Bury St Edmonds, Canewdon, Chelmsford, Clophill, Coggeshall,
Exeter, Faversham, Fressingfield, Lancaster, Pendle Forest,
St. Osyth, Salmesbury, Salt Lane, Somerset, Warboys.
town of Bury St Edmonds was the scene of two witchcraft trials. The first
of these trials took place in 1645, it was instigated by General
Matthew Hopkins. The second trial in 1662 was instigated by
the future Lord Chief Justice Sir Matthew Hale.
first trial culminated in the arrest of nearly 200 suspects,
of whom the most notable was an elderly clergyman named John
Lowes. Lowes was disliked as it was believed he was a Royalist
sympathizer. Lowes was subjected to torture of swimming, the
ordeal known as walking a witch until he confessed everything.
Other victims included a woman who was burned for the treasonable
murder of her husband by witchcraft.
second trial involved two widows Rose Cullender and Amyu Duny
who were both charged with numerous acts of witchcraft including
the bewitching of several children. AT the end of the trial
they both were found guilty and they were hanged.
case which was bought before Chief Justice Sir John Holt determinedly
acquitted an accused witch by the name of Mother Munnings.
village of Canewdon was refered to as the Witch Country. The witches of this
county were renowned for their power to halt machinery and wagons
by a single penetrating look or by turning themselves into wheels,
and at various times were accused of sending plagues of lice
and other unpleasant creatures against their enemies.
town of Chelmsford was the scene of many outbreaks of witchcraft. The first
witch in the records to be executed as a witch was Agnes Waterhouse.
She was not the only one trialed in July 1566 for witchcraft
along side her was her daughter Joan and Elizabeth Francis.
Francis was the first to be charged with causing illness in
a man named William Auger and a woman named Mary Cocke and then
she was also charged with that of Alice Poole but was unable
to escape this charge and was found guilty then hanged.
confessed to being taught everything she knew by her grandmother.
Joan was acquitted of the charge.
trial involved Elizabeth Francis and three others by the names
of Ellen Smith, Alice Nokes and Margery Stanton. Stanton was
acquitted of the charges against her but the other three were
found guilty and were all condemned to death.
1589 there was another trial involving 9 women and 1 man culminated
in the execution of three women who were hung within two hours
of the guilty verdict. Another trial was in 1610 involving Katherine
Lawrett was charged with causing the death of a valuable horse.
Clophill an alleged coven of witches occured in 1963 when the graveyard
had been dug up and the remains of a 200 year old corpse had
been laid out in ritual fashion inside the church. This it is
suggested was not the act of witches but that of a group of
satanists attempting to raise the dead.
Coggeshall in 1699 a widow Coman was reputed as being a witch and
was hounded into confessing acts of witchcraft and subjected
to swimming in the village pond. This ill treatment a few months
later may have caused the womans death as a result of a chill
she ay have contracted. She was not allowed the christian burial
of those who were dutiful.
England their were many witchcraft trials but it was fortunate
in that the inquisition never enjoyed much success. The hysteria
did not reach here until fairly late. Those in the middle ages
found guilty of witchcraft went virtually unpunished as there
was no evidence provided.
Exeter the case of three destitutes accused of witchcraft was one of the
last cases of witchcraft involved Susanna Edwards, Temperance
Lloyd and Mary Trembles. The three of them confessed which left
little room for doubt in the eyes of the public. Some of the
evidence brought against them was tenuous but the judge was
forced by public opinion to sentence the three accused women
to death by hanging. Susanna and Mary wept on the way to the
gallows while Temperance chewed not caring.
Faversham a trial involving Joan Williford who confessed to witchcraft
practices and in her confession she also named Jane Holt, Joan
Argoll and Elisabeth Harris as witches also and all of them
as a result of the facts that people died was enough to seal
their fates on September 29 1645 they were executed.
Fressingfield a Mrs Corbyn was the focus of allegations of witchcraft
in 1890. This was made public as a result of the sudden death
of a baby in the village. Examination of the baby's body showed
that the baby had died of shock as the result of an applied
irritant. The parent's named the step-grandmother who had died
on the same day and was said to have siad that the baby would
not live much longer either. A few hours later the baby died.
The husband of the accused was said to have said that he suspected
his wife of witchcraft but that he tried to never anger her
for fear of retribution.
Lancaster or Lancashire as it is also known there were
two big trials one in 1612 and one in 1633.
first in 1612 was the coven active in Pendle Forest
involved approximately 20 people with the two central figures
being an 80 year old woman by the name of Elizabeth Sowthern
and the other a 60 year old woman by the name of Anne whittle.
local justice questioned the 80 year old woman on whether she
was a witch which she confessed to and she also pointed her
granddaughter Alison Device and Anne Whittle. Elizabeth Sowthern
confessed how the devil had spoken to her and she had given
him her soul in exchange for anything. SHe kept turning him
away evertime he appeared then one night he came and sucked
her blood which made her mad for almost 2 months. She also testified
that her daughter had done work for a Richard Baldwyn when Elizabeth
and her granddaughter Alsion went to seek payment he told them
to get out or he would hang and burn one of them. The devil
reappeared and asked her to take revenge at which she said yes.
She never saw him again.
Whittle confessed to entering into the witches realm. She was
indicted for this act. Alison Device was also indicted for her
confession of the daughter of Baldwyn having died and was also
for laming an old peddler.
Device and the other families of those inprisoned tried to plan
an escape for those imprisoned but were found out and several
arreasts were made, in all 20 were tried all testifying against
each other and implicating others in their testimonials. 10
people were sentenced to hang. Elizabeth Sowthern died in prison.
Margaret Pearson was sentenced to the pillory and 1 year in
jail. The rest were found not guilty.
second trial was in 1633 and involved a young boy by the name
of Edmun Robinson who had claimed he was forced to attend a
witches sabbat at which there were several people including
Jennet Device. Of those that the young boy claimed were witches
17 were convicted. The local justice however thought their was
something foul and the cases were referred to the king's council
where it was discovered that the young boy had been forced by
his father to lie to make a quick dollar. The prisoners who
were still alive were released and the boys father was jailed.
the St Osyth trial there were 14 people involved all being charged
with several different charges of witchcraft including one of
bewitching to death other people.
head of the affair was a woman by the name of Ursula Kempe who
was a midwife and nursemaid and was also reported to be a witch.
Witnesses claimed that she cured a young boy by the name of
Davy Thurlowe of illness with incantations but took offence
when the boy's mother had refused her employment as nursemaid
to her infant daughter. The baby later fell out of its crib
and broke her neck, suspicion by neighbors fell upon Kempe.
Ignoring this the mother then asked Kempe for a treatment for
her arthritis, she was given a method but refused to pay Kempe
12 pence at which the womans condition worsened.
Thurlowe at this point decided to go to the authorities with
her complaint. When Kempe was placed on trial she pleaded her
case and even named other witches. Others named were Elizabeth
Bennet, Alice Newman, Alice Hunt, Margery Sammon all confessing
and naming others such as Joan Pechey, Agnes Glascock, Cicely
Celles, Joan turner, Elizabeth Ewstace, Annis Herd, Alice Manfield
and Margaret Grevell. Two were not indictted, two were discharged
but held for other non-witch illegal activities, four were acquitted,
four were convicted but leter reprieved and two were sentenced
to hang those were Ursula Kempe and Elizabeth Bennet.
Salmesbury a trial that involved three women. The charges were brought
about by a Grace Sowerbutts against her grandmother, her aunt
and another woman by the name of Jane Southworth. According
to Grace they had turned theselved into black dogs using an
ointment they made from the bones of the child of Thomas Walshman.
She also claimed they had feasted on this childs flesh and they
had invited her to join in but instead she went to the authorities.
The jury however was unconvinced and the charges were dismissed.
Grace broke down and admitted to being forced to say these things
by a Catholic priest. It was said that the accusations had risen
out of a family feud that they had changed to the Protestant
Salt Lane witches were two white witches according to folklore they
were called white witches as they would use their magic for
good as opposed to bad. For sixpence they would help people
free their carts from the mud one day a wagoner was trying to
bargain with them, he noticed a piece of straw on his horse's
back. Thinking it was part of their magic, he cut it in half
causing one witch to fall dead. The cart was freed and he fled.
The second witch according to legend turned a troop of soldiers
into petrified figures when they appeared in town trying to
collect taxes. These figures are according to legend at the
main road that passes through Worcester.
Somerset witches was two alleged covens that were exposed in the
area in 1664. According to the accusations there were two full-scale
covens active. Those involved in these covens were charged and
pursued with zeal by the local justice Robert Hunt until his
superiors intervened asking hm to desist from further enquiries.
There were those that complained saying that there were more
covens but they were never allowed to find out.
Warboys witch trial involved three alleged witches by the names
of Alice, John and Agnes Samuel and was as a result of the fact
they were suppose to have caused the fits of five daughters
of Robert Throckmorton and for the murder Lady Cromwell.
case was brought to justices of the peace and Mrs Samuel was
brought to them at which she confessed all. All three of them
were found guilty and Agnes refused to decline pregnancy argueing
that "it shall never be said that I was both a witch
and a whore", they were all hung and their estate was given to
Henry Cromwell who used it for an annual sermon against witchcraft.
and Folk Witches
of Navarre 1370-1437. Duchess of Brittany who was the wife
of King Henry
of England was accused of being a witch and wanting to bring
down the king.
she was pardoned and reinstated.
Shipton a 15th Century Yorkshire witch. She was said to have
and spell-casting, and her prophecies about modern time such
airplanes and cars has come true. Also scientific inventions,
Boleyn 1507-1536, she was the second wife of King Henry VIII
abeheaded and her reputation was smeared due tothe fact she
bear her husband a child so he claimed she was a witch. She
had a sixth finger
one hand which was believed to be a sign that the young lady
was a witch.
of Brunswick 1768-1821 she was Queen to King George IV Of
is told that she felt she was constantly being neglected by
her husband and she
to make a wax effigy of him and stick pins and thorns into
it and then melt
a palace fireplace.
North Berwick Witches a group of men and women who were accused
in Scotland in the 16th century. On minimal evidence they
and tortured and burnt. They were supposed to have created
the drown the King James 1.
Blight 1798-1856. Famous Cornish witch healer and a person
who is able
remove curses or spells from a person. She was also said to
have put spells on
who did not please her. Also known as Tammy Blee and Tamson.
Butters late 18th century-early 19th century. She is known
as the Carmoney
and narrowly escaped trial for the killing of a cow and three
at her inquest she saw a black man who killed the three people
was knocked unconscious causing the ingredients to become
was made into a humorous ballad.
Dorothy Clutterbuck 1880-1951. Clutterbuck was allegedly the
a coven of witches and was suppose to have initiated Gerald
B. Gardner into
It also said that Clutterbuck was actually not the hight priestess
of the high priestess that the real high priestess was a woman
of Dafo. She was a woman of high respect and wealth. When
she died she
a hefty amount of money more than 60,000 pounds.
Goldie ?-1662. It is said that she had wild sexual escapades
with the devil
had initiated her into the art of witchcraft. She confessed
this several times but
thought that it was just a story she had made up and that
it was just a game
had gotten out of hand. There are no records as to what had
happened to her
other people she confessed to being witches as well. In all
likelihood they were
hung as her confessions were so obscene for the time.
of Arc 1412-1431. She was not charged as most people have
witchcraft but for being a relapsed heretic who denied the
authority of the
Jones ?-1648. The first witch to be executed in Massachusetts
she was accused of being a witch after patients under her
care as their
had gotten sicker. The reason why many patients got worse
they refused to take medicines prescribed for them.
Alice Kyteler ?-1324. Lady Alice was a wealthy woman from
Ireland who was
of witchcraft as a result of the fact that her fourth husband
and his family
she had lured him into marrying her more money. These charges
and later she moved to England were she lived in luxury until
Laveau 1794?-1881 and 1827-1897. The most renown voodoo queen
AMerica was actually a mother and daughter. Their appeal was
control ofone's lovers and enemies, and sex. Marie I was a
who was told all the secrets by women and was able to use
her powers. Marie II was feared more and inspired subserviance.
Newton mid 17th Century. A trial most famous in Ireland was
Newton also known as "the Witch of Youghal". She
was accused of
people into fits and of killing them with these fits. Her
trial unlike most
involved no torture. One young lady who was bewitched by her
of which many things were vomitted up by her and many different
at her. If Florence newton was left unhandcuffed the young
lady would have
and fall ill but if handcuffed would remain calm and have
Pentreath 1692-1777. Was born in Cornwall, England. Never
a son. She was acredited with the knowledge of astrology and
powers which people would come and use her for. She was able
powers for good and bad.
Sawyer ?-1621. Elisabeth Sawyer also Known as "Witch
accused of bewitching her neighors children and cattle because
buy her brooms. When she was being harrassed she finally confessed
witch. She was hanged for confessing to be a witch.
these are self-initiated witch in English folkore who are
possessing the power to overlook or cast the evil-eye over
a person. They
powerful and most feared. They had powers also over horses,
pigs and men.
was considered dangerous being a Toad-Witch as one was likely
to go insane
of the supernatural powers possessed and usually died a violent
of Endor was accredited with raising of the spirit of Samuel
at the request of
Saul of Israel. In the bible it is said teh at Saul wished
to find out whether he
fight the Philistine Army. Some say that the witch was a fake
and that she
her voice to sound like Samuel when in fact she lied about
seeing god or
about incantations. Some believed that their may have been
but that it was more likely to have been the Devil but some
believed that it
not the Devil as he would have been repelled by the word God
or Jehovah and
the Devil would not have punished someone but would have encouraged
to do more evil.
Wytte 1775-1813. Cornish woman also known by the name of the
Woman of Bodmin. She was said to be clairvoyant and that people
her services as a seer, diviner and healer. She was known
to visit a holy well
she tied clouties (a charm that is a strip of cloth taken
from a sick person.
would decay and was suppose to heal the person in a magical
today.) on the branches of trees.
on as a result of a tooth abscess she became very ill-tempered
at people. She became involved in a large fight with people
where she used
remarkable strength and bashed people and threw them across
a room. She
arrested and sent to jail where she died as a result of the
she died her body was dissected and the skeleton was placed
in a coffin,
on it was recovered and used as a joke in a seance which went
wrong as it
alleged the lid of the coffin in which the skeletal remains
was placed, flew
and started going around and assaulting the people taking
part in the
After this the bones were to pass onto an antique dealer,
and later on a
of a Museum of Witchcraft. It was later said that while on
display in the
they started to experience poltergeist at which a witch was
bought in to
them of what to do and it was said that Wytte's spirit said
that she wished
be laid in a proper burial.
empty coffin remains on display along with a plaque accounting
from English web archives