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English Witchcraft and Witches Page 3

    In the St Osyth trial there were 14 people involved all being charged with several different charges of witchcraft including one of bewitching to death other people.

    The head of the affair was a woman by the name of Ursula Kempe who was a midwife and nursemaid and was also reported to be a witch. Witnesses claimed that she cured a young boy by the name of Davy Thurlowe of illness with incantations but took offence when the boy's mother had refused her employment as nursemaid to her infant daughter. The baby later fell out of its crib and broke her neck, suspicion by neighbors fell upon Kempe. Ignoring this the mother then asked Kempe for a treatment for her arthritis, she was given a method but refused to pay Kempe 12 pence at which the womans condition worsened.

    Mrs Thurlowe at this point decided to go to the authorities with her complaint. When Kempe was placed on trial she pleaded her case and even named other witches. Others named were Elizabeth Bennet, Alice Newman, Alice Hunt, Margery Sammon all confessing and naming others such as Joan Pechey, Agnes Glascock, Cicely Celles, Joan turner, Elizabeth Ewstace, Annis Herd, Alice Manfield and Margaret Grevell. Two were not indictted, two were discharged but held for other non-witch illegal activities, four were acquitted, four were convicted but leter reprieved and two were sentenced to hang those were Ursula Kempe and Elizabeth Bennet.

    In Salmesbury a trial that involved three women. The charges were brought about by a Grace Sowerbutts against her grandmother, her aunt and another woman by the name of Jane Southworth. According to Grace they had turned theselved into black dogs using an ointment they made from the bones of the child of Thomas Walshman. She also claimed they had feasted on this childs flesh and they had invited her to join in but instead she went to the authorities. The jury however was unconvinced and the charges were dismissed. Grace broke down and admitted to being forced to say these things by a Catholic priest. It was said that the accusations had risen out of a family feud that they had changed to the Protestant faith.

    The Salt Lane witches were two white witches according to folklore they were called white witches as they would use their magic for good as opposed to bad. For sixpence they would help people free their carts from the mud one day a wagoner was trying to bargain with them, he noticed a piece of straw on his horse's back. Thinking it was part of their magic, he cut it in half causing one witch to fall dead. The cart was freed and he fled. The second witch according to legend turned a troop of soldiers into petrified figures when they appeared in town trying to collect taxes. These figures are according to legend at the main road that passes through Worcester.

    The Somerset witches was two alleged covens that were exposed in the area in 1664. According to the accusations there were two full-scale covens active. Those involved in these covens were charged and pursued with zeal by the local justice Robert Hunt until his superiors intervened asking hm to desist from further enquiries. There were those that complained saying that there were more covens but they were never allowed to find out.

    The Warboys witch trial involved three alleged witches by the names of Alice, John and Agnes Samuel and was as a result of the fact they were suppose to have caused the fits of five daughters of Robert Throckmorton and for the murder Lady Cromwell.

    The case was brought to justices of the peace and Mrs Samuel was brought to them at which she confessed all. All three of them were found guilty and Agnes refused to decline pregnancy argueing that "it shall never be said that I was both a witch and a whore", they were all hung and their estate was given to Henry Cromwell who used it for an annual sermon against witchcraft.


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