We all love a mystery, so here’s a wondrous tale of fiction set in Bude by the ‘Dartmoor Scribe’ Eden Philpotts (1862-1960) first published in Cornish Tales of Terror. It’s a macabre little tale with underlying humour and the logic of a mind possessed.
It is the tale of one John Noy from Holsworthy who came to Bude , keeper of a small shop and post office, so very respectable. Noy struggled with obsessive compulsive disorder, and he grew fixated by things, people and events. In his tale, events take a turn for the worse when he develops an intensely irrational dislike of a visiting artist and a railing ornament, leading to a grisly end.
He wrote about the rising area of Flexbury, where ‘new houses were springing up like mushrooms’. He observed that Bude was not like it was: now an enormous summer population pours upon us annually, and the golf-links swarm with men and women…and the wide sands of the shore are covered with children …like pink and white flower-petals blowing over the sand when the tide is out.
Noy was like a dog with a bone, mesmerised by the Asiatic chieftain figurehead of the wrecked Bencoolen, the whole idea of wrecks and graves of the dead. He said he only escaped by abandoning the Church of England joining the Primitive Wesleyans, though he described the Methodist Chapel at Flexbury as the most debased form of architecture ever sprung from a mean mind.
The actual victim in the tale is a large, bearded artist, said to lack talent, who would paint on Bude’s sands and for whom Noy developed a particular loathing.
Can anyone tell us what happened next, or can you wait for part 2?