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Marston Mortaine

The 14th century St Mary's church is unusual because it has a separate tower away from the main church. The tower was probably a means of refuge in Saxon times, either from flood or from attack.

The church has two Devil legends associated with it. The first suggests that the tower came to be detached from the church when the Devil tried to steal it. Its weight was too much for him to bear so he dropped it in its present position.

The second legend says that the Devil climbed to the top of the tower and leapt from the top of it. He landed 100 feet away in a field. From here he took a second great leap and landed on the spot of a pub long since demolished called the Leaps.

He then took a third leap across the road and landed next to a group of boys playing leapfrog. He joined them in their game and tricked them into jumping down a hole to his domain. They were never seen again.

A prehistoric stone called the Devil's stone stands in the area where this is supposed to have taken place. The story may relate to some kind of forgotten connection between the site of the church and the Devil stone.

Directions: Marston Mortaine is on a Minor road from the A421 from Bedford or Junction 13 of the M1.

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