Kitty Jay`s Grave and the Mystery of Fresh Flowers

For 200 years, fresh flowers on the top of Kitty Jay’s grave intrigued many locals of Dartmoor, Devon. Between Heatree Cross and Hound Tor lies the lonely burial place of Kitty.

Abandoned as a baby, Mary Jay arrived at the Wolborough Poor House at Newton Abbot in 1790. The surname Jay was assigned to her signifying she was the 10th girl in the orphanage. Jay was a slang term for prostitute so she was baptized with Christian name Mary.

jay's grave
Kitty ended her life through hanging (BiographyUK)

Mary stayed in the orphanage until Canna farms hired her as field laborer. She lived a life far from sufficient. Then, she got pregnant. Legends said a farmhand raped her and refused to take responsibility. Other stories held she fell in love with the farmer’s son. Her boyfriend’s family thrown her out from the farm. Since then, neighbors attached a nickname Kitty to her name. Kitty means “slut.” No one would employ her given her reputation.

With such misfortune, Mary ended her life through hanging in one of the local barns. But her tragedy continued as church refused to give her proper burial. Instead, she was buried at the crossroads of three parishes between Heatree Cross and Hound Tor. This was to ensure that her soul could not return.

jay's grave
Kitty haunts her own grave (Adkins History).

Since then, strange events took place at Jay’s Grave. Locals claimed a dark figure appeared kneeling and crying beside the lonely grave. The specter wore thick black cloak. People speculated that Kitty haunts her own grave. Some said it was the father of her unborn child.

Aside from the ghostly hauntings, fresh flowers mysteriously appears on the grave everyday regardless the season. Even in snow storm, the grave would have fresh flowers even though no footprints found in the snow surrounding Jay’s grave. Nobody knew who put it there.

Even today, there are reports of a figure floating creepily above Kitty Jay’s grave.


Source:  Legendary Dartmoor    Atlas Obscura

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