Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Beware of Apparitions - In Brighton's Spooky Twittens

When the lights goes out and all is quiet - don't linger in these little back lanes of Brighton - for there may be something else lurking - something sinister and very strange.

The layout of the lanes in Brighton's Old Town still survive in their original format from the eleventh century. Originally, they were the site of the little fishing settlement of Brighthelmstone. They were burned down by the French in 1514, but once was enough for all those who loved Brighton. So, when the French tried it again in 1545, the alarm was raised and plucky Englishmen from all surrounding areas descended on the lanes and fought off the foolhardy French. Today the lanes are an enchanting labyrinth of delightful shops, pubs and inns, bustling with Bohemian activity, and many with a spooky story to tell.
The Medieval Monk
A medieval monk is said to drift along Black Lion Lane, one of the Old Town's most interesting twittens, and disappear through an old arched stone wall. Some people believe the monk was bricked up inside as a punishment for having an affair with a young girl. It's also been said that this is unlikely because the wall is only 200 years old, so the medieval monk couldn't be bricked up in there. All the same, ghosts walk through walls and doors and appear to climb stairs that aren't there, so maybe he was bricked up in an even older wall that no longer exists, but was replaced some time later.
Dying for Love
Another account claims the ghost of a nun haunts the area. It's said that in the twelfth century, a priory stood here, St. Bartholomew's, and soldiers were ordered to guard the building to protect the nuns from the local ruffians. A nun and a soldier, who had been assigned to guard duty, fell in love and began an affair, and they decided to run away together. Unfortunately for them, they were captured by the young man's fellow soldiers and the soldier was executed.
The nun was bricked up alive in the wall and abandoned to starve to death, and it can be assumed this was carried out by holy orders. It was a usual practice to brick people up to avoid bloodshed which was against religious convictions. It's hard to imagine how it's less sinful to leave someone bricked up alive to suffocate slowly to death than to arrange a quick execution. It must have been little consolation to the poor, young woman that, as she suffered, the other nuns were praying for her soul.
The nun's ghost is also said to walk through the 200 year-old-wall in the photo, but again, as before, the wall may have replaced another wall considerably older, or it could have been a different wall in a different place and the route followed by the ghost has some other explanation.

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