Anyway, for most of my time there we lived in a valley which was overlooked by a small parish church. My parents still live there. Behind the church, right at the back of the graveyard (a graveyard I used to have to walk past in the dark with a sadistic little sister who thought it funny to say *boo*) is a tiny ruin. No-one is sure of its origins. It seems to be a viking relic, though it is believed that the vikings never quite made it as far as North Devon, especially our little out of the way village. The ruin really only consists of a few stones on top of some foundation stones, but it is discernibly a small house or hut for worship purposes and there are a few carved rune-like inscriptions worn to nothing over the one and a half thousand or so years that the stones have been there.
A couple of years ago, the vicar was pulling down some overgrown bramble bushes along the edge of the graveyard when his foot fell through a hole in the ground. He discovered a tiny vault underneath the ruined hut, which ran from the hut and along the hedge and a bit into our hilly garden. It was immaculate as it seemed to have been completely sealed for all those years, not even any spiders webs or dust. It is really just a tunnel, with a beautifully simple but clever vaulted ceiling, only high enough for a small child to stand in. It has since been sealed up again, to preserve it, with hundreds of visitors expected to visit it in the years to come, but there is a piece of reinforced glass over one portion of the vault, where its only piece of decoration is sited, an inscription of seven characters, of which no-one knows the meaning. They are reminiscent of both viking and celtic cultures and are finely carved into the Devon granite.
The vicar has written to several Scandinavian, Celtic and British historical societies with a photo of the inscription to see if they know what it might mean, but he is still waiting to hear back from any of them.