St Helen's beach
1 2 3

Church Tower ruin at St Helens

The buttressed thirteenth century tower is all that remains of the old duver church of St Helens the remainder swept to sea as early as the 16th century. The church reported to be in a shameful state but little was done to halt its decline, it collapsed in November 1703 leaving just the tower which has since become a seamark.St Helens Church Tower ruin

The ill-fated church and tower have long been a place of legend. One of its priests 14th century monk Aymo brought shame on the church and nearby priory by worshipping the devil. Satanic rites were performed on the alter of the church and he led a coven of black witches who met there. Aymo defied excommunication and continued to preach in his deserted church the congregation long since fled believing the place to be cursed. This may explain why the church was allowed to fall to disrepair and wash out to sea.

In 1784 workmen from Portsmouth arrived to strengthen what was left of the tower and paint the seaward white. The foreman was astonished to find a little old fashioned gentleman in tight leather shorts and wool stockings asleep on top of the tower. He called his men to come take a look and the old man angry at being disturbed cursed the workmen. They would suffer the same fate as an earlier party of masons who originally built the tower.

Workmen thought this a big joke, but when the time came to return to the mainland they remembered his words and grew nervous, rightly so for after they set sail for Portsmouth in their boat they were never seen again.

This information was put in after local lads reported seeing a hooded figure drifiting towards the church tower one January night.

Thanks to Jacky Rolls for the information to this section.