Clophill Church: A Guide to Hauntings and Myths

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Clophill Church in Bedfordshire, England, is notorious for its hauntings and folklore, says NICOLA CARPENTER  

Clophill Church

Clophill haunted church address:

St Mary’s Church, 91 High Street, Clophill, Bedford, MK45 4BJ

Clophill is a small village nestled in the Flit River Valley in Bedfordshire, first became infamous when James Hanraty chose to murder his victim Michael Gregsten near by in an A6 lay by named Deadman’s Hill.

Maybe it was this sudden connection with a violent death that brought about the desecration of the old abandoned church and its graveyard.

St Mary’s Church in Clophill is thought to be around 400 years old.  It was abandoned as a church in 1848, when it became too small to serve the village congregation and a new Victorian church was built in the centre of town.

There are several myths that surround St Mary’s Church Clophill.

Dark magic myths surrounds Clophill Church

It is generally believed to be a church of dark magic and orientated incorrectly.  In fact the church is orientated due east towards Jerusalem, as are many other churches in the British Isles.

Another myth is that the church is built on top of an ancient leaper colony where infected villages as well as those suffering from plague were left to die.  To date there has been no evidence found to support this.

St Mary’s Church first hit the headlines in the March of 1963.

Clophill Church is infamous for its rumours of hauntings and horror!
Clophill Church is infamous for its rumours of hauntings and horror!

During the night ‘satanic’ graffiti had been daubed on the church walls and  several graves had been damaged with the remains removed from the grave of the apothecary’s wife (some reports say daughter), Jenny Humberstone, who had died in 1770.

The bones were found to have been arranged on a make shift alter and the skull impaled on a metal spike.

The press at the time leapt on the supposed arrangement of the remains and stated that a dark mass, witchcraft or Satanic rituals had taken place in the church.

News report leads to damage at Clophill Church

The news coverage lead to more people visiting St Mary’s and further damage was done to the graves in the churchyard, including another attack on Jenny’s grave.

However as the bones had not been replaced, they found the coffin empty and proceeded to break it up and scatter it among the ruins.

Later Jenny’s remains were re-interred in her grave and it was decided to clear the site by removing all gravestones to the edge of the graveyard.

Clophill heats up on Midsummer’s Eve 1969

Everything died down until midsummer’s eve 1969 when again the church and graveyard were attacked and desecrated.

The significance of midsummer’s eve lead the press to believe the vandalism had been carried out by witches.

The vicar of the new church decided to keep watch over the graveyard, but when nothing happened over the next few nights he gave up.

It was then the vandals struck again.

This time several graves were disturbed but no remains had been removed.

Again things returned to normal for the residents of Church Path until 1975 when graves were again opened and bones randomly scattered across the church floor.

Much was made of the six year gap between the attacks, but since 1979 there has been no further accounts of grave desecration.

The ruins of St Mary’s Church Clophill are now the haunt of urban explorers, paranormal investigators and the odd teenager and long shall they remain to be so.

Talking Clophill Church’s history with Kevin Gates 2020

Filmmaker and researcher Kevin Gates
Filmmaker and researcher Kevin Gates

Spooky Isles has interviewed filmmaker Kevin Gates a number of times about his thoughts and theories about Clophill Church. Below is a recent video interview we did with him about his film.

For more creepy topics from Berkshire’s NICOLA CARPENTER, you can read her blog here.


  1. Interesting article. I’ve explored the events of 1963 to 1975 in some detail in a new book on the old church and spoke to a number of witnesses to occult goings on up there during this time. The rector, Lewis Barker had a torrid time during his spell in Clophill from 1962-69. The 1963 incident is quite well known, but the 1975 incident on Halloween included someone being shot at by the people up at the church during an alleged black mass. The police were well aware of what was going on that night as well. It’s a fascinating place.

  2. its also been going on in the 1980’s too,with some well connected buisiness and council people involved too.Yes the police were and are aware and turned a blind eye.

  3. In the late 1980’s I knew a man who was a friend of someone in a motorcycle club. I lived in Bedfordshire at the time and knew of Clophill but had not been there. He told me about the old church and about one night when the motorcycle gang had made their way up to the church, because it was known to be a spooky place and they thought it would be a laugh to hang out there. It was autumn/winter time and was dark outside, but they stayed outside the church messing about and having a laugh. At some point in the evening they saw a group of what looked like monks all dressed in black leave the church but then realised they were coming towards them quite fast. They started to get freaked out by this and even more so when they also then realised there were no feet and they were actually floating. Suffice to say, they left in a great hurry. I cannot say whether this story has any truth to it but thought it was quite an interesting tale and I have never forgotten it.

    • Ha ha. Reminds me of a story one of my friends retold after going there. One of them got split up from the rest of the group and said that he’d seen a hooded monk beckoning him towards the church with his boney finger. Another friend said he’d come across the ‘hooded monk’ and it was actually a pony, wondering around munching grass.

  4. Someone ‘fell’ from the tower after climbing up in the 80s i heard too.. MY other comment about going up in 2003 and smoking a joint in the middle of the church and not being scared was deleted?


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