Today, we take a slightly different direction with our ghost stories. Instead of ghostly people, we bring you the story of a ghostly building and land. A sort of Atlantis of the Coast.
Between Lytham and Blackpool as we know it today, there was a small settlement. It was known as Kilgrimol and it comprised of a chapel, cemetery. Whilst nothing remains of the chapel today, it is believed that it once stood in Cross Slack. This is situated on the St Annes and Blackpool boundary, close to the airport.
12th Century Kilgrimol
The Priory of Lytham was established between 1189 and 1194. Kilgrimol was used to determine the boundary for the purpose of the Priory.
At the time that the Freedom Charter for the Priory was drafted, the cemetery was included in the document, but the chapel itself wasn’t. This was probably because the chapel had already fallen into ruin by this time. The land for the Priory had been given to the Benedictine Monks fo Durham for the purpose of building a priory. The charter was drawn up by Richard Fitz Roger who had given the land.
The land for the priory was described as running from the ditch of the west side of the cemetary, westward as far as the sea and in to the east along the ‘cursed mere’ as far as Ballam.
16th Century Kilgrimol
Whilst Kilgrimol was clearly known as a site in the 12th century, by the 16th century, there was nothing left of Kilgrimol. The evidence for this is found in the notes surrounding a dispute over boundaries between the Lords of the Manor of Layton and Lytham Priory in the 1500s.
It was during the ensuing court case about the boundary dispute that one of the tenants from Layton explains that Kilgrimol had been flooded and washed into the sea. Despite this however, the judge presiding over the hearing decided to favour the Priory. Although the site of Kilgrimol was no more the cross that had been placed in Cross Slack was still there and this marked the boundary to the north of Lytham.
Whilst there is nothing that remains to this day of the chapel or the cemetery of Kilgrimol, the name of the site itself still remains. From 1875 to 1919, there was Kilgrimol School, Kilgrimol Girl Guides, the Kilgrimol Masonic Lodge and a 1960s bungalow estate called Kilgrimol Gardens which is located on the other side of the railway in Lytham.
Searching For Kilgrimol
If there is anything left of the chapel, it is unlikely that it could ever be found. With disputes and uncertainty about the whereabouts of the actual site of the chapel and cemetery, historians have a difficult task in trying to pinpoint exactly where it may be. If it hasn’t been washed into the sea, as it has been claimed, the ruins would no doubt now be buried beneath many feet of sand that has been deposited along the coast over the years that have passed.
The Legend that is Kilgrimol
With no physical evidence of the chapel or the cemetery, there is only written evidence to go on. This written evidence isn’t too helpful either as it is bound to contain a great amount of errors.
With so little to go on, it is not surprising that all that remains today is folklore and local stories.
Many locals believe that the legend now haunts the seas which buried the chapel. People claim to hear the church bell on New Year’s Eve, especially during storms. The sound of the bell is said to be heard out at sea, as though it is tolling beneath the waves.