Mudcat Café message #4076641 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #168780   Message #4076641
Posted By: GUEST,henryp
24-Oct-20 - 06:09 AM
Thread Name: Folklore: city that sank into the sea
Subject: RE: Folklore: city that sank into the sea
Many legends of bells under ground and under water are known in various parts of England. Where the churches are said to have been swallowed up either by earthquake or the ravages of the sea the old church-bells are believed still to ring. Oftentimes, on certain occasions, such as Christmas, people go forth and put their ears to the ground, in the expectation of catching the music of the mysterious chimes, deep, deep in the earth.

Thus, nearly Realeigh, in Nottinghamshire, there is a valley, reported to have been caused by an earthquake several hundred years ago, which swallowed up the whole village together with the church. Formerly it was customary for the people to assemble in this valley every Christmas Day to listen to the ringing of the bells of the church beneath them. This, it was positively stated, might be heard by placing the ear to the ground and harkening attentively. What, however, the village really heard was the ringing of the bells of a neighbouring church, the sound of which was communicated by the surface of the ground.

On the sands, near Blackpool, far out at sea, once stood the church and cemetery of Kilgrimal, long ago submerged. Wanderers traveling near this spot were said from time to time to have been terrified by the melancholy and dismal chimes of the bells pealing over the murmuring sea. At Crosmere, near Ellesmere, Shropshire, where there is one of a number of pretty lakes scattered throughout that district, there is a tradition of a chapel having formerly stood on the banks of the lake. According to a superstitious belief once prevalent, whenever the waters were ruffled by the wind the chapel bells might be heard ringing beneath the surface. There is a similar tradition associated with the Fishery Brown, near Kirkby Lonsdale. In this neighbourhood there is a sort of natural hollow scooped out, which the inhabitants show as the spot where in days gone by a church, pastor, and all the people in it, were swallowed up. Every Sunday morning, it is said, any one who doubts the truth of this tradition may put his ear to the ground and hear the bell ring for service.

In a little book, entitled “Christmas: Its History and Antiquity,” (1850) the writer says: “In Berkshire it is confidently asserted that if any one watches on Christmas Eve, he will hear subterranean bells. In the mining districts the workmen declare that at this sacred season high mass is performed with the greatest solemnity on that evening in the mine which contains the most valuable lode of ore, which is supernaturally lighted up with candles in the most brilliant manner, and the service is chanted by unseen choristers.” Cincinnati [OH] Enquirer 29 January 1881: p. 11 [The material in this article has been drawn from a variety of British antiquarian journals.]

One could compile a gazetteer of subterranean and subaqueous bells, although not all of them are heard on Christmas. Most can only be heard under certain circumstances or periodicity, like the bells of the sunken city of Ys, heard in calm weather, and at Romford, where the old church, dedicated to St. Andrew, was destroyed in the 15th century, but where, on St. Andrew’s Day, the church’s bells are still heard.