The Seven Women Confessors or a Discovery of the Seuen white Divels which liued at Queen-Street in Coven-Garden.

The Seven Women Confessors or a Discovery of the Seuen white Divels which liued at Queen-Street in Coven-Garden.
Viz Katherine Wels, Susan Baker, Anne Parker, Katherine Smith, Elinor Hall, Mary Jones, Dorathy Marsh
Whose Articles are herein declared and their mad pranks presented to the view of the world.

Discovered by John Stockden a Yeoman. Jan 22, 1641.

London. Printed for John Smith.

The Seven Women Confessors, or a Discoverie of the Seven White Divels, which lived at Queen-Street in Coven-garden.
Roman Papists are daily complain’d of, their names of late have bin so odious unto each Protestant, that they cry up and down England, down with them, down with them.

Nor is their cry unjust, so many distractions by them being caused, Jesuits, Priests, Friars, were once in England as plenty as Patientees, Promooters, or double feed Attornies. At which, was very much murmuring, many just reasons being given to the Parliament how prejudiciall their staying would be to the kingdome.? Whereupon the Honourable court of Parliament took it into their wise considerations, and one of the first things which they established was their banishment, against the time specified in the Proclamation, and those which were found slack in obeying the aforesaid Proclamation, were to suffer according to the Lives of England: some where suppos’d to fly away, but many were known to be left behind, wherof one is executed, and eight at this time are prisoners in New-gate. Not one of them being uncondemned: one of which was tried upon Monday being the 17 day of Jan. who being called to the Bar, he was asked whither he were a Jesuit or no: at which he seemed with a push, why was I brought bi her selfe; yes, I confesse to you all that I have bin a Jesuit above thirty years, and say unto you all, I think in my conscience that there is no such law is to condemn a man for his conscience.? Whereupon a Jury was called, who sat up


on him, guilty of death : whereupon hee was condemned to be draw, hang’d and quarter’d; at which seem’d not so much as to change his countenance, hoping to be reprieved as the rest before were.

But leaving him to his fortunes: by all good womens favours, I will treat of a late Discovery of some women Confessors, whole title although it be rude, yet is this Relation true.

Some certain women belonging to the Popish crew, perceiving that Jesuits, Priess, nor Fryers did dare publickly to shew their faces, impudently resolved to supply their places, and privately proclaimed themselves Confessors, ordained by Father Ciprian, their abode was in Queen-Street at Coven-garden.

Unto whom did daily many assemble themselves, not onely for absolution, but distraction.
Their Names are these:
Katherin Wels, Susan Baker, Anne Parker, Katherin Smith, Elinor Hall, Maior Jones, Dorathie Marsh

The manner of their absolution was thus.
He or she which came to be confessed, brought a piece of silver in hand, which was paid as an offering to the chiefe Matron Katherin Wels, then of all the seven might he chuse his Confessor, which goes presently into a room with them or her, but this by the way must be made known, that amongst these seven females Confessors was there but one old woman, which was Mistris Wels, the other young and handsome.? Either of which being privately confessing one, it was ten to one (unlesse she knew him well) if she did not make him confesse that his purse was gone: and to come thither to complain for it, no man durst, for fear of a good Fridays whipping out of Lent; for why, each of them where sworn to keep these Articles.

First, never to declare anything to Hereticks, which belong to their Sacred Order.

Secondly, never again to come unto them, unlesse in the dark.

Thirdly, that he should not question their holy Authority.

Fourthly, that whickednesse was never committed in that house.

Fifthly, to confesse all things to them, nothing being hid.

Sixtly, never to be confessed, by any man afterwards.

And lastly, if it were his fortune to ingender with any of the female Confessors, not to tell it to any of the rest.

And so the Pope must help him: by which way they stuffe their purses with gold, and their bellies with children, and then did not against their wils forsake their cheating Nunnery, the chiefe cause being discovered, by John Stockden, a plain Country fellow, who was willing to have a wench, but not to swear to their Articles.



How to Cite

Stockden, John. The Seven Women Confessors. ed. Kirsten C Uszkalo. The Witches in Early Modern England Project. 2011. [date of access]..

All site content copyright © Uszkalo except where noted. Images courtesy of the Wellcome Collection.