The witches of Huntingdon
The witches of Huntingdon, their examinations and confessions; exactly taken by his Majesties justices of peace for that county. Whereby will appeare haw craftily and dangerously the devill tempteth and seizeth on poore soules. The reader may make use hereof against hypocrisie, anger, malice, swearing, idolatry, lust, covetousnesse, and other grievous sins, which occasioned this their downfall.
To The Right Worshipfull the Justices of the Peace for the County of Huntington
(opening letter continued)
The Witches of Huntingdon, Their Examinations and Confessions exactly taken, &c.
The Examination of Elizabeth Weed of great Catworth in the County of Huntingdon, Widow, taken upon the last day of March, 1646, before Robert Bernard, and Nicholas Pedley, Esq, two of his Majesties Justices of the peace for this County.
She saith, that about one and twenty yeares since the being saying her Prayers in the evening about bedtime, there did appeare unto her three Spirits, one in the likeness of a young man or boy, and the other two of two Puppies, the one white and the other black: and that which was in the shape of a young man did speak unto her, asking her, if shee would renounce God and Christ; shee answered, shee would. And the Devill then offer’d her, that hee would doe what mischiefe she should require him; and said she must covenant with him that he must have her soule at the end of one and twenty years, which she granted. And saith, that he came to her about a week after, about ten of the clock in the night, with a Paper, and asked her whether she were willing so seale the Covenant, shee said she was, then he told her it must be done with her bloud, and so pricked her under her left
arme and made her bleed in the place: A great lumpe of flesh did rise, and hath encreased ever since, and he scribed therewith. And being demanded what light was there, she answered, none by the light of the Spirit, and presently he came to bed her, and the carnall knowledge of her, and so did divers times after, and saith, the other two Spirits did then, and at other times come into her bed also, and suckt upon other parts of her body where shee had Teats. Being demanded the name of the lesser Spirits, shee saith the name of the white one was Lilly, and the blacke one Priscill; and that the office and that the office of Lilly was to hurt man, woman or chiled; and the office of Priscill was to hurt Cattell when she desired. And the office of the man-like Spirit was to lye with her carnally, when and as often as she desired, and that hee did lye with her in that manner very often; and that the Spirit Lilly, acchording to the Covenant, did kill the childe of Mr. Henry Bedells of Catworth aforesaid, as shee this Examinate desired him to do; and that she wisht him to doe the same when she was angrie; but doth not well remember for what: and saith, that about two or three days before that, shee sent the same Lilly to the said Henry Bedells commanding him to kill him, who returned and said hee had no power: and confesseth shee sent her said Spirit another time to doe some hurt to Edward Musgrave of Catworth, aforesaid, who likewise returned answer, he had no power: And that she sent her Spirit Priscill to kill two horses of the said Edward Musgraves, and one of John Musgraves, and to kil one Co[w] of William Musgraves, and one Cow of Thomas Th[or]ps of the same town, which as done accordingly. And being demanded when the one and twenty yeares would be out, she answered about Low-Sunday next, to the best of her remembrance, and being further demanded what was the reason, she did duly resort to Church to Sermons, & also to the Ministers house to repetition, which Mr. Poole the Minister being present did afire; she saith, she was well pleased with his preaching, and had a desire to be rid of that unhappy burthen which was upon her. And further she saith not.
The Examination of John Winnick of Molseworth in the said County, Labourer, taken upon the 11 day of Aprill, 1646 before Robert Bernard Esquire, one of His Majesties Justices of the Peace for this County.
Hee saith, that about 29 yeares since, the 29th yeare ending about Midsommer last past, he being a Batchellour, lived at Thropston with one Bureman, who then kept the Inne at the George, and withal kept Husbandry: This Examinate beinga servant to him in his husbandry, did then loose a purse with 7 s. in it, for which he suspected one in the Family. He saith that on a Friday being in the barne, making hay-bottles for his horses about noon, swearing, cursing, raging, and wishing to himself that some wise body or (Wizzard) would helpe him to his purse and money again: there appeared unto him a Spirit, blacke and shaggy, and having pawes like a Beare, but in bulk not fully so big as a Coney. The Spirit asked him what he ailed to be so sorrowfull, this Examinate answered that he had lost a purse and money, and knew not how to come by it againe. The Spirit replied, if you will forsake God and Christ, and fall down & worship me for your God, I will help you to your purse and mony againe. This Examinate said he would, and thereupon fell down upon his knees and held up his hands. Then the Spirit said, tomorrow about this time of the day, you shall find your purse upon the floor where you are now making bottles, I will send it to you, and will also come myself. Whereupon this Examinate told the Spirit he would meete him there, and receive it, & worship him. Whereupon at the time prefixed, this Examinate went unto the place, and found his purse upon the floore and tooke it up, and looking afterwards into it, he found there all the money what was formerly lost: but before he had looked into it, the same Spirit appears unto him and said, there is your purse and your money in it: and then this Examinate fell downe upon his knees and said, my Lord and God I thanke you. The said Spirit at that
time brought with him two other Spirits, for shape, bignesse, & colour, the one like a white Cat, the other like a grey Coney: and while this Examinate was upon his knees, the Beare Spirit spake to him, saying, you must worship these two Spirits and you worship me, and take them for your Gods also: then this Examinate directed his body towards them, and call’d them his Lords and Gods. Then the Beare Spirit told him that when he dyed he must have his soule, whereunto this Examinate yielded. Hee told him also that they must suck of his body, to which this Examinate also yielded, but they did not sucke at that time. The Beare Spirit promised him that he should never want victualls. The Cat Spirit that it would hurt cattel when he would desire it. And the Coney-like Spirit that it would hurt men when he desired. The bear Spirit told him that it must have some of his blood wherewith to seale the Covenant, whereunto this Examinate yeelded, and then the beare Spirit leapt upon his shoulder, and pricked him on the head, and fr[om] thence tooke blood: and after thus doing, the said Spirits came to him while hee was in the field, and told him the were come to such of his body, to which he yielded, and they sucked his body at the places where the marks are found, and from that time to this, they have come constantly to him once every 24 hours, sometimes by day, and most commonly by night.
And being demanded what mischiefe he caused any of the said Spirits to do, he answered never any, onely hee sent his beare Spirit to provoke the Maid-servant of Mr. Say of Molmesworth to steal victualls for him out of her Masters house, which she did, and this Examinate received the same.
The marke of John Winnicke.
The examination of Francis Moore, taken before Nicholas Pedley Esq., one of his Majesties Justices of Peace for this County, the ninth day of April 1646.
This Examinate saith, that about eight yeares since she received a little black puppy from Margaret Simson of great Catworth, which dog the said Margaret had in her bed with her, & took in thence when she gave it to the Examinate: The Examinate further saith, that the said Margaret told her, that she must keep that dogg all her life time; and if she cursed any Cattell, & set the same dog upon them, they should presently dye, and the said Margaret told her that she has named it already, his name was Pretty.
And the said Examinate further saith, that about the same time one goodwife Weed gave her a White Cat, telling her, that if she would deny God, and affirme the same by her bloud, then whomsoever she cursed and set that Cat unto, they should dye shortly after. Whereupon this said Examinate saith that shee did deny God, and in affermation thereof shee pricked her finger with a thorne, whence issued bloud, which the Cat presently licked; and the said goood-wife Weed named the cat Tiffy. And the said Examinate further saith, that one William Foster, about sixteen years since, would have hanged two of her children for offering to take a piece of bread; and for that cause about sixe yeares since she cursed the said William Foster; whereupon the white Cat went to him, and he immediately fell sick, any lying in great paine for the space of seven or eight dayes, and then dyed: but being demanded what the Cat did to him, or what she bid it doe, she saith she remembers not. And shee further saith, that about five yeares since, shee keeping Cowes in the field, a Cow of Edward Hulls went into the graine, she cursed her, and set Pretty on her, and she swelled and dyed shortly after; and after that a Cow of one Peter Brownes went into the Corne, and shee likewise cursed her, and set Pretty on her, and she dyed within two
or three dayes after: and she further saith, that she killed the said Dog and Cat about a yeare since; and yet after that the like Dog and Cat haunted her familiarly: and when she was apprehended, they crept under her cloathes, and tortured her so that she could not speake, to confesse freely, and more she saith not.
The Marke of
The Information of Peter Slater of Little Catworth in the said County, Shepheard, taken upon oath, before Robert Bernard Esq; one of his Majesties Justices of Peace for this County, upon the 7th day of April. 1646.
This Informant saith, That his wife dying about one and twenty yeares since in Child-bed, and one Frances Moore being suspected for a Witch, & in custody: He went to her upon Friday last, and asked her, if she did his wife any harme? she answered she did, by cursing her. And he saith, his wife did of a sudden change and dye, after she had lain in a week; and that a little before this Informants wife was brought to bed, the said Frances Moore falling out with her, said, she hoped she should never be untwin’d, as this Informant hath since called to minde.
The Information of William Searle of little Catworth, Yeoman, taken upon oath the said day and yeare.
This Informant saith, he was present when Frances Moore did confess her selfe to be a Witch, and that shee had done much harme; and amongst other things, that she sent her Spirit Pretty to this Informants Capons, who did kill them: and hee saith, that she coming to bake a loafe at his house about three or four yeares since, being denyed, the Capons did fall a fluttering, and would never eate after. Also saith, that about the said time, she having a Hogge in his yard, some of his servants set a Dog on the same; for which she said she would bee revenged; and the next day one of his Hogs dyed.
The Examination of Elizabeth Chandler of Keiston, Widow, taken the seventh day of Aprill, 1646. before Robert Bernart and Nicholas Pedley Esquires, two of his Majesties Justices of the Peace for this County.
Shee saith that something hath come to her five times within this little space, and that there was about a weekes space between their coming to her, and that the last time was upon Satterday seven-night last in a puffing and roaring manner. And
she saith that she found her body sore about the bottom of her belly after he was gone from her. She saith she did never willingly invoke or imploy the same, but hath prayed to God to deliver her therfrom. Being demanded whether she did heretofore strike a childe of Goodwife Darnells of Keiston, named Katherine, or send any Spirit to harm it, she denyeth the same: being asked whether she did heretofore use any means to spoile the Furmity of the said Goodwife Darnell or any other, she answered no; she confesseth that about two years since, having received some hard usage from the said Goodwife Darnell, by causing her to be ducke, she did heartily desire to be revenged of her. And about halfe a yeare after, and ever since, she hath been troubled with the said roaring things. Being demanded whether she had not two Imps resorted to her, and that she named the same, calling the one Beelzebub, & the other Trullibub: She denyeth the same, only saith she did call a logg of wood Beelzebub, and a sticke Trullibub.
The Information of Mary Darnell the Wife of William Darnell of Keiston, Blacke-smith; taken upon oath the said seventh day of April, for the said Justices.
She saith that about a year since, she had a daughter named Katherine, which was them about the age of nine yeares, which childe was eating Furmity with another childe brought up by Elizabeth Chandler at the house of one William Browning in Keiston aforesaid: at which time the said two children fell out as she heard. And this Informants child did expres when she came home that Goodwife Chandler had given it a boxe of the Eare, & complained of that eare so long as it lived, which was [from] that
day 3 weeks: and during the time that it did lye ill, it did squeal and shreek out very often, that Goodwife Chandler did come to her and would kill her. And she saith, that about a yeare since she made some Furmity, and bid some Neighbours to the house: but when the same was taking up, it did continue boyling for an houre after it was taken from the fire, and she could not keepe it from running over, although she put in into great bowles, tubs, ad other large vessells. And she hath heard Lewis Carmell say that she confessed she did cause it to be spoiled by Beelzebub, because she was not bid to it, nor had any part thereof.
The Examination of Ellen the Wife of William Shepheard of Molesworth in the said County, Labourer, taken the 8th day of Aprill, 1646. before Robert Bernard and Nicholas Pedley, Esquires, two of His Majesties Justices of the Peace for the said County.
Shee saith, that about five yeares since, when shee was in her homsted at Molesworth, swearing and cursing about the discords of her children, there appeared unto her a Spirit, somewhat like a Rat, but not fully so big, of an iron-grey colour, and said you must goe with me, and she said, I will not, avoid Satan, and thereupon he went away. Shee saith, that within a short time after, going into the field, cursing, and fretting, and blaspheming, there appeared three Spirits more with the former in the fashion of Rats, of an iron-grey, and said, you must forsake God and Christ, and goe with me, and take those spirits for your Gods, and you shall have all happinesse, whereunto she consented: And moreover they said unto her, that when she dyed, they must have her body and soule, and said, they must have blood from her,
which she granted, and thereupon they sucked her upon and about her hippes, and they have used very often to come to her since. Being demanded whether ever she imployed them to hurt any reasonable creature or beast, she saith she did not: And she saith that some of them did torment her this afternoon, since she was brought to Huntington to be examined. Being demanded whether she enjoyed any happinesse (as they promised) since they frequented her, she saith she did not, but doth intend to leave her former course of cursing and swearing.
Rob. Bernard, Nic. Pedly
The information of Thomas Becke of Bythorn in Com. Hunt. Yeoman, against Anne Desborough, taken upon oath before Nicholas Pedley Esquire, one of His Majesties Justices of the Peace for the said County, the 9th day of April 1646.
This Informant saith, that Anne Desborough Widow of Bythorn aforesaid, being apprehended upon suspition of being a witch on the 8th day of this present April, he in the presence of Master Coysb and others, heard the said Anne Desborough (in answer to questions asked her) freely confesse, that about 30 yeares since, there appeared unto her a thing somewhat bigger then a mouse, of a browne colour, when she lived at Titsmarth in the County of Northhampton, she being in bed and asleep, which nipped her on the breast and awakened her, then it told her that is must have part of her soule: she prayed then to God, and it left her at that time, and the said Informant heard the said Anne further say, that about five or sixe dayes after, the same mouse appeared againe to her with another much like the former, it being a little lesse then the former, and had a white bellie: then the mouse that came first
said, we must abide with you, and sucke your bloud, she said that they should. About three dayes after both the mice came to her againe, and told her that she must forsake God and Christ: and when she dyed, they must have her soule, to all which she yielded: this Informant saith further, that he heard the said Anne confessed that she named one of the mice Tib, which promised her to hurt men, and she named the other Jone, which promised her to hurt Cattell when she wished it: and after the third time they kept not away from her above 24 houres together, but did frequent her, and familiarly suck on her bodie, until she was apprehended.
April the 8. day, Anno 1646.
Anne Desborough of Bythorn in the County of Huntington, confesesseth, that about 30. yeares since, the first weeke of Cleane Lent, there appeared unto her a thing some-what bigger then a Mouse, of a brown colour, and of the likenesse of a mouse. This was while shee lived at Tichmarsh in the County of Northhampton: shee being there in bed, and in a dreame, the said likenesse then gave her a nip, an dthereby awakened her our of her dreame, and then told her (when she was awakened) that it must have a part of her soule; whereupon she was in a great feare, and gave him no answere, but prayed to God, and thereupon it vanished away from her. About five dayes after, the same Mouse appeared to her againe, bringing with it another Mouse, about the bignesse of an ordinary Mouse, r bery little bigger, browne like the former, save only that this latter had some white about the belly, whereas the former was all browne. Shee yielded to them, and said, they should: upon her yielding they went to her, and sucked of her bodie, where the markes are found. The
bigger mouse the called Tib, and the lesser Jone. Tib told her that she must forsake God and Christ, and take them for her Gods: telling her that when she dyed, they must have her soule, to all which she yielded. Tib promised her to hurt men if shee should desire. Jone promised her to hurt Cattell if shee should desire. Within two dayes after they appeared again: and ever after till shee was discovered, they appeared once every 24 houres. This the said Desborough confessed on the first said day in the presence of me
Joseph Coysh Minister of the Word.
The Examination of Jane Walli[s] of Keiston in the County of Huntington Spinster taken the 16th day of Aprill, 1646. before Sir Robert Osborn Knight, one of His Majesties Justices of the Peace for the County of Huntington.
This Examinate saith, as she was making her bedde in her Chamber, there appeared in the shape of a man in blacke cloaths and blackish cloaths about sixe weeks past, and bid her good-morrow, and shee asked what his name was, and he said that his name was Blackeman, and asked her if she were poore, and she said I; then he told her he would send one Grissell and Greedigut to her, that shall do any thing for her: Shee looking upon him, saw hee had ugly feete, and then she was very fearfull of him for that he would seem sometimes to be tall, and sometimes lesse, and suddenly vanished away.
And being demanded whether he lay with her, shee said hee would have lain with her, but shee would not suffer him: and after Blackeman was departed from her, within three or 4 dayes, Grissell and Greedigut came to her, in the shapes of dogges with great bridles of hogges haire upon their backs, and said to her they were come from Blackeman to do what she would command them, and did aske her if shee want any thing, and they
would fetch her any thing: and shee said shee lacked nothing: then they prayed her to give them some victuals, and she said she was poore and had none to give them, and so they departed: Yet she confessed that Blackman, Grissell, and Greedigut divers times cames to her afterwards, and brought her two or three shillings at a time, and more saith not.
April 14. 1646.
Joane Wallis confessed to me, and John Guylet that shee had three Spirits, she called them Black-man, Grissel, and Greedigut, and that Blackman gave her the other two, and told her they should doe any thing for her that she should desire: she said Blackman came first to her, about a twelve-month since, like a man something ancient, in blackish cloathes, but he had ugly feet uncovered. Sometimes she said it was longer since he first came to her, and ever since he appeared in the like shape, but Grissell, and Greedigut did come in severall shapes, yet most commonly like hounds with Brissells on their backes. I asked her what use she put them to, and if any of them had the use of her body besides sucking; she said he would have had once, but shee denyed him: then presently of her selfe shee said, if I would not tell, shee would confesse, but she hoped I would love her never the worse, and then shee said that Blackman had the use of her body once, twice and sometimes thrice in a week, but the other two onely sucked her where her marks are found; she said Blackman never sucked her; she would not confesse that she ever sent them to doe any harme, but said the filthy rough Blackman would send them; but what hurt they did she confessed not to us. I asked her to what purpose she let Gris. and Greed. suck her if she made no use of them? she said, they would sometimes bring her money, two or three shillings at a time, and that was all they did
for her; and once they told her they robb’d a man, and pulled him from his horse, and brought her some money.
All this she confessed to me before Dinner, and after Dinner she affirmed it all to be truth, but in the repeating she would seem to forget Gris. and Greed. names, but always affirmed the same of Blackman; She said, she first would have had them sucked her breasts, but they would not, and chose the place themselves.
Edw. Ma. Wingfeild.
The Examination of John Clarke Junior, of Keiston, in the County of Hunt. Labourer, taken before me John Castell, Esquire, one of his Majesties Justices of the Peace for the said County, the 2d. day of May. 1646.
Who saith, That true it is that hee did overtake one man and three women upon the Sabbath day last was sevennight, between Stanwick and Raunce, being about three miles from Keistone, whether this Examinate was going. But this Examinate denyeth that he ever told or said that he had any marks cut off, or that he had any place of meeting with any Witches, or that he had any consultation, or made any compact with the Devill, or even knew what belonged to any such matter. And further saith not.
The Information of John Browne of Raunce in the County of Northampton, Tailor, taken upon oath the second day of May, 1646. before me, John Castell, Esq; one of his Majesties Justices of the Peace for the County of Hunt.
Who saith, That upon the Sabbath day last was sevennight, he (this Informant) comming from Highham-Ferris to Raunce in the County of Norhampton aforesaid, where he
quartereth, and sitting downe by Stanwick Townes end, saw one comming from Artlebroward; who when hee came neare to this Informant, this Informant said, I have staid for you a long time; but he answered, I saw you not all the way I came. Then this Informant said to him, from whence came you? who answered, that hee came from his Uncles at Artlebrow: Then this Informant asked him who was his Uncle? and he said one Clarke: this Informant asked him, if hee were not Clarks sonne of Keiston, he answered he was: And then this Informant asked him, What haste he was in? who said he was in haste; for his Father and Mother were accused for Witches, and that hee himselfe had beene searched; and this Informant answered, and so have I. Then Clarke asked this Informant, whether any thing were found about him, or not? he (this Informant) answered that they said there were marks: Clarke said againe, had you no more with but to have your marks found? I cut off mine three days before I was searched. And then after some further communication past concerning who searched them, Clark said to this Informant, I doe not believe you are a Witch, for I never saw you at our meetings: who answered, that perhaps their meetings were at severall places, and so fell out and parted.
Who desires to be resolved in cases of conscience touching Witches and Witch-crafts, let them read that learned discourse of Mr. John Gaules, lately set forth, and Printed for Richard Clutterbuck, Stationer.
How to Cite
Anon. The Witches of Huntingdon. ed. Kirsten C Uszkalo. The Witches in Early Modern England Project. 2011. [date of access]. <http://witching.org/>.