A Strange and Wonderful Relation of Margaret Gurr
Sometimes white, and sometimes black,
this Devil doth appear:
And oftentimes did her affright,
but she her God doth fear.
A Strange and Wonderful Relation of Margaret Gurr of Tunbridge, in Kent; shewing how she was afflicted with DEVILS as also, How they entred into her, and spake in her and tempted her to Kill her self; and how she was taken up by Devils and Witches and was flying in the Ayr.
Also, the marvelous Cures done by Dr. Skinner in these three counties, vix. Sussex, Surrey, and Kent, the like strange Cures hath scarce been done or heard of. If any doubt the truth of these things, most or all the people in the aforesaid counties will testifie the verity of these things, which was done by
Iohn Skinner, of Westram, in Kent, Student of Physick and Astrology.
Printed for I.W. I.C. W.T. and T.P.
Here followeth a most True and Certain Relation of the fearful and lamentable Condition of Margaret Gurr of Tunbridge, the Words that she spake, or were taken from her mouth, Verbatim as she spake them.
I Margaret Gurr, servant to Mr. Christopher Elderidge in the Parish of Tunbridge in Kent, had two Devils appeared to me about Ten of the Clock in the forenoon, one Sunday the 19th Day of July, 1681. One of these two Devils seemed to be in Gray Cloathing, and the other in Black: The black Devil was of little Stature and short, the gray Devil was of stout thick squat Stature; they both ran behind the Table that was in the Room. The gray Devil would have me hang my self with Clock-Lines that was in the Room; then the Devil told me, That if I would not hang my self with the Clock-Lines, I should put or thrust Knitting-Needles in my Ears, and so destroy or kill my self that way.
On the Wednesday following’, being July the 20th, 1681. This day I lay down on my Bed to take my rest, and there came the Gray Devil to me and lay down on the Bed by me, and he took me by the Wrists and Hands and held them so very tall, that I could not wag or stir them; and he griped and scrouged them so hard, that they swelled and aked all the day afterwards. This gray Devil snoar’d as he had been asleep by me all the while, and I would have risen but he would not let me; and as soon as it pleased God that I had power to wag or stir my self, this horrible Imp or Devil vanished out of my sight, and then I was in good ease: Then I went down the stairs to go about my work as well as I could, then was I soon taken with a most grievous pain in my Neck, and all the hinder side of my head being terribly pull’d and fearfully torn; these pains held me all the Afternoon: then there came and appeared to me the black Devil, in a most horrible and frightful shape, while I was in this extream pulling and tareing pains: he said not one word to me then, but stared in my face, and so he Vanished, and as soon as he was gone away, my pains were abated.
Then the 4th day of August, 1681. This day I was taken very sick; then came the
black Devil to me in a most ugly shape, and he entred my body and spoke in me, wishing sad Wishes, and most ughly Shreiking noises, and Rouring out Curses in me, and said to me, Curse and Swear as I do, and Wish such Wishes as I do, and you shall be well. Then again the 5th day of August, 1681.
This day there came unto me a Witch and she entred into me also, and spake in me with most hideous and strange Noises, saying unto me, Be as I am, and you shall be as well as ever you were in your Life, and go about your business as well as ever you did and I would have have you go to Doctor Skinner that Devil for help, nor take none of his Physick.
This 5th day of August she continued speaking in me continually, saying; Do as I say, and do as I would have you, and be as I am, for I am a Witch, a Witch. I am a Witch, do as I say and be as I am, and you shall be well. Thus she continued speaking in me all day, and all the day I was in a most lamentable pain in my Limbs, with shakings and tremblings, and always when I went to Prayers, I was tempted not to Pray, but Curse and Sware and my Mouth was strangly drawn a[..]live, that I could not speak to Pray,
then my mouth, nor could I shut my mouth when it was open; but my mouth sometimes was shut up, and at other times held wide open.
August the 6th day, 1681. This day as I went to fetch somet Pails of Water, I was hitcht up by the Devils, and was carried about with them, flying in the Air.
Doctor Skinner told me I should pray when I was tempted, but I was over-power’d and overperswaded by them, and yielded to them, and then was I the second time flying in the Air; but when I could Pray and did not yield to these Temptations, then I […] pretty well, and in good ease, when I remembered Doctor Skinners words.
Again the Witch spoke in me with so loud, sudden, and fearful a voice, that I was seamly affrighted, and in a most lamentable manner I trembled and shoke: She […] but in me with a most doleful voice, […]ng, Go you not to that Devil Doctor Skinner for help, for if you do, I am uttering […]le.
While I was in the Chamber with the […] Devil, there was most strange voice […] down the Stairs by my Master and […], viz. Great Lumberings and Clatter[…] as if the Chairs and Stools had been
thrown about the Chamber, as if the whole house had been falling down, so that […] frighted them, and all the whole family, insomuch that had not I been speedily cured, my Master and Mistress and all the whole family must have been forced to have left the house.
My Master and Mistress often went to Prayers with me, and Prayed for me often, yet all did not good, so that at the last I was got to such a pass, and so carried up and down with the Devils and the Witch, that there was continual Noises and Voice speaking in me, and I was always moveable, vix. Nor in peace nor quietness, either standing, sitting, or lying, nor could my Mallet and […] ever be at quiet, but in fear; so with my strange actions and amazing frightful looks, they were always Terrified; But with the Blessing and help of God, Doctor Skinner cast out the Devils and Witch out of my body; and also Cured me of the Scurvy and Gout, and all within the compass of twelve days, in which time with a Physical, Natural and other means used, I was perfectly restored to my former health; neither hat those Devils ever attempted to meddle with me since, but I now continue in Health both of Sould, Body, and Mind, and I have been a very fresh,
lively, and cheerful Countenance, and am very well. Moreover, here is to be Noted, the wonderful Blessing and love of God to me, his poor handmaid, That before this great affliction was laid upon me, I knew not any Letters in the Bible or Testament, but since my enduring this heavy punishment, (or Hell upon Earth) I can now learn my Book, and am wonderfully delighted in reading and spending all my spare time in Prayers, and meditating on the word of God. For I was for the most part of my life much given to Prayers, and would often pray when I was alone and had leasure, so that it was not for any vicious and wicked life that I have led (as it is well known to all that know me) that the Lord laid these sore Afflictions upon me, but, I hope for my good; knowing that Those whom the Lord loved he Chastizeth; So that my trust may be always in the Lord my God, and my loss may henceforth become my gain; for to my great comfort, I can now read the Divine word of God, which before I could not.
All the while I was in this desolate condition, my Brothers nor any of my friends came neer me, but all forsook me, they hearing how I was tempted and tortured with Witches and Devils above a hundred times to curse and swear in my Prayers, before the Devil appeared to me: so that now I am well, my own Brother will as
soon as he sees the at a diffance, be gone out of my sight, and not speak a word to me, being still afraid of me, so that I have no comfort from them, Hebrew 12. 6, 7, 8. But having undergone the Rod of Gods Correction here now in my youth, I take courage, hoping that as I grow in years, to grow in Grace, as David did when he said, (Psalm 199. 71.) It is good that I have been afflicted, that I might learn the Statues. Psal. 34. 19. Many are the afflictions of the Righteous, but the Lord delivers them out of all. Therefore let none think so hard to be Tempted, seeing that our Lord and Maker (Mat. 4. 5.) was Temted and carried about of Devils as well as I; The Servant is not greater than his Lord.
To Conclude, I desire all good People, consider their latter end, and be servent in Prayer lest they enter into Temptation; Therefore we ought to be armed with Patience, 1. Pet. 1. Ephe. 6. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. Ia. 1. 8. For the manifestation of the truth of the things I have hereunto set my hand,
Tunbridge in Kent. Margaret Gurr.
In the presence of these four Witnesses.
Christopher Elderidge and his Wife, and A[…]ry Marlot, and William Tully.
Here followeth a Relation of a Male Servant, about 17 years of Age, who was possest with a Devil in the shape of a Greay-hound.
Henry Chowning, living in the Parish of Hadlaw in Kent, had a sevent-Boy about the age of seventeen years; he was much inclind to read the Scriptures, and lively enough, and a good Servant, and healthy: his Master sent […]n out in his ground, where he had not been […]ing, but there appeared unto him a Spirit in
the form of a Grey-hound, which made towards him, and spoke, saying, You must go into Virginia; it said no more, but vanished; the Boy immediately went home and told his Master of what he had seen, but he came home in a great fright, and as it were amazed, and looked very strangely, after that he grew worse and worse, and after a strange manner he would fix his eyes, and was extream melancholy, and his Speech began to fail, all People supposing him to be under an evil Tongue or bewitcht, the Boy growing worse and worse, they were resolved to look out for help, for they fear’d the Boy would make away with himself, and they were much troubled thereat.
His Master hearing of the many Cures I have done, brought him over to me, and after I had examined the business and well consider’d of it, I found he was possest with the Devil, for, it was as it were in amaze, and his eyes were always fixed in his head, and I had much ado to get him to speak a word, but by any urging of him, he did confess that he was tempted in his mind, and was led on and tempted to strange things, as to go to Sea, and matters that he was not able to mention; so that when I rightly understood his condition, and pains and after what manner he was taken, and his temptation did increase upon him, I understood what the
means must be that must relieve him, and gave order for the putting up of Medicines, for the means must be speedy, or else it cannot be performed: he was very willing to take or make use of any means, and I ordered his Mother to come to me the next week, or when he had made use of those things; so she did, and brought me news he was much amended, to the admiration of many that heard how it was with him, with those that came to me at Tunbridge, marched to inquire how he did? He said then he was at all troubled, but onely with a pain in his belly, so that he had something more sent him, and by Gods help was made perfectly well in 18 days time, neither hath any thing attempted to trouble him since in the least: when I got the Boy to spake, (which was with much ado) his Speech was not according to a natural speech of his body, but as if something did make a noyse within him, or as if he spoke through the Nose (as we call it) for it was not his own speech, but the Spirit or Devil within him, that tempted him also, and told him many strange things: The Boy seemed to amend while he was in the room with me, for when he went away with his Master, he could not talk and speak much better, and was abundantly more lively. I undertook the Cure at a price, as by bargaining with his Master for what I should have, taking one half of the money
in hand, and the rest I was to have when I was done the Cure and cast out the evil Spirit or Devil out of him, and at the fourth nights end, his Master came and payed me for the Cure, for the Boy was as well as ever he was.
Here followeth Two Wonderful and Miraculous CURES which was (by the help of God) performed by me in a short time.
Mr. Woldredge, living at West-Chit[…]ington in Sussex, his Daughter Susan had the Evil in her Eyes, and a great Rheum and inflammation followed it: she had been with others before she came to me; her father came over and asked my advice, I told him she would be well and bid him go home; so he did, but soon after his Daughter was in extream misery with swelling and raging pain in her Eyes, insomuch that she thought certainly she would have lost her Eye, but on a sudden it began to mend, and was st[…] better and better; her father came again, and send her a Purge with some other matter, and she was in a short time made perfectly well, and
[…] continued ever since, being hir hearsay [….]: her friends much rejoiced and well rewarded me.
[….] West-Grustee, in Sussex, this Woman had the Evil in her Throat, and hearing of my Cures, did desire one […] Archpoll to pray me to meet her at Ashington-Fair, as I did, and talked with her, so at that time I had nought to give her; but did offer her to come over, and she did promise she would; but I did hear no more of her; so I bid […]ader […] Archpoll to inquire why she did not come, so she did, and the Woman said she had no need, for she found her self begin to mend from that same time, and was not perfectly well: and the truth of this same Relation, the aforementioned […] Archpoll in Sussex can testifie.
One Goody Halle at Seavenock in Kent, had the most lamentable pain her head, neer her Eye, the like to make her distracted, for she was in lamentable pain night and day, and could never at rest; she had been with many Doctors, and took much Physick of them, but ere no good: she came to me, and was at ease immediately, and […] Cured from that time: I sent her home with some Medicines, and now she remains in vivide and perfect health.
How to Cite
Skinner, John. A Strange and Wonderful Relation of Margaret Gurr. ed. Kirsten C Uszkalo. The Witches in Early Modern England Project. 2011. [date of access]. <http://witching.org/>.