Leyland’s Legendary creature.
Its not very often that I stray out of the three shires, Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire, however as I had to deliver a hog roast to a function in the town of Leyland in Lancashire I decided to kill two birds with one stone and look into the story surrounding St Andrews church which was built back in the twelfth century.
According to legend the small village of Whittle-le-Wood which can be found about four miles away from Leyland was in need of a church so the villagers decided to combine their resources and attempt to build one. The local Miller donated a piece of suitable ground while the Priest was elected to oversee the construction work. The first day came when construction of the church was due to start and the building stone was brought to the site, however on the second day when the builders arrived they immediately noticed that the building stone had mysteriously disappeared and although they searched all the locality they could not find it. It was then brought to their attention that the stone had been found four miles away in the town of Leyland, whereupon it was brought back to the church construction site. To avoid a repeat performance of the previous night two men were elected to guard the stone, however like many security guards the tedium got the best of them and they fell asleep. When they awoke they found the stone missing once more and like the previous day it was found once more in Leyland.
The next night it was decided that the Priest should accompany the guards as it was felt that he would be more vigilant, however he had to leave for some reason at midnight, and as soon as he had left one of the guards witnessed the strange sight of a huge black cat with enormous eyes and a barbed tail removing the stones and returning almost immediately to collect more of them.
The two guards watched the cat like creature as it went about its task of removing the stones until one of the guards gathered enough courage to try to stop the creature by hitting it over the head with a lump of wood, however before he could deal it another blow it turned upon him and launched an attack. When this happened the remaining guard fled to find the Priest, upon their return they found that the guard had been killed by the creature.
It was after these events had taken place that it was decided to build the church at the location where the creature had taken the stones to in the town of Leyland, and this where St Andrews church can now be seen and which is depicted in the photographs on this page.
An interesting feature which can be found on the church and which may help to validate the story is that when the stonemasons built the church they included a motif of a cat, if you ever get to visit the church it can be seen above the Louvre window which is located above the clock face, the cat is under the stone lip just below the top of the tower.
An interesting footnote to this story appeared recently in the Leyland Guardian concerning a creature which has been seen in Buckshaw village close to the town of Leyland, the story is as follows:
‘Beast of Buckshaw’ caught on film
Published on Wednesday 20 January 2010 14:34
// This is the savage beast blamed for mauling animals in and around Buckshaw Village.
Dubbed the Buckshaw Beast, it has been described as a mix between a wild boar and a ferocious wolf.
The Guardian has been sent photographs of a deer the creature savaged, but the images were too gruesome to publish.
Tony Kenvig, who lives on Bamber Avenue, says he caught sight of the beast as it rifled through his bins late one night.
He said: “All the rubbish was strewn over my garden. This happened on a few occasions and one night I heard snuffles and looked out of my window and saw some kind of hyena stood rigid on its back legs.”
He said incidents involving the wolf-like creature first began in early October last year.
Since then, residents of Buckshaw Village on social networking sites have been busy trying to establish what the animal is.
Shelley Levene, who lives on Oxford Mews, said: “I’ve seen it too. It’s not a dog.
“I have two Alsations, both ex-police dogs. I saw it going through my bins.
“I couldn’t understand why they weren’t barking, so I went down to investigate and they were shaking and cowering in their kennel.
“Just the scent of this thing must have been enough to spook them.
“I no longer walk the streets of Buckshaw alone at night anymore and would advise all other residents to start to be vigilant.
“This beast in dangerous.”
John Russell, who photographed the beast on Dawson Lane, said: “This is crazy. I can’t work out what it is.
“This was no boar. I saw it move and it had a feline movement. They say it’s to blame for the recent deer slayings.”
Chris Bailey, from Chipping Wild Boar Park, said it was possible a wild boar could display such behaviour – but it was very unlikely.
He said: “If they are really hungry they could eat a deer.
“There is lots of countryside around there that they could go into so it is possible. But I’m surprised. I have heard of cases like this before – but only when they are very hungry and looking for food.”
After examining the picture, Mr Bailey said the animal’s features did not appear to match those of a wild boar.
He said: “Unfortunately, the picture isn’t too clear, but from what we can see the nose seems shorter and the back legs are different. They look similar to that of a dog.”