|Joan Prentice||Joan Prentice is a woman from Hinningham Sibble, in the county of Essex. She claims that she became a witch circa 1583 when the Devil appeared to her in the shape of a ferret with fiery eyes and demanded her soul saying: "Joan if thou will haue me doo any thing for thee, I am and wilbe alwaies ready at thy commaundement." She accepted and named the familiar Bidd. Prentice confessed to allowing Bidd to suck blood from her cheek, and sending him to spoil "William Adams' wife (of Hinningham Sibble) brew. In the course of her examination, Prentice also accused Elizabeth Whale and Elizabeth Mott or being "acquainted" with Bidd, but does not go so far as suggesting they had killed or harmed anyone with him; the women were brought to the Assize on the weight of this claim, but freed on insufficient proof. Prentice also confessed to sending Bidd to Glascock's house to "nippe one of his Children a little, named Sara, but hurt it not," after being refused alms at the Glascock home (disregarding the fact that it was a servant, not a relation which refused her). Bidd allegedly returned, claiming he had followed her, giving the two year old Sara Glascock a nip which would soon kill her. Prentice and Bidd soon fell out; she called him a villain and he disappeared never to return. Prentice was tried for the malefic murder of Sara Glascock. Prentice was hung in Chelmsford in July 5th, 1589.()||The examination of Ioan Prentice, one of the women of the Almes house of Hinningham Sibble, within the saide County: beeing taken the 29. of March, in the 31. yeere of the raigne of our Soueraigne Lady Elizabeth.
IN Primis, this saide examinate saith and confesseth, that about sixe yeeres last past, betweene the feastes of all Saintes, and the birth of our Lord God, the deuill appeered vnto her in the Almes house aforesaide: about ten of the Clock in the night time, beeing in the shape and proportion of a dunnish culloured Ferrit, hauing fiery eyes, and the saide Examinate beeing alone
in her Chamber, and sitting vpona low stoole, preparing her selfe to bedward: the Ferrit standing with his hinder legs vpon the ground, and his fore legs setled vpon her lappe, and setling his fiery eyes vpon her eyes, spake and pronounced vnto her these woords following, namelye: Ioan Prentice giue me thy soule, to whome this Examinate being greatly amazed, answered and said: In the name of god what art thou The Ferrit answered, I am satan, feare me not mycomming vnto thee is to doo thee no hurt but to obtaine thy soule, which I must and wil haue before I departe from thee to whome the saide examinate answered and said, that he demaunded that of her which is none of hers to giue, saying: that her soule appertained onely vnto Iesus Christ, by whose precious blood shedding, it was bought and purchased. To whomethe saide Ferret replyed and saide, I must then haue some of thy blood, which she willingly graunting, offered him the forefinger of her left hand, the which the Ferrit tooke into his mouth, and setting his former feete vpon that hand, suckt blood therout, in so much that her finger did smart exceedingye: and the saide examinate demaunding againe of the Ferrit what his name was: It answered Bidd. and then presently the said Ferrit vanished out of her sight sodainly.
Item, the saide examinate saith further, that about one moneth after, the saide Ferrit came againe vnto her in the night time as she was sitting vpon a little stoole, preparing her selfe to bed-ward, as is aboue saide: Ioan wilt thou goe to bed, to whome she answered yea that I will by Gods grace, then presently the Ferret leapt vp vpon her lap, and from thence vp to her bosome, and laying his former feete vpon her lefte shoulder, sucked blood out of her lefte cheeke, and then he saide vnto her, Ioan if thou will haue me doo any thing for thee, I am and wilbe alwaies ready at thy commaundement, and ther-upon she beeing a little before fallen out with William Adams his wife of Hinningham Sibble aforesaide: willed the Ferret to spoile her drinke which was then in brewing, which he did accordingly.
Item, the saide examinate furthermore saith and confesseth, that the saide Ferret diuers times after appeered vnto her alwaies at the time when she was going to bed, and the last time he appeered vnto her was about seauen weekes last past, at which time she going to bed, the Ferrit leapt vpon her left shoulder, and sucked blood out of her lefte cheeke, and that doone: he demaunded of her what she had for him to doo? To who~ she answered, goe vnto Maister Glascocks house, and nippe one of his Children a little, named Sara, but hurt it not, and the next night he resorted vnto her againe, and told her that he had doon as she willed him: namely, that he had nipt Sara Glascock, and that she should dye therof, to whome she answered and saide, thou villaine what hast thou doon, I bid thee to nip it but a little and not to hurt it, and hast thou killed the
childe? which speech beeing vttered, the Ferrit vanished away suddenly, and neuer came to her sithence.
Item, she affirmeth, that the occasion why she did will her Ferret to nippe the saide childe, was for that she beeing the daye before at the house of the saide Maister Glascok, to begge his almes, answere was made to her by one of his maiden seruantes, that both her Maister and Mistres were from home, and therfore desired her to be contented for that time, and therupon the examinate departed greatlye discontented, and that night sent her Ferret to nip the childe as is abouesaide.
Item, she saith and affirmeth, that at what time soeuer she would haue her Ferret doo any thing for her, she vsed these woordes, Bidd, Bidd, Bidd, come Bidd, come bidd, come bidd, come suck, come suck, come suck, and that presently he would appeere as is aforesaide: and suckt blood out of her left cheeke, and thenperfourmed any mischeefe she willed or wished him to doo for her vnto or against any of her neighbours.
Lastly the said examinate saith, and confesseth, that one Elizabeth Whale, the wife of Michaell Whale of Henningham Sibble aforesaide labourer, and Elizabeth Mott, the wife of Iohn Mot of the saide Towne Cobler, are as well acquainted with her Bidd as her selfe is, but knoweth not what hurt they or any of the~ haue doone to any of their neighbours.