TODAY at 2pm, Memories is honoured to be opening the Weardale Festival in St Thomas’s Church, Stanhope, where there is a photographic exhibition entitled Weardale Past and Present: People and Places.

We’ll tell a couple of favourite Weardale stories, one from a long way past and another from nearly the present, but it will also give us the opportunity to investigate another dale legend.

We are grateful to Steve Blackett of Tow Law for telling us the terrible tale of Jenny Cutty Throaty, who was also known as Jenny Cutter Throat or, on Sundays, as plain Jenny Garthwaite.

She lived with her husband, Anthony, and her five children in a woodsman’s cottage on the banks of the Bradley Burn (which is also known as Bradley Beck). The cottage was on the south side of the A689, opposite what is now a farm shop beside the magnificent medieval ruin of Bradley Hall.

It was here on May 25, 1718, that Jenny snapped. She grabbed a knife and slit the throats of four of her children. She then attacked her eldest, Richard, who escaped through a window and sought out his father who was working in the fields.

Together, the father and son returned to the cottage, but it was too late. When they got there, they discovered Jenny had cut her own throat.

She was buried beneath a flat stone on the east side of St Stephen’s and St Mary’s Church in Wolsingham. Nearby are four small mounds which are said to be the remains of her children.

The writing on the stone has long since weathered away, but you can tell which one is hers by rubbing coins on it at midnight and then running three times around the church.

Then, and only then, you will hear the sound of Jenny Cutty Throaty sharpening her knife, of her children screaming, of owls hooting, of gates squeaking, of chains rattling, of all manner of things going bump in the night…

Can it be true?