Talland is a small village on Cornwall's East coast not
far from the fishing villages of Looe and Polperro. Once an area notorious
for smuggling, its worthy vicar, Parson Richard Dodge who served the
church between 1713 and 1747 acquired a reputation as a Ghost hunter and
Exorcist, almost certainly a convenient cover to disguise his smuggling
activities! Dodge claimed the power to drive away the Devil and spread the
story of having met The Devil himself driving a sable coach drawn by two
headless horses. He spoke of demons on nearby Bridle Lane, a path that
leads down to the beach, thereby ensuring that God-fearing folk would
steer clear of the area at night and not disturb his illegal trade!
He also let it be known that on his approach evil
spirits would cry out "Dodge is come! I must be gone!" and so his
reputation as the scourge of evil spread far and wide in the county.
Legend also has it that the original Church was to have been constructed
at nearby Pulpit and work had actually commenced, but each following day
the stones that had been laid had been mysteriously transported over to
the present site. Then, a chilling voice is said to have been heard,
commanding "if you would my wish fulfil build the church on Talland Hill".
The superstitious masons duly acquiesced, and there it stands to this day.