The Goblin Builders of Rochdale
In the time of the Doomsday Book, Rochdale was known as Recedham, an area ruled by Gamel the Saxon Thane. As thanks for his good fortune in keeping his manor in the wake of the Norman Conquest, he decided to build a church dedicated to Saint Chad on the bank of the river Roach.
The materials for construction were brought in and the foundations laid, yet overnight the whole construction, foundations and all, were mysteriously moved to the summit of the hill on the opposite bank.
This seemingly impossible deed led Gamels vassals to believe that this was the work of the Old Gods that their forefathers had worshiped and whose altars had been thrown down with the spread of Christianity.
John de Spotland (a subordinate Lord) had the construction moved once again to the original site and called for a watch to be set on the site to capture the delinquents responsible. It took fifty stout men and much difficulty to bring the materials back down the hill and across the river.
Because of the fear of supernatural retribution only one person could be found to keep watch, a dumb boy by the name of Uctred, unable to speak, only his mother had the power of communicating with him.
The following morning the construction site had once again been moved to the hill top and Uctred had disappeared.
A vagabond was found who had spent the previous night on the hill claimed to have witnessed crowds of strange-looking men, laden with terrific burdens. They seemed to be eagerly and earnestly at work, under heavier loads than mortal man could sustain, like ants on a hillock these goblins quickly transported all the materials up the hill.This stranger then showed Gamel a strange silver ring he had found inscribed with runic writings.
At this point Uctred reappeared, having been found underneath a pile of building materials. Snatching the ring and placing it on his finger his form dilated and his whole figure expanded to almost gigantic proportions. With a wild unearthly shout this monsterous form ran from the Thane’s hall and no vestige remained apart from a whirlwind of dust, like a mist-wreath curling down the valley.
Pondering these events, it was decided that the church should be built on the site on which the foundations had been so marvellously conveyed and the parish church stands on that site to this day. One hundred and twenty-four steps were dug into the hillside to enable the good people to go to prayers.