St Nicholas Church

Memories of a clairvoyant

By Penny Lodge

Here is a rather unusual, but completely true, story about an encounter I had at St Nicholas' Church in Brighton.

Tranquil place
In the past I had often wandered through the churchyard feeling unusually drawn to its tranquillity and peacefulness amidst the hustle and bustle of the busy Brighton city centre. One day I walked through the churchyard and sat on one of the old tombs. After sitting there for a few minutes I started to feel the presence of a man standing near to me. A clear image of his well-worn but charismatic face started to materialise in my mind. I then saw his rough working man's clothes and he told me that he liked to smoke but at the same time really appreciated nature and the outdoors.

A reality check
I shook my head and gave myself a quick reality check, but before I came back to earth I asked him to give me some evidence that he really existed - so that I would know that he wasn't just a figment of my imagination. He then proceeded to show a little grave to me. He showed me the grave was flat and hidden amongst some flowers. He then told me that in order to see it I would have to lean over some railings. All this was fine but "where was this grave?" I thought.

A little hidden grave
Immediately I felt him pulling me to the small back exit of the churchyard. I walked round to it and there I saw the railings. I was surprised because although I knew this exit existed I never normally used it and did not imagine that any graves existed behind the railings. When I got to the railings I peered over them and, sure enough, there was a little grave hidden amongst some flowers.

Connecting with the other side?
Up until this point I had only worked as a clairvoyant and not a medium, and did not feel that I was able to connect with people who had passed over. However, the feeling of this presence and the information I got from him sparked my curiosity - might I really be connecting with the other side? After this incident several other small but intriguing events happened that fuelled my curiosity and eventually, one day, I asked if he was buried her - where was his grave? Again, he answered me by guiding me to a specific grave standing directly behind the wall of the churchyard next to the primary school. I looked at the grave but realised that this was not going to tell me very much as I had no proof that this grave was his, there were hundreds of graves there and I could have been pulled to any one of them. However, I did remember the location of the grave.

Return to the churchyard
About one month later I went back into the churchyard, via the church street entrance, and sat on the same tomb that I had originally met him on. This time I asked for his name, because up until now all he had given me was the letter J. I remember sitting there thinking "please give me a name", and the only thing he given me was a small, red, bouncy ball. He then told me to leave the church by the Wykeham Terrace exit and on my way out I would see the ball he had described to me. As soon as I saw it I must look for information around it, as this would reveal his name.

Paranormal treasure hunt
By now I was getting excited, my very own paranormal treasure hunt - but I was still questioning it and was shocked when I walked out of the church yard to find the very same red ball he had shown me lying on the path. Immediately, I looked for some information close to it that might reveal his name. I didn't have to look hard. Directly above the ball was a little plaque that listed three church wardens names, one of them started with a J. This was it; this was his name! J Cordy. I then remembered the grave he had shown me a month or so earlier and suddenly realised that if the information on the grave matched the information on the little plaque I would actually be able to prove that he was really there, a man who had passed to the other side at least a hundred years ago, talking to me today.

I approached the grave preparing myself for a disappointment, as I knew really in the bottom of my heart that the chances of the names matching were extremely slim. There were hundreds of graves and just one plaque. It was nowhere near his grave, but nevertheless I had to find out for sure. Finally I got to the grave and read the following words "Here lies Catherine Cordy, wife of James Cordy, and also James Cordy".

That day I remember as being one of the most special days in my life.

Added to the site on 16-11-04 
This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page
In 1958 I visited St. Nicholas Church with my school as a part of a 'learning the hisory of Brighton' project. I remember being told that under the font was an ancient Saxon/Druid stone. We were also told that once a year, I believe it was May 7th, a ghostly figure of a woman appears up near the spire of the church. The story goes that she climbed to the spire to search the horizon for the ship carrying her true love back home. We were told that she saw the ship on fire in Shoreham harbour. She fainted and fell to her death. They say she haunts the spire area of the church and the graveyard. I never forgot this tale and for years later I would visit the church in May to try and see this lady but sadly I never did. The church has always had a strange feeling about it but this could be because it is on a direct leyline to the one in the Old Steine where the Celtic circle of old stones once were.
By Veronica Walton (22/03/2005)
I am hoping to make contact with a church secretary to ask for details of an ancestor, John Shelly, church sexton, living at 47 Church St at the time of his daughter Jane's marriage to Edward Edwards on 15 May 1869 at St Nicholas' Church.
By Mrs Anne Lawrence (02/08/2005)

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