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John Tregagle


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A Cornish lawyer and magistrate, John Tregagle (or Tregeagle), who died in 1655, was remembered in tradition as an utterly dishonest, unscrupulous man who had sold his soul to the Devil. Legend says his ghost was called up from the grave by one of the parties in a lawsuit, since he alone knew the truth of the disputed matter, but that it then proved hard to get rid of him. Various conjurers and parsons tried to lay him by setting him endless tasks: to empty the ‘bottomless’ Dozmary Pool with a cracked limpet shell, or weave ropes of sand in Gwenvor Cove, or sweep all sand away from Porthcurno Cove, while demons harassed him. He is still struggling with these tasks, and his howls of fury are heard in every gale.

Hunt, 1865: 131–45;B. C. Spooner, John Tregagle of Trevorder: Man and Ghost (1935);A. L. Rowse, History Today 15 (1965), 828–34.


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