The Lost Village of Kilgrimol might be fact, it might be fiction. It’s a local story of another sunken village, lost to the rising sea. This one is said to have been found off the coast of St Annes. We sent our Fylde contributor Sue Massey to start finding out what she could about the lost village of Kilgrimol…
The Lost Village of Kilgrimol
Ghostly inhabitants of the long-lost village of Kilgrimol wander in the dunes on moonless nights, and on New Year’s Eve the church bells toll hauntingly beneath the waves. Allegedly!
Jane Rabbit, publisher of Visit Fylde Coast, asked if I’d like to investigate the lost village of Kilgrimol. I had a dig around the world wide web to find a starting point for my quest. Considerable fascinating historical and archaeological research came to light.
Where do I start? Numerous bus routes run along Clifton Drive, passing Kilgrimol Gardens. There’s a clue, surely?
Could I find physical evidence of the remains of Kilgrimol Chapel and its cemetery that once stood at Cross Slack? Olden day maps show Cross Slack, a tiny hamlet of 4-5 houses, situated somewhere close to the 10th tee on the Old Links Golf Course. I peered through binoculars from the nature reserve. That’s about as close as I would get without trespassing or joining the golf club!
St Annes Nature Reserve
Could the nature reserve reveal any clues? The “Slack” part of Cross Slack means a boggy place, freshwater pool. From the Old Links Golf Course, across the railway line, there’s a pool and boggy area on the nature reserve. Is this the slack? Today, even though overgrown, it’s a popular watering hole for visiting herons, wildfowl and mammals.
This lovely haven for wildlife, situated between the sand dunes and railway line, is worth a visit any time of the year. With carpets of wild flowers and grasses, footpaths criss-crossing the humps and hollows, birds skulking in low-growing shrubs, and a regular kestrel hovering high above seeking a furry feast, there’s always something to see. Even Blackpool Tower!
I crossed Clifton Drive and headed for the beach. The dunes, vast expanse of sand, sea, and sky between St Annes Pier and Starr Gate offer a breath-taking panorama. The magnificent sand dune habitat supports a rich variety of plants and wildlife. The Irish Sea along this stretch is popular with kite-boarders, while the beach provides a wonderful gallop for horse-riders.
The lost settlement of Kilgrimol
What did I find on my travels? Sadly, there’s no physical evidence of Kilgrimol at Cross Slack, only facts and folklore. The tale that Kilgrimol Church was flooded and buried at sea is haunting and romantic. It’s likely that it became a victim of lack of parishioners and was buried in the wind-blown sands of time long ago, some time before the 14th Century.
Auld Lang Syne
I might well have a walk down on New Year’s Eve to listen to those tolling bells and check out the ghostly figures in the dunes.
With thanks to the following for insightful historical facts