Godshill. Ghosts of the Isle of Wight, with Margo Williams.

Paranormalists wonder if All Saints church ghost is the disappointed spirit of Sir Richard Worsley. "Why so unhappy?" ask the unimpressed. God Himself came to Godshill and personally placed the church on this fairy-home hill.
Photo image of Church Hill, Godshill. Isle of Wight.
Church Hill, Godshill. Isle of Wight.

All Saints on God's Hill.

For many centuries the good people of Godshill have buried their dead in the hill at the heart of this village. Some informed their beloved deceased must wait awhile for Resurrection; others expected instant transportation into another heavenly realm.

The matter of what happens after death is the subject of conjecture. Since the mid 1800s Godshill's scientists have successfully challenged religious beliefs about spirit bodies and journeys into other space-time dimensions via mystical portals.

Godshill's resident scientists with equal assurance as All Saints' priest insist there is no afterlife. Only the empty nothingness of eternal ignorance. We know more now about how things are than ever before, thanks to technology. Much more than our naive superstitious distant Godshill parents who believed in ghosts and gods.

As a consequence congregation numbers decline in most churches as science's voice rises louder to dismiss such beliefs as superstitious. Church-goers have generated no data with which to respond, only faith in what the good priest of All Saints assures them - there is more to death, than death.

Science has the technology to analyse the data of everyone's everyday, determined to prove our world has no hidden dimensions, no invisible existences.

But now religious-minded villagers point to that data and rightly ask their scientist neighbours: "Are you sure about that?"

Godshill and the Worsleys

This iconic church's prominent position on the summit of a small hill has over the centuries attracted occasional disaster from above. Lightning bolts split the sky, then the tower causing mortar, stone and clock to crash to the ground.

On such occasion Godshill's residents wonder why God would destroy the church? For God himself put it there in the first place. An event commemorated in the legend of Godshill's magic moving stones.

Photo image of All Saints' church Godshill after lightning strike, 1904.
All Saints' Church Godshill after lightning strike, 1904.

All Saints' Church

All Saints Godshill dates to before the Norman Conquest of Britain, for it was one of those given by the invading Norman lords to the monastery of Lyre in France when they seized control of the Isle of Wight.

Most Haunted island

All Saints is untroubled now by falling tower for in recent times a lightning conductor was cemented to the roof. No longer can any Godshill resident point finger to sky assuming the lightning bolt a sign of Heaven's wrath upon the House of Worsley whose many members are buried here.

Generations of this unlucky family now eclipse the forgotten venerable tombs upon which they rest. Noble knights of the De Heynoe family in the north chancel, Lords of Stenbury and Whitwell, and the De Awlas whose whereabouts and names also are lost to memory.

Some say the ghost of All Saints is the 2nd Sir Richard Worsley searching for the memorial his wife should have given him but neglected so to do. Others say it is Sir Richard the 1st who destroyed Quarr Abbey and ordered the white-wash obliteration of Godshill church's most sacred decoration - the Lily Cross. Rare and strangely reminiscent of a fairy and a flower.

Photo images of All Saints' church monument to Sir Richard Worsley. And the 15th century lily Cross.
All Saints Church Godshill treasures. Left Sir Richard Worsley's tomb 'The Bath'. Right: the 15th century rediscovered "Lily Cross".

Appuldurcombe House Ghosts.

The Miracle-Made Church

Local legend offers an event horizon of the 600s for when God came to Godshill, His interest refreshed after St. Wilfrid and warlord Caedwalla's army brought Christianity to Britain's last pagan community - the Isle of Wight.

The story told of how the villagers agreed to build a church. Chose a site south of the hill, due to respect for the fairies that lived inside their old pagan burial ground. Laid out the stone, wood and tools ready for work next day; then went to bed.

Next morning the villagers found all those tools and building materials gone from the site, and relocated up on top of the hill. Moved as if by magic. Big magic. "How did that happen?" asked the villagers as they carried everything back to the chosen location.

Same thing happened next night.

Third night, so the story told, an eye-witness stayed awake to catch the pranksters, and instead witnessed miracle - saw the stones swaying and moving, jumping over obstacles; defying gravity and rumbling up the hill into position. The witness claimed invisible hands wielded mallets to hammer in the pegs, and tie marker cords.

"God did it," agreed the villagers of Godshill.

Photo image of Godshill village looking toward All Saints' church. Isle of Wight.
Godshill village. Isle of Wight.

No God. No Ghosts Says Science

No one since has seen anything like it, which is why most in the congregation accept God came to Godshill just that one time. But village scientists are sceptical.

Every Sunday the congregation gathers on the hill and listens interestedly to their priest's wise words on how things are in this world, and what they can expect on exit into the next.

Every day science talks louder of what we now know, thanks to technology. Big Bang creation and Natural Selection's refinement as a truer origin story for the Godshill community. There is no afterlife. No personality survival. the 'you-in-there' you call yourself is a neurological chemical-electrical avatar that fizzles out and is no more when its generator body stops functioning.

There is no such thing as a ghost in the body machine or a God in another dimension.

Godshill Fairies and the Tunnel of Light

Mythbusters suggest Godshill legend's reference to fairies residing in the hill is a fossilised fragment dating way back into prehistory. To a time when the community believed their beloved deceased lived on with supernatural beings in another dimension, transported via a mystical hole in the hill.

Fairies probably a safe metaphor since Godshill's Celtic and Roman residents believed in a multitude of goddesses and gods. Replaced later by belief in a single deity - God, whose own existence is now challenged by Godshill's scientific community.

But among All Saints' congregation some wonder if science's data generating is now unexpectedly supportive. Science has discovered most of the universe is invisible Dark Matter; and Black Holes are entirely different dimensions.

In Godshill's fabulous Griffin Inn the parish priest and congregation mingle sometimes with Sunday lunch scientists who discuss the latest equation-generated data on life, the universe and everything. "If you enter a Black Hole, an entirely new space-time opens up before you," is the astonishing conclusion overheard.

Other dimensions are a reality, so it seems.

And 'wormholes' too that connect different Black Hole dimensions. No one knows where and how many such portals are out there, or how many other alternative dimensions they open into.

Or what influence they have when we pass from this life.

Good and Bad Advice in a Crisis

"Stay away from the tunnel of light," is generally good advice to the living in every life and death situation. And maybe a clue about what happens to the dead.

Godshill's distant parents had no like-for-like tech but their extended community with incredible accuracy aligned giant stone monuments with celestial events. No one said God built Stonehenge. They believed in personality survival after death; accepted worm holes as portals and "Black Holes" as destinations. And that ghosts are people trapped between.

Like unlucky Sir Richard the Second in All Saints parish church, so paranormalists believe.

Thank you for your company on this short tour of Isle of Wight mysteries and haunting. If you would like to know more about Margo Williams' investigations in Godshill and other matters of heaven and hell, read this book. Now available from Amazon.

Image of Book Cover link to purchase Ghost Encounters Heaven and Hell
Now available from Amazon.
Useful Links

Godshill All Saints church

Griffin Inn