The Church Archiving and Transcription Society

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The Church Archiving and Transcription Society
by Lin Dale

Synopsis: When Mike and the rest of the CATS team descend on St Cuthbert's Church, little does he realise he's in for the the change of his life.

“I know that the bishop has told me about this,” said Simon Ormerod, the young Vicar of St Cuthbert’s, “but could you remind me what you are going to be doing here. You’re not something to do with the Autumn Festival, are you?”

“No, I’m afraid not,” Janice, our group leader said with a sympathetic smile. “We are the Church Archiving and Transcription Society, known as CATS. We’re all volunteers and retired, and we identify and document all the artefacts that a church has. We then load that information onto the web so that anyone wanting to locate an example of an object will know that your church has it. We’ll be visiting the church on a frequent basis, typically for about three months, although obviously that depends on the contents.”

She then introduced us and explained our expertise. “I specialise in pictures,” she said. “I have an Art History degree and pride myself that I have a fair knowledge of the subject. Carol,” she waved toward the plump, blonde woman, “also has an Art History degree and deals with pottery, sculptures, headstones and objects like that. Mike,” that was me, “specialises on the building itself and its history, whilst Nancy,” a dismissive wave towards the thin, older woman, “mops up everything else.”

“When you say you research the history,” the Vicar turned towards me, “how much detail do you go into?”

“It really depends upon what I can find out,” I said. “In some cases, there’s already a well-documented history of the church, but in others, especially the older ones such as this, it can be difficult to discover. I know that you have been recently appointed here, but are there other people such as a sexton who may know more of the history of the church.”

The Vicar shook his head. “I’m afraid the parish here is a bit rundown. I cover several churches including this one, and I’m afraid the last paid sexton was someone called Tom Badger, but he died a few years ago. We have a few volunteers who help out now and again, but when I need a bigger task doing, I have to bring in someone from another parish, or employ an agency.” He smiled at me. “I’m certainly looking for a part time sexton so if you fancy the job, let me know.”

I smiled back at him. “Thanks for the offer but I’m happy being an early retiree. But to get back to the archive we’ll produce, I’ll certainly describe the current building in reasonable detail. For example, I notice that the bell tower here seems very squat. That’s usually because the original intention was to build a much taller tower than was eventually built.”

“Why would that be?” The Vicar asked.

“Very often, it’s because they ran out of money,” I said. “But it could be other things, for example, the person in charge either dies or becomes ill and is replaced. The new person has different ideas. I’ll do some research and see if I can discover why. I’ll also check any other historic connection with the church which might be relevant. Anything you have on this, or any of the artifacts in your church, will be very helpful to draw up an accurate picture.”

“There are a few old wives’ tales which circulate about this church. I wouldn’t want those to be repeated.”

“What kind of stories are they?” I asked.

“Stupid things that you get with lots of churches. Ghosts, you know, things like that.”

I smiled at him. “I don’t think we’ve been to any church which hasn’t had its tale of ghosts in the churchyard. We certainly don’t publish any old tittle-tattle.”

He smiled back. “That’s good,” he said.

I silently noted to research stories of ghosts at St Cuthbert’s.


I got my chance a few hours later. The women usually brought sandwiches with them for lunch and ate them whilst they worked in the church. I maintained that it was part of my brief to get a feel for the church and the surrounding area by going to the local pub. This was absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I enjoyed drinking a few pints of real ale in a variety of pubs and then, pleasantly inebriated, getting a lift home with one of the other volunteers. If I’m honest, that was a major factor in my joining CATS in the first place.

Anyway, I walked across the village green to the pub, which was pretty quiet, apart from a few retired couples who were tucking into some decent looking (and smelling) pub grub. As I sipped my beer, I explained to the landlord what we were doing at the church and asked if he, or anyone else, knew much about the history of the place.

He chuckled. “I don’t, but you’ve come to the right place. That’s Jed Mason over there in the corner.” He yelled across the room. “Jed. This gentleman is interested in the history of the church. You know a bit about that, don’t you?”

Jed had been sitting on his own, guzzling the last dregs of his pint, and looked up at me with interest. “Arr,” he said, “I reckon I do.”

I asked him if he wanted another drink. “Tha’d be nice.”

I ordered his drink and a steak and ale pie for myself, and as the landlord drew his beer, he muttered, “Don’t believe everything old Jed tells you. Take it with a large pinch of salt.”

“Thanks,” I said and took Jed’s drink over to him and briefly explained my mission.

“Well, you’ve come to the right guy,” he said. “My ancestor was one of the original masons who built that church. That’s why my name’s Mason.”

“How long ago was that?”

“It was in Henry VIII’s time. He was the guy who caused all the rumpus, wasn’t he?”

I admitted that Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries had caused a ‘bit of a rumpus.’

“The church now called St Cuthbert’s,” he started, “was originally built for the Convent of the Virgin Mary which was on the land at the other side of the church. This pub was built to provide lodgings for all the masons and labourers on the building work.”

“It was built in 1932,” the landlord called across.

“I meant the original pub,” Jed shouted back at him. “The one that served proper ale rather than this muck.” It didn’t stop him taking a large draught from his glass.

“Anyway, the convent ignored Henry’s Act of Parliament for some time. Eventually, the soldiers came to enforce its closure. Evil bastards, they were.” Another sip of his drink. “They raped all the nuns and then slit their throats.”

I groaned. His tale may or may not have been based on hard facts, but there was no denying the evil acts perpetrated in the name of religion.

“Except,” he said, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, “there was one nun who was so incredibly beautiful that every soldier had to screw her before she was killed. Then the last bloke to rape her didn’t have the heart to kill her. When the soldiers left, the masons went across to the convent to bury the dead and found her still alive.”

“What was her name?” I asked.

He shook his head. “The nuns had taken a vow of silence. Even after she’d been raped, this nun said nothing. She didn’t even cry.”

“I don’t believe that,” the landlord called across. “I’ve never met a woman yet who won’t moan at the slightest excuse.”

“The masons never learnt her name,” Jed insisted, “so they called her after the name of the convent – the Virgin Mary – kind of ironic, if you see what I mean.”

I did. “Did she survive?”

“For a time. When all this happened, the church was nearing completion so they built a secret chamber where she could live, so that if the soldiers returned, she would be safe. A few months later, it became obvious that the soldiers had made her pregnant. By then, most of the masons had moved onto other work, but my ancestor and a few others had stayed. I think they were as much in love with her as the soldiers had been. Each offered to marry her, but she wouldn’t have it. She carried the baby to full term, and when she gave birth, she looked at the kid and thought she’d given birth to the devil. In horror, she threw herself and the baby from the top of the bell tower and they were both killed.”

“That’s interesting,” I said, suspending disbelief for the time being. “Why did she think she’d given birth to the devil?”

Jed shrugged. “I think the baby was black,” he said. “A black soldier may well have been brought back from the crusades, and his descendants incorporated into the King’s guard. If not that, by then, Brits were developing the slave trade in the newly discovered Americas and would be negotiating with people in West Africa who had captured others. But most Brits would have no conception of black children. If a black baby popped out of the womb, it would be a natural reaction to assume it was the devil.”

I pondered his words. The landlord may have written him off as a teller of tall tales, but there could be a considerable element of truth in what he said, even though it sent a shudder down the spine.

“Where are they buried?”

“Ha.” Jed looked pleased that I’d asked. “The baby’s body would have been buried wherever unsuccessfully born babies bodies were buried. There were plenty of those, then, and their graves were rarely marked. The Virgin Mary’ body was never found. It had disappeared. On certain nights, you can still see the Virgin Mary leap from the church tower to her death.”

“Have you seen it?”

He nodded. “Yepp. I saw her jump one evening after leaving here, but then she just disappeared. I raced over to the church but she wasn’t lying on the ground and when I went inside, she wasn’t anywhere there, either. It was definitely a ghost.”

“How many pints had you had?” the landlord asked, as he delivered my pie to the table.

“I’d had a few,” Jed said, “but I know what I saw.”

The landlord snorted as he picked up our empty glasses and went back to the bar. “Same again?” he asked.

I nodded. “Did you see exactly where her body fell?”

Jed shook his head. “No. She jumped over the far side of the tower. I saw her leap, but a person couldn’t have fallen that distance without serious injury. It must have been a ghost.”

The tale was probably totally fictitious, but it was a good story, and some elements might be true. I’d certainly be on the lookout for a priest hole.


In case you haven’t heard the term, a priest hole was built into a number of buildings, mainly houses, of that period to allow a Catholic priest to hide from the Protestant Government soldiers who were searching for them. You can still see a few in stately homes open to the public. But Jed had talked about a secret chamber rather than a priest hole. It suggested something very much larger than a tiny cavity where a priest might hide for a few hours. Given that the nun had been pregnant and gone to full term with the baby (if the story was true), then it really suggested something much larger than a tiny cavity.


The problem was, as I quickly discovered, that it was a very simply-built church with very few places where even a tiny priest hole could be housed. It was rectangular shape with internal buttresses. Whilst it was true that the buttresses were big enough to conceal a person, a careful inspection of the masonry revealed no break or crack around a hidden door. There was no crypt beneath the church, but at various times in the last half millennium, graves had been sunk in the floor. Clearly, in digging those out, the diggers may have come across a priest hole and kept quiet about it, but the gossip around most villages generally ensured that those kinds of incidents quickly became public knowledge, particularly by the descendants of one of the masons who built it.

At the west end of the church was the square tower containing the main entrance door. I’ve already mentioned that the tower was unusually squat and it had substantial corner buttresses so my guess was that the arrival of the soldiers put an abrupt end to it being built to its intended lofty height. Again, detailed inspection of the buttresses and the solid floor revealed no trace of a hidden doorway.

In the entrance vestibule, narrow wooden stairs gave access to a timber floor above for the bell ringers, the bells only being a few feet above their heads. From there, you could look up beyond the bells to the timber beams which crossed between the top of the buttresses and supported both the stone roof, and the bells beneath. A modern aluminium ladder stretched up to a hatch in the roof to give access and I climbed up and through the hatch onto the roof.

Outside, it was pretty miserable with a light drizzle, but it was easy to see there were no secret hiding chambers out there. There was a typical castellated parapet which hid the rather boring, gently-pitched stone roof. Leaves had collected over the drain cover so the water was filling the gutters to capacity and, I guessed, would pretty soon leak into the tower, so I took a minute to clean that out and watch the water drain away.

I also stared over the parapet across the village green to the pub. I experimented a little to try to find the spot where the ghost of the Virgin Mary had been standing when Jed had seen her throw herself from the tower. The most likely spot seemed to be right next to the hatch through which I had just emerged and I vaguely wondered whether the ‘ghost’ might have been simply leaping down the ladder, but that looked far too dangerous for me to try to copy. I only hoped the ghost was more waterproof than me, for I was feeling quite wet by then. Thankfully, I climbed back through the hatch, closing it after me, and then spent a minute inspecting the underside of the roof, searching for any hidden hidey holes. Needless to say, there weren’t any.

The missing hidey hole preoccupied my mind whenever I was in the church. Even though I’d searched the place several times, I still kept looking, until the Vicar saw me one afternoon.

“You’re obviously looking for the non-existent priest’s hole,” he smirked. “You shouldn’t listen to Jed’s old wife’s tales.”

“You haven’t found it then,” I said.

“Nor has the rest of the village,” he said. “In the short time I’ve been here, I must have seen dozens of people looking for it. Nobody has found anything yet.”

Reluctantly, I was coming to the conclusion that the Vicar was right.


All that time I spent looking for secret hiding places had delayed the work I should have been concentrating on – documenting the building and its known history, rather than unsubstantiated legends. The others had got on well with their jobs and were talking about producing their final report, whilst I had hardly started on mine, so I started travelling independently of the others, by bus, which meant I could spend longer there, choosing my own hours. I also stopped going to the pub at lunchtime.

My sudden spurt meant that I pretty well caught up with the others, and we set a target to get all our research completed and documented by the Friday of that week, giving us the weekend to tidy everything up and get collated together, before presenting it to the Vicar early the following week.

On that final Friday, it still took me longer than expected to complete all the detail, and the others left early, with that self-satisfied smirk which said that they had got their job done in a timely manner, whilst I had just slouched about. I thought, “Stuff them!”

I was just packing up for the last time, when a tremendous crash of thunder sounded overhead and the heavens opened up. There was no way I was going across the village green to the bus stop in that rain. I decided I would miss my intended bus and stay in the church until the rain abated.


It was a hell of a thunderstorm, and lasted for almost an hour. When the worst of the thunder and rain had abated, I could hear the water gushing down the pipes from the guttering and I had a sudden thought about the roof of the tower, whose drain had been blocked with leaves when I had gone up there, several weeks ago. Most of the Autumn had passed, since, and there were plenty of trees shedding their leaves in the vicinity to block the drain again. It was still raining hard enough for me not to venture towards the bus stop but still plenty of time before the next bus. I thought I’d do the decent thing and climb up to the tower roof and make certain it was cleared.

As before, the drain was blocked and the gutters were again full to overflowing. I climbed out onto the roof, shut the hatch so the rain didn’t fall inside and went over to clear the drain, which only took half a minute. As I stood up, a shaft of sunlight shot across the surface of the roof and I turned to see a superb sunset, whilst overhead, the rain still poured down on me. I was torn between standing for a few minutes in the rain and watching it, or returning inside. Just then a dollop of rain hit me in the eye and my mind was made up. I turned towards the hatch.

That’s when I noticed the roof slab which was immediately between the hatch and the corner of parapet. When I’d been up here before, the open roof hatch rested on top of that particular slab, but now the hatch was closed and with the sideways slanting sunshine, I could see that the slab was installed slightly differently to the others, with a gap along its lower edge. A gap which invited a hand to reach beneath and try to lift it.

I gripped the lower edge of the slab and pulled. The slab readily lifted. Any hope I might have temporarily entertained that I was about to reveal a priest hole which had lain hidden for five hundred years was immediately dashed as I saw a modern aluminium ladder disappearing down a hole. Someone else had been there in fairly recent times.

I lifted the slab a little more and could see a modern light switch. I reached out, flicked it on and the hole lit up so I could see – not a tiny priest’s hole – but a hole which descended for certainly the height of the tower, presumably hidden inside the corner buttress. In fact, I suspected it went straight down to basement level. There was only one way to find out. I gently rested a foot on a rung of the ladder and tested it was secure, and then I started to climb down, pulling the roof slab closed over my head.


On the way down the long ladder, I had plenty of time to ponder the situation. Firstly, I could well have discovered some routine maintenance access to a sewer or underground waterway. Such access may not generally be known about but there were certainly lots of examples around, if you knew where to look. Alternatively, it really could be access to the Virgin Mary’s hidden room, which others had discovered in recent times and kept quiet about. If the former, I could quietly depart the scene without major loss of face. On the other hand, this really could be the entrance to the Virgin Mary’s hidden chamber.

I reasoned that the masons would have initially built the church and made it functional before starting to build the tower. The proposed mighty tower would have had deep foundations and the basement area was probably planned as a storage area or even a crypt. When the King’s soldiers arrived to rape and kill the nuns, the masons ceased building the tower upwards, and instead focussed on a hiding place for the Virgin Mary. Whilst they could roof over the basement to create the room for her, the question was how to provide a hidden access to it which was unlikely to be found by any returning soldiers?

Their solution was to use one of the buttresses running up the internal corners of the tower. They had been built as stone wall shells, probably with crushed rock compacted inside. But of course, their massive strength was no longer required for this short tower. It would be relatively straightforward for them to open up a doorway in the basement and pull out all the crushed rock inside the buttress. A ladder inside the buttress would give access from the basement to the roof, its access normally hidden by the roof hatch hinged open over the top of it.

But then the Virgin Mary was discovered to be pregnant. Had she become trapped in the basement, too heavy to climb up the ladder inside the buttress? Or perhaps the masons might have provided some kind of hoist for her.

Whatever, clearly someone had discovered this access in recent times, and then used it to trick others into ‘seeing’ the ghost. If I was right, then perhaps I’d find some dummy in the chamber, dressed in a nun’s habit, which could be thrown over the edge of the tower in the sight of others, such as the impressionable Jed. It would then be quickly smuggled down here, whilst everyone searched for a real person.

I carried on climbing down until I reached the bottom.


As I had descended the long ladder, I passed several of the light bulbs which had failed, so periodically my journey was almost in darkness. As I reached the bottom, only the light bulb just inside the buttress was illuminated, leaving the room almost, but not quite, in darkness. One of my first jobs in exploring this hiding place, I realised, would be to buy some more light bulbs – a pretty trivial task compared to the work of most discoverer of antiquities.

In spite of the limited light, I could see a barrel roof over the square basement room. The barrel roof would provide a strong support for the floor above, giving no hollow indication of the room below. At the one side was a bed and, exactly as I predicted, some kind of tailor’s dummy was lying on it. As I approached in the gloom, I realised it was the dummy of a naked pregnant woman with large breasts and nipples, a hugely distended tummy with protruding belly button and wide hips. The face, I was pleased to see, had more the appearance of the girl next door – albeit, a young girl, perhaps fifteen or sixteen years old. Certainly, the kind of pregnant young woman who most men, including old farts like me, would fall head-over-heels in love with.

The rest of the room had a square wooden table with chair, there were some cupboards, a closet with garments hanging inside, a writing desk and bench-like affair with a round hole in it, covered by a flap, which I surmised was the 16th c equivalent of a toilet. There was also a modern, free-standing mirror in the one corner.

I took many photographs, using the flash on my phone, knowing that these first views, completely untarnished by myself, would be crucial when I presented it to the world. For I had no interest in fooling people by pretending to be a ghost. I wanted to show the world what I had found. After the first few pictures, I decided to move the dummy so I’d get photos without the modern additions. I’d expected it to be lightweight, with the large stomach being plastic skin filled with air, but in fact, it was a lot heavier than I expected. Obviously, not as heavy as a real pregnant woman, but certainly heavy enough to mean I had to heave to lift it up and move it into a corner. And as I looked at the face, I could see screwed-up newspaper inside the mouth and eyes.

How strange! I experimentally gave the arm a squeeze and it sounded exactly like you might expect a plastic bag containing rolled up newspaper to sound. But when I squeezed the breast and stomach, they felt firm, just as you might expect a – well, as you’d expect a pregnant woman’s breast or stomach to feel. Weird!

It was enough to pause my chronicling of the original room and instead turn my attention to the dummy. There was no way I was going to be able to pull out the newspaper through the eyes or mouth openings, so I turned the dummy over to examine the other important opening: the skin around her arse was very elastic, and I found I could shove my whole hand inside and pull out the rolled-up newspaper inside. I threw it into a tub, clearly there for that exact purpose. I continued pulling as much newspaper out of the dummy’s arse as I could. At first it was easy; later on, I had to shove in my arm up to my shoulder to reach up into the head, to the wrists and hands, and down to the ankles and feet.

Perhaps if someone had been with me at the time and had asked me what on earth I was doing, I’d have found it difficult to reply, but I suppose I really knew exactly where this was heading. Eventually, I had the realistic plastic skin of a heavily-pregnant woman. In the fairly recent past, someone had put on this plastic bodysuit and worn it. I wanted to do exactly the same!

Once the suit was empty of rolled-up newspaper, I considered how on earth I was going to get into it and quickly came to the conclusion that the arse was the only entry point. I stripped off my clothes until I was naked and tossed them onto the bed. Then, I sat on the toilet bench and pushed first one leg and then the other through the arse and down the legs of the suit. As I pushed my legs right down to the toes of the suit, I had to admit they looked pretty realistic. The question was, how did I proceed from here.

I thought the best way was to double myself right up to the point where I could fold my arms beneath my knees. Then I pulled the arse of the suit over my head and pushed my arms through as well. Rather than tearing the plastic, as I had feared, it stretched without problem and I could push my hands right down to the wrists of the suit until they were in the gloves at the end. Then it was a matter of pushing my head through the suit’s neck and locating the eyes, nose and mouth over the corresponding parts of my face.

After that, I had to do my best to pull the suit down the remaining part my body. It was quite a struggle although it helped a little that as I lifted my torso a little, as indeed, I had to in order to provide space for my new belly, the suit was forced down towards my bum. Eventually, I could sit upright and pull the skin right back around my anus. As I did so, I felt my genitals being squeezed in a most uncomfortable way, and certain parts of them were being forced up inside my body. Finally, I could stand up and do the final bit of straightening.

I stared into the mirror. Staring back at me was a very young, highly-pregnant naked woman.

“Yes!” I don’t know quite why I felt so elated and punched the air in the way I did. I was going to have to take it all off pretty promptly and get dressed if I was not to miss my bus. A sudden worry had me scurrying across to my phone to check the time. I had already missed the last bus!

On the other hand, I had discovered this wonderful hidden room dating back to the Middle Ages. In the entire history of CATS, no one had made such an exciting discovery and it was entirely down to me and my methods of investigation. I could afford to dwell a little here, enjoying the feelings of being this pregnant woman, modelled upon this nun from the Middle Ages who had been horribly raped and then committed suicide after giving birth to a ‘devil child’.

Because I really was enjoying it, I realised with a start. I had large breasts which wobbled and lurched with every movement, and this huge tummy just like a… Ouch! Somewhere inside my tummy, I felt the kick of a baby. I’d heard of these pregnancy simulators which have weights inside which suddenly give you a kick like that. How strange, I thought, that whoever had gone to the trouble of pretending to be a ghost had gone the extra mile and built in a proper pregnancy simulator.

But then, I thought, perhaps like me, they simply enjoyed the thrill of living as this nun had lived out her pregnancy, in this cosy room. One really could spend hours down here without any of the stresses and worries of the modern world.

I walked over to the closet and chose a simple white shift which I could pull over my head. It made me feel even more erotic than before, with the thin material emphasising rather than hiding my prominent nipples and breasts.

I spent a few minutes simply walking around the room, examining all the other clothes in the closet – mostly Mothercare maternity wear and then switched my attention to the desk. There was a diary in the drawer which I was convinced dated back to the time of the Virgin Mary.

Finding that piece of treasure brought me to my senses. I needed to revert to my role as a guardian of the past, rather than an abuser of it. This diary, like all the other artifacts in this room, needed carefully storing and protecting.

Still, I thought, it would be dark by now. Before I take off my bodysuit, it would be nice to climb to the top of the tower, as the Virgin Mary had presumably done every day. I walked over to the opening in the buttress and started to climb the ladder. That’s when I had my first unpleasant surprise. With the weight of my new breasts and stomach, I was incredibly heavy. The first few rungs were OK, but I thought there was no way I was going to be able to climb all the way up the tower with this extra weight.

I persevered for a few more rungs of the ladder, so I was climbing up beyond the doorway but with my enlarged size, I didn’t fit. I forced myself upwards a little, and found I was wedged inside the buttress, able to move neither up nor down. A bit of energetic wriggling eventually dislodged me and I landed in a heap, back on the floor of the room.

So, I reasoned, I was going to have to remove the bodysuit. I put my arms behind my back and fingered around my anus, looking to find the edge of the skin. I couldn’t locate it! I tried some more, even slipping a finger up my anus but still with no result.

“Shit!” I was in a mess. No one knew I was down here, and I suspected that even if I shouted at the top of my voice, no one would hear me. Especially, I reasoned, when the church was empty, as it was now. Rather than getting hysterical, I thought I had better rest for a little and then have another try at removing the suit. If the worst came to the worst, I would have to spend the night down here, as the Virgin Mary had done for nine months, and try to get help in the morning.

And, I reasoned as my eye alighted on the basic utensils, I could use a knife to cut myself out of the suit. But that really would be a dreadful solution.

There was a thin mattress on the wooden bench. I flicked off the lights and lay upon that, suddenly feeling quite tired and relaxed.


The problem with being in an underground room is that you have absolutely no sense of day or night. In fact, I had lost any sense of time itself. That’s why I was delighted when I heard a man call out, “Hello.”

I quickly sat up and made certain I was decent. Then I stood up and walked over to the dim glow of light at the bottom of buttress. I smiled at him. He grinned back at me in a way I found both reassuring and unnerving.

“Sister,” he said. “Were you asleep?”

I really wished people would understand that, having taken a vow of silence, I couldn’t reply to such trivia, or anything else for that matter. Still, I smiled at him again and dearly hoped that was sufficient to ensure he and his colleagues continued to help me. My ability to take their confessions also helped, I was certain.

“It’s time to take you up for your walk,” he said.

I inclined my head in acknowledgment and he reached forward to wrap the leather strap around my back and then held the two ends for me to buckle them together above my breasts.

I stepped through the doorway into the buttress and he slid the hook that was hanging there beneath the strap behind my back.

As my weight had increased and I started to need assistance climbing up the tower, the hook had been fastened at my front and the men on the roof had helped pull me up, a much more dignified method of assistance. But then my belly had reached the size where I was too big to fit inside the buttress as I climbed the ladder. The men had suggested that I turn around, facing away from the ladder so that my bulge would fit into the inside curve of the buttress. It meant, of course, that I couldn’t use the ladder at all and the men had to hoist my entire weight to the top of the tower.

Finally, as I’d grown even bigger, I discovered that being suspended from a point on the front of my chest meant my belly pushed out forwards, and was therefore being horribly rubbed against the quite rough interior wall of the buttress as I was hoisted up and down. That’s when they suggested moving the hook to the back of the strap so now, as I’m hoisted I more resemble a sack of potatoes. At least, it protects my belly from the worst of the rubbing, although my bottom does become sore.

The important point is that I am still managing to get some time walking in the open air at the top of the tower, albeit at the dead of night when I’m unlikely to be seen. At least the rain has stopped, now, and I can do my normal walk in the dry. Fourteen paces alongside the one parapet, turn right, fourteen paces, turn right, fourteen paces, turn right and another fourteen paces, before I about turn and do the whole thing in reverse. Over and over again. Tonight, I’ve decided I am going to walk five laps of the tower, which should keep me exercised for the day. It used to be more, but I become so tired as my belly gets bigger.

There are four men helping me today. Supposedly, they are all keeping watch for the soldiers returning, but for some reason I cannot understand, they seem to prefer to watch me, instead.

Afterwards, we had got into the routine of my returning to my cell to take the confessions of the men. It’s worth saying that I had been brought up from birth as an orphan in the convent and had spent my whole life there. Such an upbringing makes one very sheltered and unaware of the ways of the world especially of men.

For example, I was taken totally by surprise when the masons apologetically explained that when a priest took a confession from a man, he would suck the evil out of his body in the form of his seed. Apparently, when the priest swallowed the seed, his stomach destroyed the evil in it and purified it. With the murder of the local priest, they told me, they had no one to whom they could confess. I immediately gesticulated that I would be happy to fulfil the priest’s duty.

Even when I’d been so horribly raped, I hadn’t really seen what was going on. Initially, it had felt as though I was being pierced by a sword, but then I remembered St Agnes who turned the thrust of the angel’s sword into an ecstatic feeling, so I did the same. Afterwards, I decided to break my vow of silence to thank my violators for the treat they had given me, rather than cursing them as did the other Sisters who also broke their vows. As a result, none of the soldiers could draw their sword against me. For some reason, they had also been captivated by the size of my breasts which since I was twelve years old, have grown unpleasantly large, heavy and uncomfortable, with the other nuns suggesting they had been given me by the devil.

The first time I took the masons’ confessional, I had to try my hardest not to laugh at them when they lined up, all saying together, “Forgive us, Sister, for we have sinned.” Then they dropped their trousers around their ankles and their… well, their things were sticking out. I remember, it had taken me ages that first time to get the hang of sucking their seed. The masons were all very nice and understanding about it, saying there really was no hurry and I should take my time. Eventually, I managed to get one to deposit his seed in my mouth and I almost choked on it. The masons had explained that I must try my very hardest to swallow it, otherwise the evil would escape. I was pleased I managed to swallow every bit from every man. After that, it got much easier for me swallow the evil without problem.

So, it’s now become very much a routine. After finishing tonight’s walk, the masons lowered me back down to my cell and then climbed down themselves and lined up as usual. They go through their ritual, dropping their trousers, and I get down onto my knees in front of the first. As he starts to recite all the wicked things that he’s done that day, I lean forward and close my lips over his thing…


“Jesus Christ!” I sat up. It was pitch black, and I’d had a dream that I was about to suck off some bloke with a huge cock.

I got off the hard bed, completely disorientated, lumbering around looking for the light switch. I was in some terrible nightmare. Except that eventually, I find the doorway into the buttress and the light switch on the wall there, flick the switch and I can see around the dimly lit room again.

I was still in a white shift, with the body of a highly-pregnant woman. Except that I knew it was really a bodysuit I was wearing, which I’d been unable to get out of the evening before. Suddenly, I had a more pressing need. I pulled up the wooden flap over the toilet, squatted on it and let my bladder go.

It may be a different way to pee, but it’s very efficient as you don’t have to continually aim and there’s absolutely no accidental splashing. Afterwards, I sat there for a few minutes, recapping the events of the previous evening and then recalling my strange dream. Normally, I completely forget my dreams within a few minutes, but today, the more I thought about it, the more vividly I could recall it.

As I did so, the feeling permeated completely through my body: I had been living a few hours in the life of the Virgin Mary!

It was, of course, completely rubbish. With the incredibly strange set of events which had led up to my falling asleep, it was no wonder that my overactive mind had invented such tripe. And yet, the more I thought about it, the more vividly the memory returned.

I shook my head to clear it and felt my breasts shake in sympathy. There was no denying, when you have breasts this size, their weight, their size and their very behaviour influences every moment you make. I grinned. How wonderful! But now it was time to apply my mind to removing this bodysuit without damaging it, as I was determined I would be repeating these events in the future.

I was still seated on the toilet and after a few minutes thought, I spread my legs as wide as they would go and pushed my tummy down between them, so I was again bent double - not quite as much as I had been the previous evening when I had squeezed into the suit, but almost so. Now I reached both arms behind me to find my anus. It was strange, but whilst last night I’d hardly been able to feel a thing, this morning I could feel the edge of the plastic skin lying around my anus. It became simplicity itself to work a finger beneath the plastic and then to start stretching and pulling it away from my bum.

Within seconds, I had both hands inside the skin and was stretching it outwards. A minute later, I had stretched and pulled it until it was around my waist and then my chest Now I could reach over my shoulders and pull it over my head and my head was free once more. Few!

Ten minutes later, I was out of the skin and was getting dressed. A glance at my phone told me it was just turned seven am, and I wanted to be out of the church before anyone arrived. I vaguely remembered the Vicar saying he had a wedding this morning.

But I hesitated before climbing the ladder. Then I returned to the bodysuit where I had left it sprawled on the bed and I spent several minutes replacing the screwed up newspaper inside so it again formed the shape of the voluptuous woman, as when I had first seen it.

Only then, did I climb the ladder all the way up to the roof, switch off the lights and leave everything exactly as I had arrived. Five minutes later, I had climbed back to the entrance vestibule and five minutes after that, I was running across the village green to catch the bus which was just approaching.


“You’re one of those people doing the church archiving thing, aren’t you,” the tiny old woman said.

It was crowded on the bus, presumably with shop workers on their way to work, but I had managed to find a seat next to her. I admitted I was and introduced myself. She told me her name was Sophie, and that she lived in a house at the back of the church, just beyond the churchyard.

“Tom Badger, you know, the last sexton, used to board in my house.”

“Oh, right,” I said, my interest suddenly quickening. “How long was he with you?”

“Ooh,” she paused, considering. “It must have been over twenty years. He started boarding with me after he retired from his job in London and took on the job of sexton. He initially came here doing research on his ancestors, and heard Jed telling what I’d always thought was his old wives tale about the ghost of the Virgin Mary and got interested in it.”

“Sorry,” I said. “You said you’d always thought Jed was telling an old wives tale. Does that mean you no longer do?”

“Tom made me promise not to tell anyone as he’d get the sack if the story got round.”

“What story?”

“Well, sometimes Tom spent the night in the church and prayed for her. It allowed her spirit to wander. On those nights, I’d quite often see her walking around the top of the tower at night.”

“You used to see her…” I broke off as I realised my voice was rising. I continued in almost a whisper. “You saw the ghost of the Virgin Mary walking around the top of the tower?”

“Of course. She was walking last night, as well. I counted. Five trips around the tower in the one direction, five in the other.”

I gulped. “She was? You saw her?”

“Oh, yes. I don’t sleep much at nights, and I often look out for her. It’s good that your praying has brought her back again.”

“My praying!”

“Well, you must have prayed for her like old Tom used to. I think it’s good that she can roam again.”

“Right,” I said, my mind in a whirl. I hadn’t prayed since I left school and the semi-obligatory religious assemblies. “Does anyone else see her?”

“I think you have to be a true believer in Christ to see her. Most people nowadays aren’t and don’t see her. Now and again, I’d have a manfriend stay the night and we could see the church tower out of my bedroom window as we lay in bed. I’d point out the Virgin Mary walking round and round the top of the tower and he’d look at me all strange as though I was crazy. After a while, he stopped visiting me, thinking I was losing my marbles. I didn’t tell anyone after that.”

“But you’ve told me,” I pointed out.

She smiled. “I’ve still got all my marbles. You obviously spent all night in the church and the Virgin Mary walked last night. So how did you pray to bring her to life?”

“It’s better that no one knows,” I said, trying to cover my confusion.

“I understand,” she said. “The Church of England can get very uppity about that kind of thing. Presumably, you’ll be applying for the job as sexton?”

“I will?” I repeated, balancing the wonderful opportunities to repeat last night’s activities against the fame from publishing my discoveries. A huge smile spread across my face as I made up my mind. “Yes,” I said. “I will become sexton and the Virgin Mary will walk again.”

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joannebarbarella's picture

That's really some ghost story.

The Church Archiving...

I look forward to new stories from your imagination. As usual, this new story didn't disappoint. I look forward to more of your stories.