Four sisters of the Handsel family arrived in Wilton in the early 1730s, but their timing was poor. In 1737 a small-pox outbreak killed 132 people in the area and the locals identified that witchcraft was to blame.
Their Danish origin and mistake of not being local was all that was needed to convict them of witchcraft and soliciting with the devil.
Dispensing mob justice, the sisters were taken to Grovely Wood, murdered by being bludgeoned over the head, and buried apart from each other so that they could not conspire against their murderers.
The story goes that the four gnarled beech trees mark the graves of these witches and are sites for devil worship.
Getting there, Location and Map
If you can make your way to Wilton along the A30, you will want to turn down the Water Ditchampon road towards the railway bridge. After the bridge turn immediately right down a road call The Hollows. Follow this road until the private road starts. You can ditch your car in one of the many lay-bys.
A short walk up the road and past the farm you should find yourselves at the woods if you keep to the right.
You will know that you are on the right path as you should encounter a Roman road. Now an avenue of trees.
There is a hollow at the back of the largest tree where people leave offerings and as our visit occurred shortly after Halloween it was completely undisturbed.
Brooches and trinkets adorn the tree. A creative chap managed to embedded £1 in loose change, some red gem shaped glass, and a anti-evil eye charm in the bark of the tree.
Wind chimes and charms hang from the many branches, swaying with the lightest of breezes.
That’s all for now, I will revisit this site later to investigate the rumours of a WW2 bunker (air-raid shelter), capture more of the Witches trees, and the colours of Winter.