Minister Church is the mother church of Boscastle and is dedicated to St Materiana and nestles among the trees of Minster Wood in the valley of the River Valency half-a-mile east of Boscastle.
Minster Church was damaged by the flood of August 2004 and in the following year archaeological work was done at the church to obtain a clearer idea of the history of the building. When the church was flooded it damaged the pews, the electric organ and a lot of the church.
Now days, alot of the graveyard is overgrown with only a small path that leads through the brambles to the woods.
On the boundary of church is a grave that belongs to Joan Wytte. Joan Wytte was a lady who put in jail for brawling and not for actually being a witch in 1813 in Bodmin Jail – She died at 38 years old of pneumonia.
She is locally known as the “fighting fairy” witch “Wytte Witch.”
She was well known throughout Cornwall as a clairvoyant, diviner and healer. As part of her healing routine- she used “clouties.”
As Joan got older, she became very ill-tempered as a result of an abscess tooth and was known to scream and act out in violence. She exhibited such unusual strength- it was suspected that she was in cahoots with the devil. She was eventually put in prison for brawling.
She was not buried right away- her bones were somehow taken and used for seances and pranks and later her skeleton remains hanged in the musuem for witchcraft in Boscastle for over 40 years.
The musuem started to encounter poltergeist activity and paranormal investigators advised the museum that they thought the activity was coming from where Joan’s skeleton was hanging. It was agreed that the musuem would pass Joan over to modern day witches for them to finally put her to rest. The decision was made that this would be completely private and would take place on Halloween. Where her grave would be was to remain a secret.
She was buried in 1998 – 185 years after her death with some tobacco, a clay pipe, a drop of brandy, special oils, and finally some magical herbs and incense. Joan had a peaceful burial on her journey to the Summerlands.
Obviously, over the years people have set out to find Joan’s Wyttes grave to pay their respects. As soon as I seen I was near the church I had to go to have a wander to see if I could find it.
Her gravestone reads ‘No longer Abused’ and she was abused in death and it is no wonder that the musuem recieved activity with countless visitors coming into the musuem probably insulting her and her way of life.
It is nice to see that she is finally in peace, in the beautiful woodlands just where she probably would have wanted to be.