Alice Kyteler – The Witch Of Kilkenny

Alice Kyteler - The Witch Of Kilkenny

Support us on Patreon / Stephen and Yhana YouTube Channel

Become a Patron!

Alice Kyteler – The Witch Of Kilkenny

The 3rd August 2020 – 3rd August 2021 was Stephen and Yhana‘s first year on YouTube – To celebrate they are sharing one video a day across all of their favourite social media platforms – Facebook Page, Twitter and Website, as well as a daily shout out on their youtube community page. – So please check often incase you missed any of their videos during that first year.

They have also published their very first youtube almanac – Which was released 3rd august 2021.

The book will be available to buy via Amazon shortly – Although you can get a free signed copy by signing up and supporting their journey on Patreon

All Patreon‘s will get a regular mention on YouTube and on their channel publications – As your support is very much appreciated and will help to purchase filming equipment and trips to historical sites, so they can keep their films coming.

Stephen and Yhana - History and Adventure Hunters Almanac - OUT NOW
Stephen and Yhana – History and Adventure Hunters Almanac – OUT NOW

Alice Kyteler – The Witch Of Kilkenny

13 Terrifying True Stories For Halloween | Story Two | Alice Kyteler – The Witch Of Kilkenny

3rd of November 1324, The rain fell heavy across the medieval town of Kilkenny, Ireland. It was a cold autumn morning with high winds and yet the towns folk gathered in the main square, the noise of talk reverberated along the narrow cobbled muddied streets as they waited in awe for a spectacle that no one had ever seen.

A distant thud of a horse drawn cart caught the ears of the spectators and silence spread quickly.

“Move” said a soldier, as two others dragged a limp and bloodied woman from the cart. She could hardly stand, her face beaten and her hands were bloodied and shook violently.

She was dragged to a wooden pole and fastened tight with heavy rope, her dress torn from her back violently by a soldier holding a leather whip.

He stepped a meter or so away from her, then turned. Ran his hand along the whip and pulled it tort. With one sweeping motion he brought it down against the woman’s back, it hit so hard it sliced through her skin like a hot knife through butter. She screamed. Yet the whip came down again, and again and again.

Her name was Petronilla Meath, servant to Dame Alice Kyteler, Sorcerer, witch, of Kilkenny. The first recorded witch of Ireland and one of the first trials that would shake the very foundations of Europe and would begin a witch hunting craze that would last for more than 300 years.

Welcome to the second of our 13 terrifying stories for Halloween, today we are going to take a deep dive into the life of Dame Alice Kyteler, accused of witchcraft and sorcery. This is a true story, and makes up just one of the dark and twisted tales that exist in my family history.

Yhana and I would like to thank everyone for watching, every time someone views our videos you give us both encouragement to do what we love, let us know how we are doing, drop us a comment and for more upcoming episodes please subscribe to the channel. From Yhana and I, we hope you Enjoy the story.

In the year 1320, Pope John XXII listed witchcraft as a heresy in his bull Super illius specula – This Church doctrine wrote that Evil and Magic was real, the Pope himself had even claimed to have been attacked by at least three witches.

The Doctrine reached religious men right across Europe and one fell into the hands of Richard Ledrede, bishop of Ossory, it was 1324, he was a militant and religious man and was growing concerned that his diocese was becoming the seat of the devil and his worshippers

The central figure in this affair was Alice Kyteler, a wealthy Kilkenny Noble-woman who stood accused of witchcraft by her stepchildren. It was the first witchcraft trial to treat the accused as heretics and the first to accuse a woman of having acquired the power of sorcery through having sexual intercourse with a demon.

Alice Kyteler

The Kytelers were a family of Flemish merchants who had settled and grew prosperous in Kilkenny, probably in the area known as Flemingstown, sometime during the mid thirteenth century. In 1280 Alice Kyteler married her first husband William Outlaw, a wealthy Kilkenny merchant and moneylender, by whom she had a son, also called William,

Alice was fond of her first born son, and would favour him over all her other children, he would later become a business partner and grew rich very fast. He was declared an adult in 1303 and was at one point sovereign or mayor of Kilkenny. By 1302 William Outlaw senior had died and Alice was already preparing marriage with her second husband, Adam Ie Blund of Callan, another moneylender. Alice and Adam grew affluent and comfortable very quickly.

It was speculated at the time that William Outlaw senior had met his untimely death by means of murder. He was supposedly poisoned a plan thwart over by Alice and her second husband.

By 1307 Adam Ie Blund had died too, leading to more suspicion across the medieval town of Kilkenny.

The beneficiary from this death was William Outlaw Junior, All goods, chattels, jewels, were bestowed on William.

The recently deceased Adam Ie Blund had children from his first marriage and they didn’t receive a single penny from their father, jealousy and suspicion was beginning to grow.

By 1309 Alice now married her third husband, Richard de Valle, a wealthy Tipperary landowner and again her son William Outlaw benefited financially from the marriage. Some time before 1316 Richard de Valle had died too and Alice took legal proceedings against her stepson, also called Richard de Valle, for withholding her widow’s dower.

By 1324, when she was accused of witchcraft, Alice had acquired a fourth husband, the knight Sir John Ie Poer.

Jealous stepchildren

The wealth that Alice had accumulated at the expense of her stepchildren had made them angry and suspicious; they came to the conclusion that she was practising witchcraft and accused her to the ecclesiastical authorities of maleficium or witchcraft, a fairly commonplace accusation and one usually treated by English law as a petty criminal offence. Witchcraft was a form of magic and magic after all had always existed in one form or another. Popular medicine was often based on herbal preparations made by good witches.

Richard Ledrede, bishop of Ossory

Alice Kyteler’s stepchildren brought their complaint of witchcraft in 1324 to Richard Ledrede, bishop of Ossory, a particularly single-minded churchman eager to defend the liberties and jurisdictions of the Church. Since his arrival in Ireland in 1317 as a papal appointee, Ledrede had demonstrated a zeal for reform and strict adherence to the laws of the church. He clashed with the local Anglo-Irish and complained directly to the pope. Ledrede’s patron, Pope John XXII had a lively fear of sorcery and claimed too that his life was in danger from witchcraft,

Seven charges

Seven charges were brought against Alice Kyteler and her associates: that they were denying Christ and the church; that they cut up living animals and scattered the pieces at cross roads as offerings to a demon called the son of Art in return for his help; that they stole the keys of the church and held meetings there at night; that in the skull of a robber they placed the intestines and internal organs of cocks, worms, finger and toe nails cut from dead bodies, hairs from the buttocks and clothes from boys who had sadly died before being baptised; that, from this brew, they made potions to incite people to love, hate, kill and afflict Christians; that Alice herself had a certain demon as incubus by whom she permitted herself to be known carnally and that he appeared to her either as a cat, a black dog or as a black man.

From these demons she received her wealth; and that Alice had used sorcery to murder some of her husbands and to infatuate others, with the result that they gave all their possessions to her and her son, William Outlaw, thus impoverishing her stepchildren. Furthermore they claimed that Alice’s fourth husband, Sir John Ie Poer, was being poisoned. A description of him in 1324, as emaciated, with his finger nails fallen out and body hair removed-all consistent with arsenic poisoning, lends credence to the latter accusation.

Complex legal procedure

The Bishop began proceedings against Alice, and wrote to the Kings chancellor in Ireland requesting her arrest.

He was at first refused

But Bishop Lebrede did not stop and he summoned Alice to appear before him, but she had in the meantime fled to Dublin.

Ledrede followed the legal proceedings laid down by the chancellor to the last detail and excommunicated Alice, even though she had not been present. Ledrede cited William Outlaw and a day was appointed for Alice’s son to appear before the bishop. He was charged not only with heresy but also with harbouring and protecting heretics. William Outlaw had a powerful friend in Kilkenny, the seneschal Arnold Ie Poer. The seneschal was the representative of the lord of the liberty and therefore its chief judge and official. The seneschal, in order to block Ledrede, arrested and imprisoned him for seventeen days, until the day appointed for William to appear in the bishop’s court had passed. This was a dangerous move.

Diocese under interdict

While in prison Ledrede placed his diocese under interdict. No baptisms, marriages or burials could take place in the diocese until the interdict had been lifted. At a time when an absolute belief in the existence of hell existed, as it most certainly did in the middle ages, such an interdict was most grave. The bishop also gave instructions for the Host to be brought to him, indicating that the body of Christ was imprisoned. The bishop proceeded to hold virtual court in the prison and the clergy flocked to visit him.

The Kyteler’s must have been a powerful, rich and persuasive family because While Ledrede was imprisoned, the seneschal sent a crier to every market village to see if anyone wanted to lay complaints against the bishop or his household. William Outlaw, hoping to find evidence against him, went to the archives of the chancery of the liberty of Kilkenny and found there an old accusation against the bishop which had been canceled and quashed. William had it written out again and he then rubbed on the writing with his shoes to age it before presenting it to the seneschal who then attempted to force the bishop to answer the charges listed in it in his secular court. Ledrede refused saying he could only answer on temporal matters before the king of England and, moreover, he was not bound to answer charges before men who had been excommunicated. When eventually Arnold Ie Poer sent his uncle, the bishop of Leighlin, and the sheriff to release Ledrede, he would not leave quietly stating, ‘It will not do for a bishop imprisoned for his faith in Christ to walk out of this prison as if he were a thief or murderer’. He sent for his vestments and eventually left the prison in full regalia accompanied in procession by clergy. After his release from prison, Ledrede again cited William Outlaw and his mother to appear before him but before the day appointed a sergeant arrived with a royal writ requiring the bishop to appear in Dublin before the justiciar of Ireland to explain why he had placed an interdict on his diocese and to answer complaints made by Arnold Ie Poer against him. Ledrede sent a proctor on his behalf explaining that he dare not travel to Dublin as he would have to pass through Arnold Ie Poer’s lands. His excuse was not accepted and his ecclesiastical superior, the vicar of the archbishop of Dublin, lifted the interdict.

Flight of Alice Kyteler

Despite Ie Poer’s plea, it was inevitable that the case would swing in Ledrede’s favour. Insults and attacks on the church and its bishops could not be lightly tolerated and he was allowed to pursue his case in Kilkenny. Alice Kyteler, sensing that public opinion was gathering against her, fled from Dublin and was never heard of again. She probably fled to England or Flanders. Her less wealthy associates were now imprisoned in Kilkenny and the bishop examined them personally using the inquisitorial procedure allowed by the papal decree. They were tortured, often for days on end,

the accused.

confessed.

Meanwhile the Dublin officials had arrived in Kilkenny. The chancellor stayed as a guest in William Outlaw’s house where he and the treasurer Walter de Islip, held banquets: Here Ledrede formally accused William Outlaw of heresy and harbouring heretics. William confessed and submitted himself on bended knee to the bishop and was imprisoned in Kilkenny castle. His very influential friends forced Ledrede to commute the sentence to a penance and release him. William had to hear three masses every day for one year, give food to the poor and undertake to cover the roof of St Canice’s cathedral with lead. Hearing that William was not carrying out his penance, Ledrede imprisoned him once again.

On that same day, Petronilla de Meath, the maidservant of Alice Kyteler, was taken to the town square, The rain fell heavy across the medieval town of Kilkenny, Ireland. It was a cold autumn morning with high winds and yet the towns folk gathered in the main square, the noise of talk reverberated along the narrow cobbled muddied streets as they waited in awe for a spectacle that no one had ever seen.

A distant thud of a horse drawn cart caught the ears of the spectators and silence spread quickly.

“Move” said an English soldier, as two others dragged a limp and bloodied woman from the cart. She could hardly stand, her face beaten and her hands were bloodied and shook violently.

She was dragged to a wooden pole and fastened tight with heavy rope, her dress torn from her back violently by a soldier holding a leather whip.

He stepped a meter or so away from her, then turned. Ran his hand along the whip and pulled it tort. With one sweeping motion he brought it down against the woman’s back, it hit so hard it sliced through her skin like a hot knife through butter. She screamed. Yet the whip came down again, and again and again.

She had been whipped six times on the order of the bishop. The use of torture to extract confessions was legal according to church law but not according to secular law. Ledrede never explained why she alone suffered the full punishment ‘ while the other accused were released on payment of securities.

Once the flogging was over, dried wood was placed around her and beneath her feet, and the executioner lit the flame. It did not take long for the flames to grow and envelope around her. She screamed, chocked. The worst part of burning is at the beginning, this is the greatest pain of the burning process. Once the nerves have smoldered and burnt away. The pain is no more, and death follows quickly.

3rd November 1324, Petronilla de Meath, maid servant to Alice Kyteler was burned alive at the stake, as a heretic and as a witch. Its very likely that Alice too would have met this fate, if she chose not to leave and run for her life.

Her death was reported by the Kilkenny Franciscan chronicler, John Clyn: Petronilla de Meath … was condemned for sorcery, for taking and offering sacrifice to demons, consigned to the flames she was burned.

William Outlaw now succumbed fully and requested the bishop to visit him in prison and prostrated himself in the mud before Ledrede and a large crowd of clergy. His penance was increased. He was to make a visit to the Holy Land on the first available boat, the portion of the cathedral roof to be covered with lead was increased and he was given four years to complete the task.

He completed his penance,

In 1332 the weight of the lead caused the roof of St Canice’s to cave in.

As for Alice Kyteler, she was never seen or heard from again, but her story placed her securely in the Irish history books and the story of witchcraft in Europe.

  • Published: 19 October 2020
  • Location: Kilkenny, Ireland
  • Duration: 21:44
  • Photography – Stephen Robert Kuta / Yhana Kuta
  • Written by – Stephen Robert Kuta

Music –

  • Chant of the Moors by Flouw

Music Licensed by Epidemic Sound

Alice Kyteler – The Witch Of Kilkenny

​Stephen and Yhana – History and Adventure Hunters Almanac

Stephen and Yhana - History and Adventure Hunters Almanac - OUT NOW
Stephen and Yhana – History and Adventure Hunters Almanac – OUT NOW

Support us on Patreon / Stephen and Yhana YouTube Channel

Become a Patron!

On the 30th of January, 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). In the following weeks, the virus quickly spread worldwide, forcing the governments of affected countries to implement lockdown measures to decrease transmission rates and prevent the overload of hospital emergency rooms.

The United Kingdom implemented lockdown on the 16th of March, 2020 and from this date and up until the 3rd August, 2021 the UK had suffered three national lockdowns which all included Restrictive measures on border controls, closing of schools, markets, restaurants, nonessential shops, bars, entertainment and leisure facilities, as well as a ban on all public and private events and gatherings. In between these lockdowns we saw tier systems and heavy restrictions on how we all lived our lives.

We all decided on different approaches on how we spent that free time as many people were on Furlough as their businesses were shut, only key-workers carried out their working duties. Although I continued working as a key-worker, I still had a lot more free time as Yhana was not at school.

Both Yhana and I spent those first few months experimenting with tiktok and photography, we explored our home village of Great Leighs and took some incredible photographs as spring and eventually summer took hold.

Tiktok was a short-lived adventure for us, although we enjoyed it all the same — tiktok like so many Social Media platforms had exploded during the pandemic but none more so then YouTube.

In 2020 alone YouTube had more than 9 billion views globally

66% of people used YouTube to develop a new hobby in 2020, and a whopping 94% of people in India used YouTube to learn to do things themselves, Whilst Globally, 82% used YouTube to the same. What were they learning to do, exactly?

• Views of beauty tutorials increased nearly 50% in 2020.

• There was a 90% increase in bike maintenance and repair videos.

• Daily views of videos with “raising chickens” in the title increased 160%.

• Videos related to learning guitar saw 160 million views from mid-March to mid-April.

• Videos about container gardening saw 6 million views in the same period.

• There was a 215% increase in daily uploads of videos related to self-care.

• There was a 458% increase in daily views of videos about making sourdough bread and a 200% increase in daily views of recipe videos for bubble tea.

• Videos of how-to videos for home haircuts also spiked in April.

Even though these giant increases in YouTube views began as early as March 2020, it took Yhana and I up until August of that year to begin our own channel, and Yhana’s encouragement certainly helped on that matter.

So it began, 3 August 2020 – We went out and filmed our very first video. To be honest I wasn’t sure what our plan would be for our channel, I had a rough idea of what kind of content I would like Yhana and I to make and as a historian I looked at the channel as a way to record at least one year of our life, not just any year either, but our life during the Covid-19 Pandemic. So for me, it was a great way to record a piece of social history.

This book in front of you developed from that period of our lives also, and is a showcase / diary / almanac of all the videos we created, many of the photographs we took, the treasure hunts we went on and some of the incredible finds we discovered just a short walk from where we lived. In truth, those finds would never have been discovered if it wasn’t for lockdown.

So for prosperity, social history, a window into our lives during the Covid-19 pandemic and a transparent visual look at what its like to create a YouTube channel in that first year including channelytics, descriptions of videos, thumbnail artwork, viewer comments and more.

We have written this full guide, our first joint book –

Stephen and Yhana – History and Adventure Hunters Almanac.

Stephen and Yhana - History and Adventure Hunters Almanac - OUT NOW
Stephen and Yhana – History and Adventure Hunters Almanac – OUT NOW

The book is available to buy through Amazon and via all good bookshops.

LINK BELOW –

RECEIVE A FREE SIGNED COPY BY SIGNING UP AND SUPPORTING OUR JOURNEY ON PATREON.

Support us on Patreon / Stephen and Yhana YouTube Channel

Become a Patron!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.