
liz

this is actually all aload of poo. ive lived in clophill for like 6 years and oftenly walk my dog up to the 'scary' church. its not haunted, i believe in ghosts and sporits. but Clophill is definately not haunted. people who visit the ruins, are often dissapointed. :) i plan on sleeping in the church one night this summer, to prove all of you guys wrong :). and also, for all the people that keep spelling it - clop hill. please type it correctly - clophill. thanksss ;) xxx

richie
richie

i used to go there when me and my mates had nuffing better to do, this was about 15 -16 years ago wen you could climbe the tower thu a window, its blocked off now. its a spirel stair case that gose up to open sky, pritty high to. we whent there at halloween one year. its was party time there must of bin 100 - 150 people turn up. but the strange thing was a van turned up just befor 12. the back doors opend and about 5 or 6 people in there 20s got out all dressed in black bomber jackets and skin tite jeasns wiv knee high d.ms on. thay also had 2 dobermans with them on short leads. i remember the ladys out the van were very sexy. thay never said anything to any1 and thay whent into the church.any1 that was init soon left when thees lot turnd up. it was prity obveus thay were devil worshipers. i dont care wot anybody says about clob hills history, that place is a magnet for devil worshipers and if its good enuff for them.......

Gatesy
Gatesy

If anyone is interested in recollecting their Clophill stories, I'm producing a feature length documentary on the history of old St Mary's church. Please drop me an email at hydrofilms@hotmail.com as we'd love to hear from local people who would like to share their experiences. Thanks. Kevin Gates

FrightNighty
FrightNighty

Went there years ago and can still remember the cold and ungodly place with its menacing forboding atmosphere and stench of partly unearthed human remains - as you can imagine I didn't stick around long, only enough to take a couple of photos. I happened upon the photos the other day and on close inspection I discovered that in the main window at the end of the church you can just make out a large pair of bollocks!

psymon
psymon

i went there yesterday and found it a most enjoyable and pleasent visit ,ghosts ? i dont think so ,orbs ? lol i was a grave digger and ive never seen a ghost in a cemetary ,now in my recent job i have experianced ghosts but they are in shop i deliever to in the dead of night ,oh and one when i was a teenager just about to get me leg over in a countryside car park :)

duncan
duncan

back in 1963 me and my friend Calvin went up to the church to have a look around , thats when we found a skull and some bones scattered about inside the ruins we ran and told a couple who were walking towards the church and they went for the vicar . he arrived with 3 policemen, they tried to blame me and Calvin but when we went to the disturbed grave it took the 5 men to move the lid of the tomb and said it could not have been moved by 2 little lads .I remember the name on the tomb it was Jenny Humberstone she was the wife of an Apothecary ,me an calvin were in the national papers and the vicar gave us a book each about the history of Bedfordshire ,Istill have the newspaper cuttings to this day Dunc.

steve g
steve g

During the 1970's I visited the old church a few times with friends - especially at night, hoping to see something strange. A friend who had lived close-by told me that locals believed that the americans working and living at the Chicksands USAF practiced black magic at the old church. All these years later, I now have learned that Chicksands was a surveillance centre claimed to be for the american government but in reality was to listen-in on important phone calls involving huge business deals that could benefit corporation-owning freemasons so that freemasonry could gain power in the world, through corporate wealth. Freemasons happen to be heavily into satanism. What a coincidence. I doubt however, that satanism was ever practiced at the old church. It's more likely that the old church was used as a decoy to where satanism really was being practiced - probably within the site of Chicksands. My recent post Copenhagen - Brutal danish police behave like agitants instead of police .wmv

maz
maz

Hi there I'm thinking of heading up there myself with a few friends soon, I'm quite susceptible to paranormal experiences just wondered if u could let me know a little more about ur time there? I'm very interested, n would like to try to communicate with the spirits there if i can. many thanks!

Kevin Gates
Kevin Gates

Hey Dunc, The wikipedia page was based on a chapter from a book called Raising the Devil, which sourced one of the local papers of the time, which was incorrect. Try telling that to one of the wikipedia nuts though :)

Louise
Louise

Chels you actually wrote what we went through that night! Scary stuff tbh.

Can't tell
Can't tell

I lived there to at town shott. Nice place my boys loved it. Kids friendly. The police block the drive way up to the church. As its to small for all the cars that go up. And the police love hiding in the bushes. And play games on the peeps that come to our villages. The village does get packed with cars. When people come from far. To see he church.

Richard
Richard

I would be up for that as well. You should get a group of people togeather and make a big thing of it.

ice13
ice13

can any one please tell me how to get here i know where clop hill is but not the church thanks

ice13
ice13

can any one please tell me how to get here i know where clop hill is but not the church thanks

Heidi
Heidi

Hi Duncan, I am currently planning to make a film on the history and ancient myths about the church on clophill. If you would be interested in speaking to me about any information you know of, please contact me. Heidi.stephenson@study.beds.ac.uk thanks, Heidi

Kevin Gates
Kevin Gates

Hi Duncan, would you be interested in talking about what happened for a TV documentary on the paranormal? If so, please contact me at hydrofilms@hotmail.com. Thanks, Kevin

cavalry chap
cavalry chap

Showing your ignorance about freemasonry

Mick
Mick

The church was used for occult practices in the 1970s. I know!!!!!!!!!!!

sean
sean

Go into clophill, there is a small dirt track where you can drive a car up half way down the high street (on the right if coming A6 direction) follow it up and park you car. And yeah, there is a HUGE pair of bollocks graffitied on the church

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Local folklore has some ideas to offer as to why the old church was abandoned.  Some say the church was built the wrong way around, facing away from God (how do they know which way God is looking?) thus making the church more suited to the devil instead.  Another rumour is the church was built on top of a leper hospital.  In reality, it would be more sensible to assume that the new church in Clophill was built because the villagers fancied a more convenient place of worship, what with the old church being a fair trot from the village and on top of a hill.  Sod that on a Sunday morning. [...]