St Martin de la Bellouse dates from around 1225 with the centrally situated tower (similar to the one at the Forest Church), nave and chancel completed by 1250. The South porch was added around 1520 and until 1869, was the meeting place of the Douzaine. The church sits on an ancient holy site in attractive surroundings.

The church is well known for the female menhir stone figure (dating back to 2500 - 1800 BC) La Gran' Mere du Cimquiere which guards the entrance to the cemetery. In prehistoric times, the statue would have been idolised and in the 1700's it became the focus of witchcraft. Even in the 19th century this activity is thought to have continued and a church warden his reported to have split the stone, but locals later repaired it. Today some folk still place coins on her head or flowers around her neck for good luck. The Church has the only font in the island which dates from before the Reformation.

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Founded: c. 1225
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

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tanya allett (2 years ago)
Emily Barrasin (4 years ago)
Wonderfully welcoming church and enthusiastic rector in Rev Mike Keirle
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The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.

The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.

The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.

The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.

Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.

The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.