This week myself and Simon Wilson of Spiritus Sancus headed to Shining Cliff Woods in the UK. This specific woodland area is so big that there is parts after several visits I still havent had chance to see. On my list for this visit though was to see the remains of an ancient Yew tree known as the Betty Kenny Tree.
Its history is one that had interested me for a long time and I wanted to go after having requests for me to visit to do a spirit box session here.
Betty Kenny’s real name was Kate Kenyon and she was married to Luke. Luke and Betty Kenny lived in Shining Cliff Woods as charcoal burners during the 17th and 18th centuries for over 50 years.
They came from Papplewick in Nottinghamshire each year to help with charcoal burning. Eventually they stayed on a permanent basis and brought up a family of eight children in a movable hut.
The yew tree became known as Betty Kenny’s Tree, because, as she worked, she laid her babies in a hollow in a bow of the yew tree and sang
“Rock-a-bye baby, in the tree top, when the wind blows, the cradle will rock, when the bough breaks the cradle will fall, and down will come cradle, and baby, and all”.
It is thought that one of Kate’s babies may have fallen from the tree resulting in their death and its reported that her baby is buried underneath the tree.
The two pictures below is that of Kate and Luke, these two was drawn by a artist who worked for the Hurt family. The Hurt family owned shining cliff woods at the time and had offered Kate and Luke for dinner one evening, they accepted and was asked if they could have a drawing of them made from the tree and how they lived. They accepted and one-off the paintings was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1814 and was hung in the dining room of Alderwasley Hall for many years. However, after the Hurts left Alderwasley in the 1930s, the painting was lost.
This third picture was drawn after close studying and this looks roughly how the hut would have looked.
After many years charcoal burning, they accumulated a sum of ten pounds. Sadly, a thief found the hut and broke into it, he apparently dragged them from their bed, and, after treated them very cruelly, robbed them. Luke is thought to have died soon afterwards.
The Wirksworth Parish Register records show that Luke Kenyon’s burial as the 5th of January 1814 and had died at the age of 96 years. The vicar noted that Luke had lived the most part of his time in huts in the woods and burned charcoal and his wife who was 94 years old had walked from Alderwasley for his funeral. It is believed that Betty lived on and danced at a party in the Hall, held to celebrate her 100th birthday.
Louis Hurt stated in 1909, in writing, that the tree was roughly about 2,000 years old and had been burnt, there is also other reports which suggest that the tree may have been burnt again dating to the 1930’s by a group of boys.
It isn’t easy to find at all, it is literally in the middle of the woods, where there is trees scattered everywhere. The ground is somewhat unusual and there is old boulders shattered around, so if you do try to visit during the late hours be careful.
We just happened to stumble across it, I had known from looking at pictures of it what I was looking for and Simon just happened to say to me ‘Look at this’, for me to say ‘that’s it’. It isn’t like the other trees around it and you can tell from what is left just how big this tree was.
We did a ITC session here which we did receive some interesting responses. While we was there we heard a gate bang, it was very late, so nobody should have been around but ourselves and from what we seen of the area there wasn’t a gate!
We also heard bangs from other areas close by to us and what sounded like footsteps at times.
I felt as though I had been touched and at 2.34 on the footage below you hear a ITC response of ‘movveeee’.
Simon found faces craved upon the tree and when I went to look I seen a symbol that was only visible in infrared light.
Since investigating we have asked numerous people what this symbol could be or mean and most have said it is a rune and that it could either mean to worship the god Saturn or to worship satan!
The most interesting part of this for me was as soon as we found this symbol the ITC response that came out was ‘PROVIDENCE’, now the word providence means the protective care of God or of nature as a spiritual power. How interesting after such a spiritual find!
Whether the symbols and the faces carved in are for good or bad content, the fact is rituals are going off here without a shadow of a doubt.
I have always known shining cliff woods to be a hotspot for witchcraft rituals, after hearing plenty of hear’say about it occurring at the abandoned tutor house located here, I have myself caught a group of lads acting very shady, jarring things within one of the abandoned cottages within another area of the woods. My husband had also found a ram which had been killed and carved in such a way that no animal would have been able to do it so neatly and this was situated near the fire pit areas and cave that can also be found within this woods. Trinkets and offerings can also be seen within this area too. I have never seen any carvings on the trees though however and I most certainly haven’t ever uncovered a hidden symbol. The fact it is hidden suggests to me that its been written on like that because whoever has done it doesn’t want others to know what is happening there.
Another point to mention here also is that myself and Simon had heard bangs within the area we was in, the ITC did give a ‘Bang’ response twice, which isn’t on this footage but is on footage I have recorded myself, when we had finished and had got back to the car, two other members of the team who was waiting in the car for us, told us while we was gone they had heard a massive bang on the boot of the car like someone had hit it, yet nobody was there!
It was a spooky and interesting investigation and an area we will be going back to im sure in the near future.
Please have a watch of our footage and let us no what you think!