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HANDSEL TREES

 

On the edge of Grim’s Ditch in Grovely Wood and surrounded by conifers, four ancient beech trees mark the final resting places of the Dutch Handsel sisters. Soon after their arrival in the area in 1737, an outbreak of smallpox claimed over 130 lives and, accused of witchcraft, the four sisters were taken into the woods, bludgeoned to death and buried in separate graves to prevent them conspiring any further. It is claimed that the trees grew on the unmarked graves to serve as a reminder to the locals of their terrible deed and to this day the sisters are still said to haunt the area; offerings adorn the largest tree and a shrine lies in the hollow in its base.

26 Jan 2014 - Website launch