Excerpts from the Certainty of the Worlds of Spirits
The Narrative as lately sent me from most Credible Persons in Evesham, is as followeth.
About the Month of April, 1652. Mary the Daughter of Edward Ellins, of the Burrough of Evesham, in the County of Worcester Gardner, then about nine or ten years old, went in the fields on a Saturday with some other Children to gather Cowslips, and finding in a Ditch by the way saide, at the said Towns end, one Catherine Huxley, a single Woman, aged then about forty years (as is supposed easing nature) the Children called her Witch, and took up stones to throw at her, the said Mary also called her Witch, and took up a stone, but was so affrighted, that she could not throw it at her; then they all run away from her, and the said Mary being hindmost, this Huxley said to her [Ellins, you shall have stones enough in your ---] whereupon Mary fell that day very ill, and continued so weak and Languishing that her Friends feared she would not. recover; but about a Month after, she began to void stones by the urinary passages, and some little urine came away from her; also when she voided any stone, and the stone she
voided, was heard by those that were by her, to drop into the Pot or Bason, and she had most grievous pains in her Back and Reins, like the pricking of Pins, the number of the stones she voided, was about eighty, some plain pebbles, some plain flints, some very small, and some about an ounce weight; this she did for some space (a month or two, or there abouts) until upon some strong suspitions of Witchcraft, the forenamed Huxley was Apprehended, Examined and Searched (at whose Beds Head there was found several stones, such as the said Mary voided) and was sent to Worcester, where at the Summer Assizes in the said year 1652 (then at hand) she was upon the Prosecution of the Friends of the said Mary, Condemned and Executed; upon whose Apprehension and Commitment, Mary ceased to void any more stones; but for a while, voided much blackish and muddy Sand, and also, in short time perfectly recovered, and is yet living in the Town, in good and honest Repute, and hath been many years Marryed, and hath had seven Children; but never voided any stones since, nor been troubled with the pain forementioned, Abundance of people yet living, know the Substance of this to be true, and her Mother in Law (since dead) kept the stones till she was tired with the frequent Resort of people to see them, and the said Mary,
and to hear the Relation of the matter, and beg the stones (for though many offered Money for them, yet she always refused it, nor did they ever take any, but it cost them much upon the Girl, and the Prosecution of the said Huxley) and then she buried them in her Garden, Edward Ellins, the Father of the said Mary, is also yet living, and a Man of honest Repute, and utterly free (as also is the said Mary, and all the rest of her Friends) from the least Suspition of any Fraud of Cheat in the whole business: This was known to hundreds of People in the said Town, and parts Adjacent, and many of them yet living, are ready to attest the truth of it.
X. In 1645, in Dorset-shire, I lodged at a Village on a Hill, called (I think) Evershot, in the House of the Minister, a grave Man, who had with him a Son, also a Learned Minister, that had been Chaplain to Sir Tho. Adams in London: They both told me, that they had a Neighbour that had long lain Bed-rid, that told all the occasion; That for a long time, being a poor Labouring Man, every Morning when he went out of his Door, he found a Shilling under his Door, of which he told no one, so that in a long time, he buying some Sheep or Swine, and seeming Rich, his Neighbours marvelled how he came by it:
At last he told them, and was suddenly struck Lame and Bed-rid. They would have had me speak with the Man; but the Snow covering the Ground, and I being ill, and the Witnesses fully Credible, I forbore.
XII I had the last Week this following Letter sent me, from, and by most Credible Wise and Pious Persons of Devonshire, from Exeter.
Nathan the Son of Mr. Zacheus Crab, Dyer, without Westgate, had Convulsion and Falling-Fits about nine Years since: He was a Youth well known to the late Mr. Robert Atkins the Minister, who thought him one very hopeful for Religion. Going from one of his Meeting this Youth was first taken, having three Fits before he came to his Masters House: His Legs failed him, he seemed to be push'd as if some body tript up his Heels, and fell forth upon his Hands, but rose again presently. Some weeks after he had Falling-fits, with foaming at Mouth; thus he continued a Year and half before any means were used suspected for Witchcraft. After this, hearing of one Gibs, Mr. Crab, the Father of this Youth, and his Daughter, the Youth's Sister, when together to Mr. Gibs for help for the Youth. They went once every Week for a Month with the Youth's Water; the last Week of the Month the Sister ask'd, what Mr. Gibs
thought now of the Cure? (they went to him in the beginning of the Week) he said, that weeks Papers of Powder would make a perfect Cure, but there would be an alteration, that he would have two or three panging fits different from the former, which things fell out as he said. When this last Week of the Month was over, they had a Debate, whether they should go to Mr. Gibs again, at length they concluded to go, and went on the beginning of the fifth Week with his Water. Gibs then told them, Since you are come to me again, I will give you that shall make a perfect Cure, that you shall need come to me no more: then he gave them a Bag to hang about the Youth's Neck, and Powder to take in White-wine for one weeks time: Order was given by him, when the Youth had worn the Collar about his Neck for a while, the Youth should take it off himself, and burn it: but Mr. Elson, the Boy's Master, took off the Collar after it had been on two Days and a Night, and shewed it to some, to inquire, whether it were not a charm? there being nothing in the Collar but a Paper with this writing,
Callen Dan Dant,
Dan Dant Callen,
Dan Callen Dant.
Mr. Elson kept the Paper by him after 'twas taken from the Boy's Neck, about
eighteen Weeks, not suffering it to be applied again, being told that it seemed to be a meer Char; and the Boy being ask'd if he were content to have his Fits again rather than have a Cure from the Devil, who would not cure his Body without greater prejudice to his Soul, than his Bodily Distemper could be reckoned? he very readily answered, he would rather choose to have his Fits again, and would leave himself to the Hands of God, for his Disease or Cure.
When this Distemper left him for the Eighteen Weeks, he returned considerably to his Senses and Memory, beyond what he had before, particularly to be able to sort Wooll at his Trade, which he had not been able to do in a Year and quarter before. About the Sixth Week of these Eighteen, the Father went to Mr. Gibs again, and told him how the Note was taken off, and that several had the sight of it; Gibs then said, If the Fits do return again, he will be worse than ever, and at their return he should be able to do him no good. His Fits at the return were indeed far more terrible than before, and much of another kind than those of other Persons in the Fallen-sickness: And these Fits did return to him about 18 or 19 VVeeks after they ceased, upon a Shrove-Tuesday: Mr. Elson inquiring into the time when they returned,
said, it was when he threw the Paper that had been about the Youth's Neck, into the Fire and burnt it, unwilling to keep such a thing any longer. This Gibs hath the general repute of a VVizard, and his Father before him. The Youth hath a long time been utterly deprived of the use of his Reason, and is clothed, and otherwise used as a meet Natural; and his Fits so dreadful, that Persons are afraid to behold him.
After the return of his Fits, he was put to one Yoe's in St. Thomas's, where he wrought at his Trade of VVorsted-combing, and some means were used for his Fits, which he pretended to have some Skill in curing, whose Means were used about a Month without any success; then and there being at his VVork, and some signs appearing of an approaching Fit, they set him a Stool, thence he fell in a Fit, and brake his Leg, the main Bone, in two pieces, another Bone in many pieces. Then he was brought home to his Father's House; and the Bones being set, the Chyrurgion said, if he should have another Fit his Cure would be impossible; he lay about a Month or five VVeeks very free from Fits, till his Bones were so well knit, that he could walk abroad with Crutches, which he did for a while, and then his Fits returned in the same manner as before his Bone was broken.
After his Leg was well recovered, he was carried to Mr. Pridham of Marchard, he prescribed MEans, which he hop'd would do him good, if there were any alteration by the use of his Pills which he then gave him to carry with him, and take when he came home: but before the Pills, he had ordered a Vomit to be taken, in the working of which, they thought he would die. Then they gave him the Pills, which, after they had stay'd above an Hour in his Stomach, he vomited them up as they were taken; which were put up again in the Box, and shewed to Mr. Pridham, who said, If they had been given to a Child of two Months old, they would have been digested in half an Hour. Upon hearing the whole, he said, certainly there is something extraordinary in the case. Being asked if he could do him no good, he said, he did not question but he could, but being a Minister he feared he should lose his Benefice by Peoples saying he was a VVhite-VVitch.
The Youth's Mother apprehended, that Mr. Straddon drop'd some such words that her Son was bewitch'd or possess'd, or somewhat to that purpose, who went through a Course of Physick with the Youth, and found nothing did answer Expectation.
For some Years the Youth hath been much prejudiced in his Speech; sometimes he cannot speak at all, but is as one dumb
for a VVeek or Fortnight together: He speaks plain enough between, but when he hath the Dumb Fits he can hardly move his Tongue in his Mouth; and he is generally so deprived of Reason, that he is clad, and otherwise used as a meer Idiot.
As touching the Relation of the Brightling Story, which is in the Substance undoubtedly true, however some Circumstances of it may vary, be pleased to take the following Account.
On Monday was three Weeks, at, or near the House of Joseph Cruttenden of Brightling, an old Woman about Noon came to a Servant Girl of the said Cruttenden's tells her, sad Calamaties were coming upon her Master and Dame, their House should be Fired, and many other troubles befal them; but tells this Girl withal, That if she spake of what she had told her, the Devil would tear her to pieces, otherwise she need not fear, for no hurt should come to her: The
same Night, as the Man and Woman lay in Bed, Dirt, and Dust, &c. was thrown at them, but they could not tell whence it came: They rise and Pray, during which that Disturbance ceases; some say they went to Bed again, but finding the same trouble they are forced to rise Tuesday about Noon, Dust, Dirt, and several things are thrown at them again; before Night, a part of one end of their House Fired; they rake it down, it flashes somewhat like Gunpowder; as they stop'd it there, it began in another place, and thence to another, till the whole House was burnt down. Some say some thing like a Black Bull was seen tumbling about; the certainty of that I aver not. The House, tho' it burnt down to the Ground it flamed not: The Night was spent in carrying Goods, or one thing or other from one place to anothe; the, I think, remained mostly without Doors. Thursday Col. Busbridge (whose House the former was) being acquainted with the Man's sad Accident, bid them go into another of his Houses in the Parish, whither, when the Goods were brought, such like Disturbances were there also; the House Fireth, endeavours are made by many to quench it, but in vain, till the Goods are thrown out, when it ceased with little or no help. In this condition none durst let them into their Doors; they abide under a Hut; the Goods are
thrown upside down, Peuter-dishes, Knives, Brickbrats strike them, but hurt them not: Mr. Bennet and Mr. Bradshaw, Ministers, came to Pray with them, when a Knife glanced by the Breast of Mr. Bennet, a Bowl or Dish thrown at his Back, but while at Prayers quiet; they were without Doors, there being very many present, a Wooden Tut came flying out of the Air, by many, and came and struck the Man; as likewise a Horse-shoe, which was by some laid away, and it was observ'f of its own accord to rise again and fly to the Man, and strook him in the midst of a hundred People: Upon strict Examination the Man confesseth, that he had been a Theif, and did it under the colour of Religion. Sabbath-day the Girl told her Dame the former story of the Womans Discourse; she is sent for, and Examined before Captain Collins, Mr. Burbridge, and she is searched and watched 24 Hours: the Girl saith, she is like the Woman, but I think will not swear it is the same. This Woman was formerly suspected to be a Witch, had to Maidstone about it, but got away, and hath lived about Burwast some time since; her Name I know not: Tuesday Four Ministers kept a Fast, Mr. Bennet, Weller, Bradshaw, and Gold; since I hear not of any trouble. 'Tis said they are in a Barn or Ale-house; while they lay without Doors, the Woman sending some
Meal to a Neighbours to make Bread, they could not make it into Loaves, but it was like Butter, and so they put it into the Oven, but it would not bake, but came out as it went in. This Relation came from Mr. Collins, who was an Eye-witness of much of it.
XVI. About twenty Years past, when I was in the Lord Broghill's (now Earl of Orery's) Lodgings in London, one Night he brought me the Report, that one of Cromwell's Soldiers being on his Watch, near the Chappel of St. James's House, something came towards him in an affrightening shape, and he calling out, Stand, stand, or I will shoot you, at last discharging, it ran upon him, and threw him over the way far off and that it had been that day Examined, and affirmed confidently; and what became of the Report of it afterward, I know not, save that it was said to happen oft. But on this occasion the Earl of Orery (yet living) told me, as followeth, That Colonel Venables (then going for Hispaniola, with the Soldiers that were there Repulsed and took Jamaica) had a Soldier in his Army that came out of Ireland, and was under Colonel Hill, who was then in London, and would attest this following, viz. That this Soldier looked pale and sad, and pined, and the cause was unknown: At last he came to
Colonel Hill with his Confession, that he had bin a Servant in England, (as I remember, to one that carried Stockins and such ware about to sell) and for his Money, he had Murdered his Master, and buried him in such a place: And flying into Ireland, lifted himself his Souldier, and that of a long time, when ever he lay alone, somewhat like a headless Man, stood by his Bed, saying to him, [Wilt thou yet confess?] And in this case of fear he had continued, till lately it appeared to him when he had a Bed-fellow (which it never did before) and said as before [Wilt thou yet confess] and now seeing no hope of longer Concealing it, he Confessed: And as I remember, his going to Hispaniola was his punishment, in stead of Death, where vengeance followed him.) This he offered then to bring Colonel Hill to me to attest, (since the Writing of this, the Earl of Orery is dead.)
XVIII. My dear Friend Mr. Hopkins (Father to my Faithful Brother Mr. George Hopkins Minister at Eversham, till ejected, Aug 24.
1662. and Grandfather to Dr. Hopkins, lately Preacher at Laurences) a chief Magistrate of Bewdley, and since a Member of the Long Parliament, oft pained as he thought with the Spleen, but not at all Meclancholy, came to me at Mr. Hanburyes, the last time before I was driven out of the County, and as a great secret told me, that he was possest (meaning, I think Bewitcht): I chid him, as Fanciful and Melancholy: But he without any shew of Melancholy, affirmed, that it was certainly true: I could not stay with him, and never saw him more. But he long continued in pain and that Conceit, and before he dyed, a piece of Wood came down into the rectum intestinum, which they were fain to pull out with their Fingers. His good Wife told me, it was of the length of ones finger: And that he and they were sure that he never swallowed any such thing. The best Men it seems may be thus Afflicted, as Job by Satan.
Mr. John Humphreys, brought Mr. May Hill to me, with a Bag of Irons, Nails and Brass, vomited by the Girl. I keep some of these to shew: Nails about three or four inches long, doubled crooked at the end, and pieces of old Brass doubled, about an Inch broad, and two or three Inches long, with crooked edges: I desired him to give me the Case in Writing, which he hath done as followeth: Any one that is incredulous, may now at Beckington receive Satisfaction from him, and from the Maid her self.
In the Town in Beckington, by Froome in Summerfew Shire, liveth Mary Hill, a Maid of about Eighteen years of Age, who having lived very much in the Neglect of her Duty to God, was some time before Michaelmas last past was Twelve-Month, taken very ill, and being seized with violent Fits, began to Vomit up about two hundred crooked Pins. This so Stupendous an Accident, drew a numerous Concourse of People to see her: To whom when in her Fits, she did constantly affirm, that she saw against the Wall of the Room: Wherein she lay, an old Woman named Elizabeth Carrier, who thereupon being Apprehended by a Warrant from a Justice of Peace, and Convicted by the Oaths of two Persons, was committed to the County Goal.
About a Fortnight after, she began to Vomit up Nails, Pieces of Nails, Pieces of Brass, Handles of Spoons, and so continued to do for the space of six Months and upwards: And in her fits, she said there did appear to her an old Woman, Named Margery Coombes, and one Ann More; who also by a Warrant from two Justices of the Peace, were Apprehended and brought to the Sessions held at Brewton for the County, and by the Bench committed to the Couty Goal: The former of these dyed as soon as she came into Prison, the other two were Tryed at Tannton Assizes, by my Lord Chief Justice Holt, and for want of Evidence, were acquitted by the Jury. The Persons bound over to give Evidence, were Susanna Belton, and Ann Holland, who upon their Oaths Deposited, that they hookt out of the Navel of the said Mary Hill, as she lay in a dead fit, crooked Pins, small Nails, and small pieces of Brass, which were produced in Court before the Judge, and from him handed to the Jury to look upon them. Whereupon Mr. Francis Jesse, and Mr. Christopher Brewer declared, that they had seen 76 the said Mary Hill to Vomit up at several times Crooked Pins, Nails, and Pieces of Brass, which they also produced in open Court, and to the end, they might be ascertained it was no Imposture, they declared, they had searched her Mouth with their Fingers before she did Vomit.
Upon which the Court thought fit to call for me, who am in the Minister of the Parish, to testifie the Knowledge of the matter, which I did to this Effect, that I had seen her at several times, after having given her a little small Beer, Vomit up Crooked Pins, Nails, and Pieces of Brass. That to prevent the Supposition of a Cheat, I had caused her to be brought to a Window, and having lookt into her Mouth, I searcht it with my Finger, as I did the Beer before she drank it. This I did, that I might not be wanting in Circumstantial Answers, to what my Lord and Court might propose.
I well remember, a Gentleman on a Saturday came to my House (Incognito) to know of me the truth of the Country Report about this Maid, having seen some of the Nails, &c. she had Vomited up. I told him it was very true, and if he would stay in Towne till the Morning, he might see it himself, for his own Satisfaction. Which he did, and early in the Morning was called to see her. But because Beer was 77 not given her when she wanted it, she lay in a very Deplorable condition, till past two in the Afternoon; when with much Difficulty, she brought up a piece of Brass, which the said Gentleman took away with him. Though before the said Piece of Brass came up, he told me he was satisfied of the Truth of the thing, because it was impossible for any Mortal to Counterfeit her miserable Condition. She sometimes lying in a dead Fit, with her Tongue swelled out of her Head, and then reviving, she would fall to Vomiting, but nothing came up till about two a Clock in the Afternoon. Nay so curious was he to Anticipate any Cheat, that he searcht her Mouth himself, gave her the Bear, held her up in his hand, and likewise the Bason, into which she Vomited, and continued with her all this time, without eating and drinking, which was about eight hours, that he might be an Eye-Witness of the Truth of it. Nay, further, he found the Maid living only with a Brother, and three poor Sisters, all young Persons, and very honest, and the Maid kept at the Charge of the Parish, were sufficient Testimonies they were uncapable of making a Cheat of it. The Gentleman I now mentioned, was, (as I afterward learnt) Esquire Player of Castle-Cary.
I have often wondered how it was possible for all that Trumpery to be conveyed into 78 her Body, which at Intervals, she cast up. I therefore made all the Observation I could to satisfie my self and others. I found that those things which she brought up in the Morning, were conveyed into her Body by some Diabolical Power, when she was in Bed at Night. What induced me easily to believe this, was, by considering these following Circumstances.
- That it was only in the Morning, that she Vomited up Nailes, &c. and scarce did any thing in the Afternoon.
- I found by Enquiry that she always slept with her Mouth open, and could not help it, and when asleep, she could not be awaken'd either by calling, jogging or pulling of her, for some considerable time; though at the same time, she fetcht such deep and painful Groans, as if she were awaked, and sensible of her sad Condition.
- For my Farther Satisfaction, I got some at my Charge to sit up at Nights with her, and watch her Mouth, and to see it was kept close shut. Whilst this was done, the Vomiting of Nails ceased, and that for thirteen Nights Successively; but when it was neglected, she would be sure to bring up something of Nails, or some such stuff. I then had her lodged at a Neighbours House, to see whether her Vomiting of 79 Nails would totally cease, but it did not. For coming one day to my House, to refresh her self, she had not bin there two Hours, before she began to be ill, we immediately gave her some Beer, and she Vomited up a great board Nail. Some time after this, she threw up a great piece of Brass, which I saw followed with much Blood, and she being extreamly weakened with a striving, and falling into a Fit, I caused a Woman to open her Mouth, who took out as much Blood, as she could hold in the hollow of her hand.
After the Assizes afore-mentioned was ended, and she was turned home, she grew worse than ever, by Vomiting of Nails, Pieces of Glass, &c. And falling one day into a Violent Fit, she was swelled to an extraordinary bigness, some Beer being given her, she throws up several Pieces of Bread and Butter, besmeared with a Poysonous matter, which I judged to be white Mercury. This so much affrighted the Neighbours, that they would come no more near her. So that one day, she being taken desperate ill, I was sent to pray with with her, and Compassionating the Deplorableness of her Condition, I at last resolved to take her into my own House, where in some short time, the Vomiting ceased; though for some space her Distorting Fits followed her. But, 80 blessed be God, is now, and has been for a considerable time last past in very good health, and fit for a Service.
April 4 1691
Mary Hill Minister of Beckington, In the County of Somerset.
Mr. Thomas Woodcocke's Letter in relation to Witches and Apparitions; together, with four Stories inclosed therein, all relating to the same Subject.
I have herein sent you those four Stories I had the remembrance off, when I was with you last, which I have subscribed my Name to. But who can prove any thing Rationally to them who have not so much Reason as to know their own Souls? All of this Tribe are of that mind, to believe nothing but what they see themselves. But as Religio Medici says, The Devil hath them in too fast a Noose, for to appear to them would be to convert them from their Error. He rather delights to be their God than to prove himself a Devil, and so torment their Thoughts too soon. They assert and admire the Omnipotency of Matter, but in the mean time are insensible of the spring of Motion; they are so full of Seconds they will not own a First Mover: 'This strange Arithmetick, that two should not suppose one, and as bad Geometry to have
Circumference without a Center. But I fear you will but spend Arguments on them who are resolved not to yield to any Evidence; for it is the Interest of their Lusts neither to believe God nor a Devil. Yet I remember a story of one a Colchester, who in a Bravado, and Defiance of the Devil, would walk in the Night to the Church-Yard, wher eit was reported he appeared and walked, and he met him in the shape of a Black Dog with terrible Eyes, which brought him by Terrors into such a mind, that he was never quiet in his Mind till he got into good Society. Coming to Mr. Shepheard's at Coln, Mr. Harlakenden stay'd him, though Mr. Shepheard was gone: He lodged there, and when at Prayer, the Black Dog was seen by the Man as if he would have torn Mr. Harlakenden's Throat out, but he was in his House and Duty, and neither saw nor feared: And this Man continued long in this condition, proved a most ferious Christian, always had some appearance of this Dog, as a Fly or a Flea, and various shapes; and even at his Death, lying long sick, had great Peace and Victory over the fear of Death, and was so joyful and desirous to be dissolved, that this Dog or Flea made no impression upon him; when it had been a Melancholick Fancy it would have been worst at so dark an Hour, when the
Humours are up and the Spirits down. This Story I had also from Mr. Harlakenden, but it is not to be cast before such Swine as this Epicurean Age abounds with, who, if Christ himself was on Earth, with the Gadarens, would rather get rid of him, than lose their Herd of Hogs. But I tire you, the Lord support you, and give you the Joy of Faith, the Blessed prospect of Hope, and that Cordial of Love which is stronger than Death;
Your worthless Brother
and Servant in the Lord,
July 17. 91. T. Woodcocke.
Here follow the four Stories, mentioned in the fore-going Letter.
I. Mr. Mun, Rector of Stockerson in Leicestershire, had a Daughter married to one Mr. Beecham, Rector of Branston in Rutland; in whose House it was frequently observed, that a Tobacco-pipe would move it self from off a Shelf at one end of the Room, to another Shelf at the other end of the Room, without any Hand. Mr. Mun visiting his Son-in-Law, took a Pipe of Tobacco in that Room, and looked for some such Motion; but a great Bible, instead of a Pipe, moved it self off from a Desk at the lower end of the Room, and cast it self into his Lap. Whereupon he opened the Bible at Gen. 3. 15. saying, Come, Satan; I'll shew thee they Doom: The See of the Woman shall break the Serpent's Head. Avoid Satan.
This Mr. Mun himself told me, when in the Sickness Year, 1665. I lived in Stockerson-Hall. I have no reason to suspect the Veracity of a sober Man, a constant Preacher, and a good Scholar.
II. Dr. Lamb, who was killed by the Mob, for a Conjurer, about 1640. met one Morning Sir Miles Sands and Mr. Barbor in the Street, and invited them to go and drink
their Mornings Draught at his House: Discoursing about his Art, he told them, if they would hold their Tongues, and their Hands from medling with any thing, he would shew them some Sport. So falling to his Practice, in the middle of the Room springs up a Tree; soon after appeared three little Fellows, with Axes on their Shoulders, and Baskets in their Hands, who presently fell to work, cut down the Tree, and carried all away. But Mr. Barbor observing one Chip to fall on his Velvet Coaat, he flips it into his Pocket. That Night, when he and his Family were in Bed, and asleep, all the Doors and VVindows in the House opened and clattered, so as to awaken and affright them all. His VVife said, Husband, you told me you was at Dr. Lamb's this Day, and I fear you medled with something. He replied, I put a Chip into my Pocket. I pray you, said she, fling it out, or we shall have no Quiet. He did so, and all the VVindows and Doors were presently shut, and all quiet, so they went to sleep.
Dr. Barbor and Major John Barbor, who married my only Sister, told me this Relation, who had it again and again from their Father and Mother; and I know no reason to doubt the truth of it. This Mr. Barbor laid the first stone in building of Covent-Garden.
III VVhen I was a School-Boy at Oundle in Northamptonshire; about the Scots coming into England, I heard a Well, in one Dobs's Yard, drum like any Drum beating a March. I heard it at a distance: Then I went and put my Head into the Mouth of the Well, and heard it distinctly, and no Body in the Well. It lasted several Days and Nights, so as all the Country-People came to hear it. And so it drumm'd on several Changes of Times.
When King Charles the Second died, I went to the Oundle-Carrier, at the Ram-Inn in Smithfield; who told me their Well had drumm'd, and many People came to hear it. And I heard, it drumm'd once since.
IV. Mr. Harlakenden, who lived at Cols-Priory in Essex, (where I often was, his only Son being my Pupil,) formerly the House of the Earls of Oxford: Off from the House was a Tomb-House, with a Chamber over it; his Butler, Robert Crow, and William, his Coach-man, used to lie in that Room. At Two of the Clock in the Morning there was always the sound of a great Bell tolling: They affirming it so, Mr. Harlakenden slept in the Evening, so as to be awaked at One of the Clock, and lay betwixt his two Sevants to satisfie himself. At Two of the Clock comes the usual Sound of a great Bell 158 tolling, which put him into a Fright and Sweat, so as he jogg'd his Servants; who awaking, said, Hark, Tom is at his Sport. It revived him to hear them speak. Upon a particular Occasion, Mr. Thomas Shepheard, (who after went to New England,) with some other Ministers, and good People, spent a Night in Prayer, and had some respect to the place, serving God, to cast out the Devil: And from that time, never was any such noise heard in the Chamber.
This I had from Mr. Harlakenden's own Mouth, and his Servants, Ear-witnesses, when I was upon the place.
In Bewdley, a Sanguine strong Maid, fell into strange Histerical Fits: It began by Stoppage of the Menstrua, I gave her Castory and Rad. Ostrutii, and Sem. Dauci on Forestus Commendation, and she began to be better: But I being driven out of the Country by War, and Mr. Robert Morton (Dr. Mortons Father) their Pastor and Physitian driver after me to Coventry, she was left without help, and grew worse than ever: Till at last I think by a suror uterinus ex corruptione Seminis, she seemed
possest by a Devil: In her Fits, many could not hold her, she would be cast off her Bed, and upon it again, by a force far above her strength, as the Beholders Judged: They shewed Needles and Pins, and Cords brought to her, none knew how, to kill her self: A Papist coming to Cure her their way, she told them of his coming far off, and laught at his Holy Water. In her fits she would Swear, Curse, and Rage against any that were Religious, and Hugg those that were Vicious, and be merry with them: Thus she continued from 1642 till 1646 or 1647. When I returned home, I went to see her, and Prayed once by her, and came to her no more. At last my praying Neighbours encouraged by their Success, for others resolved to joyn with some of Bewdley, to Fast and Pray by her, till she was recovered: While they were Praying, she was usually in violent Rage, and after thankt them; after many days, in the midst of the Day, while Mr. Tho. Ware of Kederminster was Praying, she fell on the Floor like a Block, and having lain so a while, cryed out, He is gone, He is gone; The Black Dog is gone: And she never had a Fit after.
But coming to our Lecture, two Miles, she was as uncomfortable as ever; crying to me, Oh, You know not how bad I am! And I ignorantly told her, what comfort her
Deliverance might give her: But she continued her Self-Accusing. But hear the worst.
She being poor, many good People in Charity look'd to her in her Fits: But, above all, one young Man, as far from being suspected of any Hypocrisie, Errour, or Vice, as any in Bewdeley, was more with her than the rest: And seeing her, in her Fits, toss her naked Body about, she being strong and comely, his Lust was provoked, which he exercised on her; but praeterjiciendo semen; which easing her for the time, enticed him the more to do it oft, as an Act of (Wicked) Compassion; which did but more Enrage her Disease: When frequency had hardened him, at last after her Deliverance, it was made known: And O the Advantage that Satan got by it! The sadness of those that Prayed for her: So that we durst not name it as an Answer of Prayer, left the mention should serve to a Reproach. For my part, I think that a Real possession was added to the furor uterinus, in punishment of their Sin. He Marryed her, and professed deep Repentance; but I advised them for all that, not to receive him to Church-Communion.
Colonel Rich of Stondon-Hall in Essex his Letter in relation to Mr. Tyro; together, with his Ladies relating to the same person.
Our Neighbour, Mr. Hatt, informing your desire to know from my self and Wife, the Relation of a Providence more than ordinary, with which Mr. Tyro was exercised before he came a Sick-Resident under my Roof, I must therefore refer you to the Account, which my Wife herewith gives you, the Truth whereof I am fully satisfied, which was from Mr. Tyro's own Mouth to her only, when I was at London, the Narrative of which, she gave me at large the same Night I returned Home, though I was confirmed in my Belief of it by some Discourse I had with him afterwards, during his Sickness, before which he and I perused several of your Tractates made publick, with a joynt-pleasing Approbation; especially, that which is intituled, The dying Thoughts; also another viz. The Crucifying the World by the Cross of Christ; we having a mutual satisfaction
in each others Converse; his Natural Parts, Gifts and Grace together, with his Holy Life, constrained my desire and endeavours to accommodate him to his last Breath, for I found him a true Disciple of Christ our Lord and Master, in whom I would also be found,
Your affectionate Servant,
London-Hall near linger in Essex, May 16. 1691.
The Lady Rich's Letter.
In Obedience to your desire by Mr. Hatt, to have it under my Hand, what he told you of Mr. Tyro, who was sent by Mr. Brand at Bishops-Hall near London, to Preach at Ungar in Essex; and to prevent mistakes, I think fit, in order to your Satisfaction, to give you this Account of him; and therein take occasion to let you know, how great an Honour and Esteem he had for you. Sir, I believe, had you known him, you would have rank'd him among those Worthies that you have help'd to Heaven, for he followed you as you follow Christ. About seven Weeks before his Death, when there was hope of recovery, he told me, he had something to tell me, that he had not imparted to any Body, and expressed it thus, When I was one Evening returning to my Lodging then at Ungar, from this House, being then in a good degree of Health, and in a serious frame, mediatating by the way, I heard a voice say, You shall die, and not pass your five and thirtieth Year of Age, which Voice astonished me greatly, and looking round about me, seeing no body, put me into great Consternation and Sweat all over me, such
as I never felt (though I dare not compare it to drops of Blood) yet I cannot express how dreadful it was. You know, Madam, my Principles, and that I am no Enthusiast, and how cautious I am as to Revelations. But I am sure this was no Melancholaly Fancy, but an auricular Voice. AFter I had a little recovered my self; I begg'd of God to discover to me, if this were from him, or a Delusion from Satan, but still the Impression remained, though I sought God by Prayer most part of that Night; and you may remember, in my next Visit, I told you, I should die shortly, but I did not tell you of the Voice I heard. And then he added, This my five and thirtieth Year of Age; in July next I shall be so old. And many other Expressions he added, which is too much for a Letter; but he died in January 1630. I cannot omit, Sir, to let you know, how much he desired the happiness of a personal Converse with you; though he did write to you formerly, when he was under great trouble of Conscience, and you were pleased to write to him again, though his Name was unknown to you, and God made you instrumental to his Relief and Comfort: He told me, whenever he heard you preach, there was such a Presence of God accompanied your Ministry, that he felt both Fear, and Trembling, and Joy possess him at once. He reading
some Book of yours, daily, whilst he was in my House, especially your Dying Thoughts, which on his Death-Bed, he sent, as the best token of his Love, to his Schoolmaster at Hackney, Mr. Odely, and shed many Tears upon it, calling it, The sweet and dear Companion of his Life, charging the Messenger to bid his Master read it, and prepare to follow him shortly.
I beg your Pardon for this long trouble, I could do no less than express this Kindness to the Dead, who yet speaks out your great Worth to me, desiring your Prayers, that his loss to so dark a Corner as ours is, may be Sanctified: And that your Life may be prolong'd in time, and you may have a full Reward in Eternity, is the Prayer of,
Your obliged and affectionate servant,
Stonden-Hall near Ungar in Essex, May 13. 1691.
How to Cite
Baxter, Richard. The Certainty of the Worlds of Spirits. ed. Kirsten C Uszkalo. The Witches in Early Modern England Project. 2011. [date of access]. <http://witching.org/>.