A true and perfect relation of a Boy
A true and strange relation of a boy Who was entertained by the Devill to be Servant to him with the consent of his Father, about Crediton in the West, and how the Devill carried him up in the aire, and shewed him the torments of Hell, and some of the Cavaliers there, and what preperation there was for Goring and Greenvile against they came.
Also how the Cavaliers went to robbe a Carrier, and how the Carrier and his Hourses turned themselves into flames of fire.
With a Coppie of a Letter from Maior Generall Massie, concerning these strange and wonderfull things, with a certaine Box of Reliques and Crucifixes found in the Tiverton Church
London, Printed by J, H. 1645.
A true and perfect relation of a Boy that bound himself Apprentice to the Devill, and related what Cavaliers he saw tormented in HELL.
That the Devill hath bin a grand imposter ever since the worlds infancie, and doth still prosecure his invererate enmity against Adams Progenie, seeking by variety of stratagems and cunning delusions, first to entrap, and then utterly to subvert all men of what Ranke or Qualitie soever: is such an infallible Axiom and Tenent of Christianitie, as needs no further proofe; considering that every day proceedeth one or other memorable passage, wherein is detected the policie of that roaring Lyon, who by divine permission doth insinuate himself with the Children of disobedience, and stirres them up to the perpetrating of most odious and execrable actions; but in the end payes them home, with the due reward of all their delinquencies, so that their very memorie is abhorred of all posteritie.
The matter which we are now to treate of may seeme to passe the bounds of humane conceit and credulity, but if wee duly examine that divers subjects of the like nature have issued from the Pens of most worthy and approved Authors both ancient and moderne, wee need not question any of the circumstances here inferred. For that Satan can transforme himselfe into an Angell of light, is sufficiently testified by holy Writ, and appeareth in that in that notable delusion which he puts upon Saul at his reparing to the Witch of Endor about the raising up of Samuells Chot. But to be briefe, the verity of this subsequent treatise is already confirmed by sundry persons of good ranke
and quality inhabiting about the place where it happened as I shall briefly declare.
In the County of Devon at a Market Town called Bow, liveth one John Buxford by profession a Wolsted-comber having a son named Joseph, aged fifteene years or thereabout, whome he had bound Apprentice to a Weaver, named Simon Culsver dwelling in Crediton: this Joseph being a stubborne and untowardly Boy, could not brooke his Masters service, but after a Moneths time secretly departed away to the Kings Army with one Byerly a Leiutenant to a Troop of House in the Lord of Cleavelands Brigade, with whom he continued a roguish course of life; most of this last Summer till the defeat with the Cavaliers received at Langport-Moore, where the Leiutenant his Master lost his Hourse, and cloathes, and the Boy was stripped and tured into rages: so that seeing no probability to be furnished with apparell from his Master, he came home to the old man his father, who cloathed him and would have had him returne to the Weaver againe, but no perswasions or entreaties could prevaile or worke upon the forward disposion of this obstinate and disobedient Boy, which so incensed the old man, that he swore in great fury, that he would not consent to goe to the Weaver, he would bin him Apprentice to the Devill, which rash and in considerate threatenings, he often times used and repeated, but perceiving that words tooke small effect, he determined to take a more rigerous course, and shortly put the same in execution.
Upon the fifth day of November in the morning, he charged the Boy to prepare himself for to goe along with him to Crediton, which the Boy presently refused, saying he would rather go to the Devill: whereupon the old man taking him by the arme did fall a beating of him, so that by meere force compelled him along, (the Boy all the time afing many bitter execrations, and the father bestowing many grievous stripes up on his shoulders) continuing this posture for above halfe a miles distance from the Towne, which they met with a Carrier driving before him foure Houses loaden with packes of Cloath, who seemed to this John Buxford to be one whome he had often observed to frequend the Roade. The Carrier very courtiously demanded of him why he used such severitie towards the boy; wherepon he willing to satisfie him, told him all the circumstances of his
Sonnes refractory behaviour in running from his Master, and his unwillingnes to take any good course of life, or honest vocation for his future maintainance. The Carrier replyed, that, it was pitty the Boy should miscarry by undertaking a forced service upon him: But if they two could agree, and that the Boy were willing to goe along with him, he doubted not but he should find a Master for him, and such employment as would put him in the way so gaine a compleat estate to maintaine himself and helpe his friends. But the old man willingly listed to the Carriers proposition, and being very desirous to provide for his sons good, (as the naturall affection of all Parents towards Children doth greatly oblige) was content that he should goe a long with the Carrier, who condtioned with him to bring or send backe the Boy in eight daies time at the furthest, if he should not take likeing of the promised service, thus all parties have concluded, the Boy being more inclined to any service then to live with his old Master the Weaver. The old man took his leave of them both, bequeathing his sonne Ioseph to the hopefull tuition and custodie of this supposed Carrier.
No sooner was he departed out of their sight, but suddainely ensued the beginning of this stupendious Miracle, the ending whereof is able to amaze each curious inquisitour, that studies to prie in the Cabinet of Divine or Humane Misteries, for in the first place, the Houses and Packes vanished, the timorous Boy beholds his new Master metamorphosed in a trice from a man to a flying Hourse in a black and ugly shape and colour; who now proves so officious to his Servant, that he will carry him upon his owne back, and so snatches him up forthwith into the aire through which he hurrie; him with violence and motion swifter then imagination, so that this new Rider was quickly mounted above the midle Region the earth seemed unto him of a very small proportion, London and other magnificent Cities on greater then small Cottages: and having measured the wast concave of the Moone with more curiosity then Tyche Branche, or the subtillest Astrologer could ever invent; they descend by and by Torrentimile with a more precipitious motion then the Catatacts of the seven headed Nite, and so are plunged into the vast Caverners Neptune, in whose watrie dominions (during the time of this short and miraculous transportation) the Boy observed the most strange and unutterable wonders of the deepe diversified in more severall peeces
then the wisest Phoylosophers have hitherto at any time mentioned or expressed, at lengththey came into a profound Cell or Cave, (the earth seeming to open it selfe) as the swallowing up of Korah, Datham and Abiram.
The Devill now dischargeth his burthden, and assumeth a more terrible shape then that of the flying Horse, saying to his Guest: Bee not dismayed, thy employment here shall be onely to take a view of divers men, who thou hast formerly seene or knowne in the Malignant Army, whose base course of life have occasioned their suddaine and unexpected deaths, and now are sent to me to receive their due recompence for the same. Where upon there instantly insued a most hideous and fearfull howling, and a great many gastly apparitions presented themselves before him, amongst whome he observed many whome he supposed to have seene before Langport fight, who bitterly bewailed their insupportable paine in these words, Woe, Woe, unto us that ever we undertooke the defence of such an unjust Cause: But that which made the greatest impression the distracted fancy of this wretched Spectator was the first of Sir Peter Ball, (one of the Commissioners of Excester lately deceased) lying all along after a strange manner, his Legs and Feet schorching in furious flames, his Buttockes upon a Crediton, his Backe and Shoulders in a frying pan, his Head in a boyling kettle of pitch, bellowing and roaring out in grievous sort, and cursing the hour of activity, with his extorting, coveteousnesse, and cheating of the Country. There was preparation made for Greenvile and Goring, whose places was allotted unto them close by Sir Peter Ball, there to stand with three furies attending upon them whose Office was foure Ladies of Scalding Acomite downe their belching throats. Not long after came in the Lady Scot, Gofings sister, being ushered by that immeasurable luxurie and perjured Caytiffe Greenvile, who was to behung up by the tongue upon hot burning tender hooks: Lastly appeared the Lady Dolkeat, Nurse to the young Princesse lying at Bedford House in Excester. All these and infinite more were confined to their severall stations of tormend, whose confused eiulations and waylings were too tedious here to relate but were in fine so full of dread and horrour to this wretched Boy, that he earnestly wished himselfe out of this place, to undergoe any servitude though never so miserable and deplorable.
The time being now expired accoding to the former contract made which this arch enemy of mankind, whose power extends no further then God hath limited; the Boy Joseph was conveyed backe again to a place named Cannon Lee in Devon, where he was found by two honest Labourers being servants to Mr. Justice Cullum living there, who first espied him under a Hedge, and comming to him demanded what he was, but receiving no answer but onely signes with his Head, they perceived that he was speechlesse, and his hands and legs strangely distorted, his haire of his head singyd, his cloathes all be smeared with pitch and rosin, and other sulfurous matter, which yeelded an odious stench; but they commiserating his miserable condition, tooke him up betwixt them and carried him home to there Masters house, where he was shifted and put in a warme bed, and shortly after by meanes of some nourishing broth given him, was so well revived that he then declared unto them his name, birth-place, and his strange journey with the Devill, which seemed at first rediculous to the Justice and most which heard him, but then a little better pondering in what manner he was found and brought to the house, he sent for the old man his father, who comming thither, acknowledged him to be his sonne, and manner of his departure, with other circumstances above rehearsed: There were present Mr. Jonathan Gainwell a very zealous and godly Minister of the Parish, who tooke speciall notice thereof and gave the Boy very pious admonitions of obedience, which by Gods grace tooke such good effect, that hee there delivered good testimonies that he was truely penitent of his former lewd courses and there reconciled himselfe to his father, with whom he now liveth and is almost cured of that distortion of his members.
A true information was sent by Justice Cullum and Mr. Gainwell the Minister, unto Major Generall Massie at Tiverton, of all these procedent circumstances related unto them by the old man and his sonne, which for the noveltie thereof was much admired by all that ever heard it.
The Coppie of a Letter from Maior Generall Massie, to Mr. Davenports Cheshire Gentleman now resident in LONDON.
I lately received your Letter wherein you give me notice that my busines is much retracted, and hath not obtained that happie issue which I expected it should have done. We have no news at present, but such as I suppose is already come to your earse, onely this wonder here inclosed the true Relation whereof I received from Mr. Cullum of Cannons Lee, a Gentleman of approved integritie and astimation in this County: I have sent you by this bearer a Box of Reliques with a great Crucifix found in Tiverton Church in the wall which the Cavaliers had there built for the strenghtning of the proch, which way serve as a sufficient argument to convince your wives good opinon, which she formerly conceived of those Champions of Antichirst the Cavaliers, you shall doe me a favour, if you please, to hasten Mr. East about the finishing of my Watch, and send me halfe a pound of the best sealing wax, I remaine
From Tiverton, Your faithfull Friend
Nob. 18. 1645. Edward Massie.
The same day that the Devill departed from the Boy where the Labourers found him, happened another strange thing worth the relating. The Devill assumed his former shape of the Carrier, and was encountred upon the way by stragling Troopers of the Malignant Party, who viewing such faire horses made themselves sure of rich purchase, and presently addressed themselves to plunder, but as they went about it to the Carrier and his Horses suddainely vanished away in the flames of fire, leaving three of those Plunderers dead in the place, the rest so terribly shaken and almost stifled with the noisome sent of Brimstone, that they hardly escaped to carry newes in this strange accident.
How to Cite
Anon. A true and perfect relation of a Boy. ed. Kirsten C Uszkalo. The Witches in Early Modern England Project. 2011. [date of access]. <http://witching.org/>.