Roche Church, Roche Rock, Cornwall
Sadly Roche Church, dedicated to St Gomonda, was locked when we went and there was no way of getting inside. Instead my friend and I decided to pray in the churchyard which was clearly an ancient 'lan' by its circular nature. It was peaceful and a green lung full of mature trees and birdsong. There's a wheel cross in the churchyard.
As we prayed I had a vision of many people coming along the path but they were dressed in historical clothes, the women in long skirts and not finery but working clothes. They were poor workers from mining families. The Holy Spirit began to speak to me simultaneously, 'There was revival here and the Spirit of revival remains on the land. Call it forth for an angel of revival is on assignment and has not left this church.' At that moment I see a whirling movement of fire dancing around the church and churchyard. A wind picks up in the trees as I'm seeing this in the Spirit.
The friend who was with me saw the Sword of the Lord in the sky above Roche and was led to Isaiah 25:7 'On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations.' There seems to be a gloom which blankets Roche, of worldliness left over from its mining past. However, it used to be a place of justice and purity. It was a place of refuge and a really holy place of God. The promise is that He wants to break off the gloom. So that's how we prayed. It felt a surprisingly hopeful encounter with God and a reminder that places which can seem the most barren often have God's attention because He's drawn to these places.
As we couldn't get into the church we headed for Roche Rock on the edge of the town, a mysterious place that could feature well in a gothic horror film! There's a ruined chapel perched high up on an outcrop of rock which rises ominously from the moorland. It's only accessed via a precarious iron ladder which I've not yet climbed. The views from the top must be spectacular because even from the base they are far reaching.
The myths surrounding Roche Rock are many but the ones which concern the Celtic past are the ones which interest me. The story goes that a father with leprosy isolated himself on the rock and was tended by his daughter St Gundred. Her well still exists beneath the rock but I couldn't find it, as the greenery was in full leaf in June when we visited. There is another St Gundred's well nearby which I will explore another time. The chapel itself is more recent, having been built in 1409. The hermitage has two floors with the upper floor serving as a chapel. The hermitage chapel postdates Gundred's legend and is dedicated to St Michael. It was possibly built as a resting place for pilgrims on their way to St Michael's Mount on the south coast. However, it was also believed to be a resting place for local witches and demons in medieval times. I tend towards the latter, as I certainly saw a black winged demon high up on the ruins. It made me glad I'd not ventured up the perilous ladders on this occasion. Whilst praying on the rock it was hard to discern any presence of God, just that of the dark side. Perhaps I will return on another occasion and try to locate the wells. This might be more fruitful, or it might not. Some places hold no residue of the previous Christian lives. Little can be accurately ascertained as to who Gundred, Gomonda was.