A Most Wicked Worke of a Wretched Witch
A most vvicked worke of a wretched Witch, (the like whereof none can record these manie yeeres in England.) Wrought on the Person of one Richard Burt, Seruant to Maister Edling of Woodhall in the Parrish of Pinner in the Countie of Myddlesex, a myle beyond Harrow.
Latelie committed in March last, An. 1592 and newly recognised according to the truth. By G.B. maister of Arts.
[illustration of a jester holding a staff with a head.]
Printed by R. B. for William Barley and are to be sold at his shop in Gratious Streat.
Of wrathfull witches this same paphlet tells,
How most of all on simple folke they worke.
What wonders to they may atchieue by spels,
God weede them out in euery cell they lurke,
Good weeds them out, but Satan stil doth hatch,
Fresh Impes, whereby of al sorts he may catch.
If any turne after such as worke with spirits and after soothsayers, to goe a whoring after them, then will I set my face against that person, and will cutte him off from amoug his people.
A most wicked worke of a wretched Witch, wrong on the person of one Richard Burt.
So long (righte Gentle and courteous Reader) as wee live here in this wretched vale of […] and miserable estate of our Probationership, we are all euen the best of us all, to account no better of our selves, then that we live in a perpetuall warrefare, and most dangerous and deadlie combat. Our Enimies that we are to fight against are in number three: The world, the Flesh, and the Dyvell: two wherof not withstanding (such is our blinde perseverance), the moste parte esteeme their entire friends, whereas indeed they are the hande-mynisters of our Archenimie, all under colourable friship deceiuing their familiars, and faking their death both of bodie and soule. Our graund foeman Sathan Architect of all mischiefe, in Scripture hathe many proper names, to explaine his malitious nature: Of his crueltie hee is called Abaddon, a Destroier, bicase that not like a common enimie hee is contented with the death and downefall of our bodies, but imagineth utter destruction of the soule also, and intolerable tormentes toyntlie to them both: Of his crafte hee is tearmed a Theefe, because he inventeth by what meanes he may […] and unwittinglie let upon the godlie. Of his malice is called Diabolus, an accuser, because euermore day and night he is busie, accusing the consciences of the righteous. He is named Dragon of his pollicie, because that since
the time of Adam, among to many thousands, in so many yeares, there hath beene founde none to wise or warie, that could withstand his stratagerns, but he hath wounded and poisoned them well nighe unto death. He hight a Lion also of his power, because that as the solide bodie of the Lion is powerfull: to especiallie consisteth great strengthe and power in his taile. We doubt not this advensarie, o[?] Apollyon of ours of himselfe is mightie, puissant, and strong enough againste [?]ach [?]aintie towards, and wilfull flo-backs as we are, yet to make his victorie more sure, and not faile of his purpose, he [breth?] also the force of his tayle : that is, his inhaled bondflaues, whom he hath sealed to execute his wil and pleasure upon the harmlesse, which is performed many times divers and sundry waies: neyther dooth he to bluaily thew his pollicie, puissance and power by anye his oficers, as he dooth by subtle [?demen] of fase bodrine, and inchanting sorcerers: the one in stead of instruments to inuelgle the mind and soule, the other to assaile the ino[?] talibodie, and beguile and untrappe the sences. I speake nothing of those plendoldmen, but I purpose (God willing) to treat of damnable Wytches, of their spight and spelles, odious in the fight of God, betsted of the good, and most hurtfull to themselves, manifesting what power and preminence through Gods permission , that father of sinne Sathan hath over sinfull worldlings. About Shrouetide last, one Richard Burt, servant to a Gentleman, named M. Edling, dwelling at Woodhall in the parishe of Pinner in Middlesex, a myle beyond Harrow on the Hill, going to his maysters barne, standing at the Townes ende, accompanied with a great massive dogge, suddenly espied an Hare dart before him, and thinking to have let his dogge at her, missed of his purpose: for the dogge not onely refused to follow, but in stead of following began to faint, and runne rounde about his maister, and
to whine pitifully, as who shoulde say that hinde of game was not for them: The man taking heartie grace himselfe, followed to nighe, that he saw her take in at one Mother Atkyns house, whome before that time he knew to be a notorious witche: Whereupon blessing himselfe, mindful of the name of God, he boldly said, avant witch. This was the first occasion (namely the tearming of hir a with) of al poore Richard Burts future tragedie: but to go forward. It hapned said Richard Burt a month after meeting hir naere to his maisters barne, and giving her the time of the daye, like a peruerse woman, like a perilous waspe, like a pestiferous witch, incensed with hate at the sight of him held downe hir head, not baigning to speake. The next day which was on Wednesday the 8 of march, going againe to his masters barne to thrath, a serue certaine beasts, because he would not trudge too and fro for letting his work, carried his dinner with him, which was bread, butter, cheese and applypy, a bottle of the best beer: being come to the barne he laide his provision, and settled close to his busines, labouring hard til twelve of the clock, at which time hunger assailing and custome preuailing, he went to dinner, wherin he had not long continued, but ther was opposite to his view a monstrous blacke Cat among the straw, which began to shake the strawe, and to make a wad thereof. The fellow being agast start up with his applepie in his hande (for it had byn pittie a poor hungrie threther should have lost so good a repast) suddenly hearing a voice that commanded him, come away: Away quod he, whither that I come? The Spirit answering againe, sayde: Come and leave thy vittles behind thee and thy knife also. Poore simplicity keeping his applypy stil in his hand, came to the barne bore, where suddenly hee was hoised up into the aire, and carried over many fields, by the way elpyeng his mai, plow a plowing, but not able to cal unto them, although he seemed to his memorie most perfect: thence passing over to Harrow, where on the side of the hille there
is a greate ponde was drawne through it, and there left his hat which was a token of that torture) because he could stay in no place, but was violentlie rapt up the hiil, and ouer the tops of the trees at Harrow Chruch, so farre he absolutelie remembreth, but being haled further, he was taken (as he seemeth) into a place which was all fire, where was heard such lamentable howling and dolefull crieng, as if all the damned fiends of hell had been tortured, and tormenten in that Limbo. You heare into how strange and passionate a place this Richard Burt was translated, now it remaineth to shewe with what Symtomes the place was furnished. First therefore (he affirmeth) it was exceeding yet replenished with more than Cymerian Darknesse, plentiful in filthy odors and stinches, ful of noise and clameurs, insomuch that hee seemed to heare infinite millions of discrepant noises, but saw nothing saue onelie the fire which caused such unquenchable drouth in his stomache, that presentlie minding a pennie hee had in his purse: looked round about for an Alehouse where he might spend it. Hearing therefore these foresaid voices, and thinking some of them had spake unto him, he answered sayeng, heer is no worke for me to doo: immediately it was reanswered, coast away with him, but with this prouiso thou passest that thou be secret, and say nothing when though comest home: but he replied, and said, my mother will aske me where I haue beene: with that he was suffered to speak any further, but his toong was doubled in his mouth, his legs burnt, hands and armes scorched, his coat pincht of his backe, and throwne into the face, immediately foring over hedges and ditches, sowled in mire and dure, scatched with thornes and briers, so singed and engulfed, that it is both lamentable and terrible to behold him. Being brought againe to Pinner where his Payster doth dwell, he hath repaired to a ditch to drinke, and afterwards
in this pickle biuted one of his acquaintance, whose sometime served M. Edling also: but whether hee forted thither for that his friends house was nighest, or would not go home for shame that hee had been absent foure whole daies together, I cannot shew you: Onlie this, being Sundaing morning his maister chanced (as his custome was to passé by that way to Church at that same instant, whoe not knowing poore Richard Burt his lost shape, demanded of his quondant servant if he had gotten him a man: a man sir quod he, why it is your man Richard: my man quoth the Gentleman, that cannot bee, and therewithall being halfe amazed made a pause and eanestliebiheld him, at length willing him in the name of God to tel where he had bin though he could not speake, yet hauing memory made signes and euermore pointed toward the house where mother Atkins did dwell, looking to griaie and fiercelie that waie, that he tore and rerit al that came in his hands. In the meane while, it was thought requisite, that the Parson of the towne named M. Smith, and mai, Burbridge of Pinner parke gentleman should be sent for, whoe coming to the dumbe man and pittieng his plight, the Parson charitably and like himselfe laboured about him, wrinched open his teeth got open his mouth, indented his finger under his toong, and with much adoo got it unfoulded, the first wordes he spake were these: Woe worth mother Atkins, woe worth mother Atkins, for she hath bewitched me: whereupon he would not be quiet, but ever requested that he might speak with hir. Maister Burbidge and P. Smith caused hir to bee sent for, who being present, he never cesed til he had scratched and drawne bloud on hir, perswading himselfe that was a remedy sufficient under God, that would make him well: neither was it or is it any Capital error, experience testifies: for since that he hath mended reasonablie, and nowe goeth to Churche.
Thus have you heard briefly the cares and crosses, that poore Richard Burt sustained (as they say) in summo gradu, the eigth, the ninth, tenth, and eleventh daies of march last past, what time bee was absent from his maister the foresaid whole daies, and bled (as ye have heard) after the foresaid manner. Then then leave we Richard Burt, but with mother Atkins we must prosecute a little further. It is credibly reported in Pinner, that the saide mother Atkins on a time resorting to the house of M. Burbidge for milke (at what time the maids were busie at the dairy and obtaining her desire, immediately upon hir departure out of the doores, the Creame beganne to swell and rise in the cherne, that it burst open the top of the Cherne, and runne about the kitchen and forth at the sinke-hole, and all their huswiferie for that day went to wracke, that al was quite left, and nothing could possiblie be well ordered. Drebels towards God: enemies to mankinde : catterpillers of a common wealth, the fire is too good to consume them. Many and sundry like actions of extreame rage and crueltie are imputed to her, only we will conclude, and shut up these clauses, with this that followeth. Not long since the forenamed witch entering the groud of the Gregorie Coulson, to craue some releeefe (for the lyueth of almes and good peoples charitie) she found him busily imploied about some countrie affaires, Radling his lambs (I think it was) and framing hir petition to him, because he did not straight waie leaue al and accomplish it she flung forth in a fume: But it was not longe after her departure, but he ahd finished his labour also, and letting forth two Lambs into a yard, suddenly they began so nimbly to skip and frilke to and fro, that they never ceased after til they died.
How to Cite:
B., G. A Most Wicked Worke of a Wretched Witch. ed. Kirsten C Uszkalo. The Witches in Early Modern England Project. 2011. [date of access]. <http://witching.org/>.