Friday, July 12, 2013

A Ghostly Legend for you...

Torquay…Torre Abbey and The Spanish Barn
On the edge of the sea…
(A Ghostly legend for you, based on a true story…)
Torre Abbey

     Along the south England coast, beacons were lit to warn the inhabitants in the Channel of the threat of arriving Spanish Ships.
     In the 1580’s a Spaniard and his love (who disguised herself as a sailor to be with him on the ship) were on board the Nuestra Senora del Rosario. The ship was once part of the proud Spanish Armada.
     The Nuestra Senora del Rosario was captured by the English and brought to Torquay. All on board, numbering 397, became prisoners and were shuffled off to the Tithe Barn next to Torre Abbey.
     Torre Abbey, one of the first buildings in Torquay, had been a former monastery but at the present time it was the home of a wealthy English family, The Seymour’s. Predictably, before much time passed, the prisoners began to die of illness, disease, and hunger.  The disguised female lover was numbered among the dead.
The Spanish Barn
     Ever since that time the Tithe Barn has been known as the Spanish Barn because of the prisoners which were held there.  Soon, stories were being told of a ghostly female figure, described as a young Spanish girl, who on moonlit nights would search among the trees and bushes and shadows of the Abbey, trying to find the lover she lost.

Torquay is an English vacation spot on the coast of the Channel. There are stories of a few haunted happenings here and the story of the Spanish Barn is one of them.
Mystery Writer Agatha Christie had a winter home in Torquay, the book “The Man in the Brown Suit,” includes in the setting a place called ‘Hempsley Cavern’. This cavern is based on a real cavern in Torquay called ‘Kent’s Cavern’. Kent’s Cavern is a stone-age site where ancient caverns and passages can be seen. The caverns have been occupied for millennia by ancient native populations of the British Isles. The caverns are believed to be a Paleolithic site and have been declared as an ancient monument, they are of special scientific interest. In cavern #4 part of a human jaw bone was found in 1927, it is on display in the local museum. The jaw bone is believed to be one of the earliest specimens of Homo Sapiens ever discovered in North-Western Europe. There are engravings on stalagmite formations in the caverns from the 1500’s recording the names of persons who explored there. Flint tools have also been found, below the strata, from excavations which have taken place in the cave.
The 2011 Movie ‘The Watcher’s: The Greatest of These’ was supposedly filmed with Kent’s Cavern as the setting.
Torquay Seafront known as "The English Riviera"

(Adapted by Deborah Niven)
Inside view; Kent's Cavern

Winter home of mystery writer Agatha Christie

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