The Final Decline

In the history of witchcraft the years from 1688 to 1718 may be grouped

together as comprising a period. This is not to say that the year of the

Revolution marked any transition in the course of the superstition. It

did not. But we have ventured to employ it as a convenient date with

which to bound the influences of the Restoration. The year 1718 derives

its importance for us from the publication, in that year, of Francis

/> Hutchinson's Historical Essay on Witchcraft, a book which, it is not

too much to say, gave the final blow to the belief in England.[1]

We speak of fixing a date by which to bound the influences of the

Restoration. Now, as a matter of fact, there is something arbitrary

about any date. The influences at work during the previous period went

steadily on. The heathen raged, and the people imagined a vain thing.

The great proletariat hated witches as much as ever. But the justices of

the peace and the itinerant judges were getting over their fear of

popular opinion and were refusing to listen to the accusations that were

brought before them. The situation was in some respects the same as it

had been in the later seventies and throughout the eighties. Yet there

were certain features that distinguished the period. One of them was the

increased use of exorcism. The expelling of evil spirits had been a

subject of great controversy almost a century before. The practice had

by no means been forgotten in the mean time, but it had gained little

public notice. Now the dispossessors of the Devil came to the front

again long enough to whet the animosity between Puritans and Anglicans

in Lancashire. But this never became more than a pamphlet controversy.

The other feature of the period was far more significant. The last

executions for witchcraft in England were probably those at Exeter in

1682.[2] For a whole generation the courts had been frowning on witch

prosecution. Now there arose in England judges who definitely nullified

the law on the statute-book. By the decisions of Powell and Parker, and

most of all by those of Holt, the statute of the first year of James I

was practically made obsolete twenty-five or fifty years before its

actual repeal in 1736. We shall see that the gradual breaking down of

the law by the judges did not take place without a struggle. At the

famous trial in Hertford in 1712 the whole subject of the Devil and his

relation to witches came up again in its most definite form, and was

fought out in the court room and at the bar of public opinion. It was,

however, but the last rallying and counter-charging on a battle-field

where Webster and Glanvill had led the hosts at mid-day. The issue,

indeed, was now very specific. Over the abstract question of witchcraft

there was nothing new to be said. Here, however, was a specific

instance. What was to be done with it? Over that there was waged a merry

war. Of course the conclusion was foregone. It had indeed been

anticipated by the action of the bench.

We shall see that with the nullification of the law the common people

began to take the law into their own hands. We shall note that, as a

consequence, there was an increase in the number of swimming ordeals and

other illegal procedures.

The story of the Lancashire demonomania is not unlike the story of

William Somers in Nottingham a century before. In this case there was no

John Darrel, and the exorcists were probably honest but deluded men. The

affair started at the village of Surey, near to the superstition-brewing

Pendle Forest. The possessed boy, Richard Dugdale, was a gardener and

servant about nineteen years of age.[3] In April, 1689, he was seized

with fits in which he was asserted to speak Latin and Greek and to

preach against the sins of the place. Whatever his pretensions were, he

seemed a good subject for exorcism. Some of the Catholics are said to

have tampered with him, and then several Puritan clergymen of the

community took him in hand. For eight months they held weekly fasts for

his recovery; but their efforts were not so successful as they had

hoped. They began to suspect witchcraft[4] and were about to take steps

towards the prosecution of the party suspected.[5] This came to

nothing, but Dugdale at length grew better. He was relieved of his fits;

and the clergymen, who had never entirely given up their efforts to cure

him, hastened to claim the credit. More than a dozen of the dissenting

preachers, among them Richard Frankland, Oliver Heywood,[6] and other

well known Puritan leaders in northern England, had lent their support

to Thomas Jollie, who had taken the leading part in the praying and

fasting. From London, Richard Baxter, perhaps the best known Puritan of

his time, had sent a request for some account of the wonder, in order to

insert it in his forthcoming book on the spirit world. This led to a

plan for printing a complete narrative of what had happened; but the

plan was allowed to lapse with the death of Baxter.[7] Meantime,

however, the publication in London of the Mathers' accounts of the New

England trials of 1692[8] caused a new call for the story of Richard

Dugdale. It was prepared and sent to London; and there in some

mysterious way the manuscript was lost.[9] It was, however, rewritten

and appeared in 1697 as The Surey Demoniack, or an Account of Strange

and Dreadful Actings in and about the Body of Richard Dugdale. The

preface was signed by six ministers, including those already named; but

the book was probably written by Thomas Jollie and John Carrington.[10]

The reality of the possession was attested by depositions taken before

two Lancashire justices of the peace. The aim of the work was, of

course, to add one more contemporary link to the chain of evidence for

the supernatural. It was clear to the divines who strove with the

possessed boy that his case was of exactly the same sort as those in the

New Testament. Moreover, his recovery was a proof of the power of


Now Non-Conformity was strong in Lancashire, and the Anglican church as

well as the government had for many years been at no little pains to put

it down. Here was a chance to strike the Puritans at one of their

weakest spots, and the Church of England was not slow to use its

opportunity. Zachary Taylor, rector of Wigan and chaplain to the Bishop

of Chester, had already familiarized himself with the methods of the

exorcists. In the previous year he had attacked the Catholics of

Lancashire for an exorcism which they claimed to have accomplished

within his parish.[11] Pleased with his new role, he found in Thomas

Jollie a sheep ready for the shearing.[12] He hastened to publish The

Surey Impostor,[13] in which, with a very good will, he made an assault

upon the reality of Dugdale's fits, charged that he had been

pre-instructed by the Catholics, and that the Non-Conformist clergymen

were seeking a rich harvest from the miracles they should work.

Self-glorification was their aim. He made fun of the several divines

engaged in the affair, and accused them of trickery and presumption in

their conduct of the case.[14]

Of course Taylor was answered, and with a bitterness equal to his own.

Thomas Jollie replied in A Vindication of the Surey Demoniack. "I will

not foul my Paper," wrote the mild Jollie, "and offend my reader with

those scurrilous and ridiculous Passages in this Page. O, the

Eructations of an exulcerated Heart! How desperately wicked is the Heart

of Man!"[15]

We shall not go into the details of the controversy, which really

degenerated into a sectarian squabble.[16] The only discussion of the

subject that approached fairness was by an anonymous writer,[17] who

professed himself impartial and of a different religious persuasion from

Jollie. To be sure, he was a man who believed in possession by spirits.

It may be questioned, too, whether his assumption of fair dealing

towards the Church of England was altogether justified. But, at any

rate, his work was free from invective and displayed moderation. He felt

that the Dissenting clergymen were probably somewhat deluded. But they

had acted, he believed, under good motives in attempting to help one who

had appealed to them. Some of them were not only "serious good Men," but

men well known in the nation. This, indeed, was true. The Dissenters had

laid themselves open to attack, and doubtless some of them saw and

regretted their mistake. At least, it seems not without significance

that neither Oliver Heywood nor Richard Frankland nor any other of the

Dissenters was sure enough of his ground to support Jollie in the

controversy into which he had been led.[18]

We have gone into some detail about the Dugdale affair because of its

importance in its time, and because it was so essentially characteristic

of the last era of the struggle over the power of the Devil. There were

cases of possession not only in Lancashire but in Somersetshire and in

and around London. Not without a struggle was His Satanic Majesty

surrendering his hold.

We turn from this controversy to follow the decisions of those eminent

judges who were nullifying the statute against witches. We have already

mentioned three names, those of Holt, Powell, and Parker. This is not

because they were the only jurists who were giving verdicts of

acquittal--we know that there must have been others--but because their

names are linked with significant decisions. Without doubt Chief Justice

Holt did more than any other man in English history to end the

prosecution of witches. Justice Powell was not so brave a man, but he

happened to preside over one of the most bitterly contested of all

trials, and his verdict served to reaffirm the precedents set by Holt.

It was Justice Parker's fortune to try the last case of witchcraft in


Holt became chief justice of the king's bench on the accession of

William and Mary. Not one of the great names in English judicial rolls,

his decided stand against superstition makes him great in the history of

witchcraft. Where and when he had acquired his skeptical attitude we do

not know. The time was past when such an attitude was unusual. In any

case, from the moment he assumed the chief justiceship he set himself

directly against the punishment of witchcraft. As premier of the English

judiciary his example meant quite as much as his own rulings. And their

cumulative effect was not slight. We know of no less than eleven trials

where as presiding officer he was instrumental in securing a verdict of

acquittal. In London, at Ipswich, at Bury, at Exeter, in Cornwall, and

in other parts of the realm, these verdicts were rendered, and they

could not fail to influence opinion and to affect the decisions of other

judges. Three of the trials we shall go over briefly--those at Bury,

Exeter, and Southwark.

In 1694 he tried Mother Munnings at Bury St. Edmunds,[19] where his

great predecessor Hale had condemned two women. Mother Munnings had

declared that a landlord should lie nose upward in the church-yard

before the next Saturday, and, sure enough, her prophecy had come true.

Nevertheless, in spite of this and other testimony, she was acquitted.

Two years later Holt tried Elizabeth Horner at Exeter, where Raymond had

condemned three women in 1682. Bishop Trelawny of Exeter had sent his

sub-dean, Launcelot Blackburne (later to be Archbishop of York), to look

into the case, and his report adds something to the account which

Hutchinson has given us.[20] Elizabeth was seen "three nights together

upon a large down in the same place, as if rising out of the ground." It

was certified against her by a witness that she had driven a red-hot

nail "into the witche's left foot-step, upon which she went lame, and,

being search'd, her leg and foot appear'd to be red and fiery." These

testimonies were the "most material against her," as well as the

evidence of the mother of some possessed children, who declared that her

daughter had walked up a wall nine feet high four or five times

backwards and forwards, her face and the fore part of her body parallel

to the ceiling, saying that Betty Horner carried her up. In closing the

narrative the archdeacon wrote without comment: "My Lord Chief Justice

by his questions and manner of hemming up the evidence seem'd to me to

believe nothing of witchery at all, and to disbelieve the fact of

walking up the wall which was sworn by the mother." He added, "the jury

brought her in not guilty."

The case of Sarah Moordike of London versus Richard Hathaway[21] makes

even clearer the attitude of Holt. Sarah Moordike, or Morduck, had been

accused years before by a Richard Hathaway of causing his illness. On

several occasions he had scratched her. Persecuted by the rabble, she

had betaken herself from Southwark to London. Thither Richard Hathaway

followed her and soon had several churches praying for his recovery. She

had appealed to a magistrate for protection, had been refused, and had

been tried at the assizes in Guildford, where she was acquitted. By this

time, however, a good many people had begun to think Hathaway a cheat.

He was arrested and put under the care of a surgeon, who watched him

closely and soon discovered that the fasts which were a feature of his

pretended fits were false. This was not the first time that he had been

proved an impostor. On an earlier occasion he had been trapped into

scratching a woman whom he erroneously supposed to be Sarah Morduck. In

spite of all exposures, however, he stuck to his pretended fits and was

at length brought before the assizes at Southwark on the charge of

attempting to take away the life of Sarah Moordike for being a witch. It

is refreshing to know that a clergyman, Dr. Martin, had espoused the

cause of the witch and had aided in bringing Hathaway to judgment. Chief

Justice Holt and Baron Hatsell presided over the court,[22] and there

seems to have been no doubt about the outcome. The jury "without going

from the bar" brought Hathaway in guilty.[23] The verdict was

significant. Pretenders had got themselves into trouble before, but were

soon out. The Boy of Bilston had been reproved; the young Robinson, who

would have sent to the gallows a dozen fellow-creatures, thought it hard

that he was kept a few months confined in London.[24] A series of cases

in the reign of Charles I had shown that it was next to impossible to

recover damages for being slandered as a witch, though in the time of

the Commonwealth one woman had come out of a suit with five shillings to

her credit. Of course, when a man of distinction was slandered,

circumstances were altered. At some time very close to the trial of

Hathaway, Elizabeth Hole of Derbyshire was summoned to the assizes for

accusing Sir Henry Hemloke, a well known baronet, of witchcraft.[25]

Such a charge against a man of position was a serious matter. But the

Moordike-Hathaway case was on a plane entirely different from any of

these cases. Sarah Morduck was not a woman of position, yet her accuser

was punished, probably by a long imprisonment. It was a precedent that

would be a greater safeguard to supposed witches than many acquittals.

Justice Powell was not to wield the authority of Holt: yet he made one

decision the effects of which were far-reaching. It was in the trial of

Jane Wenham at Hertford in 1712. The trial of this woman was in a sense

her own doing. She was a widow who had done washing by the day. For a

long time she had been suspected of witchcraft by a neighboring farmer,

so much so that, when a servant of his began to act queerly, he at once

laid the blame on the widow. Jane applied to Sir Henry Chauncy, justice

of the peace, for a warrant against her accuser. He was let off with a

fine of a shilling, and she was instructed by Mr. Gardiner, the

clergyman, to live more peaceably.[26] So ended the first act. In the

next scene of this dramatic case a female servant of the Reverend Mr.

Gardiner's, a maid just getting well of a broken knee, was discovered

alone in a room undressed "to her shift" and holding a bundle of sticks.

When asked to account for her condition by Mrs. Gardiner, she had a

curious story to tell. "When she was left alone she found a strange

Roaming in her head, ... her Mind ran upon Jane Wenham and she thought

she must run some whither ... she climbed over a Five-Bar-Gate, and ran

along the Highway up a Hill ... as far as a Place called Hackney-Lane,

where she look'd behind her, and saw a little Old Woman Muffled in a

Riding-hood." This dame had asked whither she was going, had told her to

pluck some sticks from an oak tree, had bade her bundle them in her

gown, and, last and most wonderful, had given her a large crooked

pin.[27] Mrs. Gardiner, so the account goes, took the sticks and threw

them into the fire. Presto! Jane Wenham came into the room, pretending

an errand. It was afterwards found out that the errand was fictitious.

All this raised a stir. The tale was absolutely original, it was no less

remarkable. A maid with a broken knee had run a half-mile and back in

seven minutes, very good time considering the circumstances. On the next

day the maid, despite the knee and the fits she had meantime contracted,

was sent out on an errand. She met Jane Wenham and that woman quite

properly berated her for the stories she had set going, whereupon the

maid's fits were worse than ever. Then, while several people carefully

watched her, she repeated her former long distance run, leaping over a

five-bar gate "as nimbly as a greyhound."

Jane Wenham was now imprisoned by the justice of the peace, who

collected with all speed the evidence against her. In this he was aided

by the Reverend Francis Bragge, rector of Walkerne, and the Reverend

Mr. Strutt, vicar of Audley. The wretched woman asked the justice to

let her submit to the ordeal of water,[28] but he refused, pronouncing

it illegal and unjustifiable. Meantime, the Rev. Mr. Strutt used the

test of the Lord's Prayer,[29] a test that had been discarded for half a

century. She failed to say the prayer aright, and alleged in excuse that

"she was much disturbed in her head," as well she might be. But other

evidence came in against her rapidly. She had been caught stealing

turnips, and had quite submissively begged pardon, saying that she had

no victuals that day and no money to buy any.[30] On the very next day

the man who gave this evidence had lost one of his sheep and found

another "taken strangely, skipping and standing upon its head."[31]

There were other equally silly scraps of testimony. We need not go into

them. The two officious clergymen busied themselves with her until one

of them was able to wring some sort of a confession from her. It was a

narrative in which she tried to account for the strange conduct of Anne

Thorne and made a failure of it.[32] A few days later, in the presence

of three clergymen and a justice of the peace, she was urged to repeat

her confession but was "full of Equivocations and Evasions," and when

pressed told her examiners that they "lay in wait for her Life."

Bragge and Strutt had shown a great deal of energy in collecting

evidence. Yet, when the case came to trial, the woman was accused only

of dealing with a spirit in the shape of a cat.[33] This was done on the

advice of a lawyer. Unfortunately we have no details about his reasons,

but it would look very much as if the lawyer recognized that the

testimony collected by the ministers would no longer influence the

court, and believed that the one charge of using a cat as a spirit might

be substantiated. The assizes were largely attended. "So vast a number

of People," writes an eye-witness, "have not been together at the

Assizes in the memory of Man."[34] Besides the evidence brought in by

the justice of the peace, who led the prosecution with vigor, the Rev.

Mr. Bragge, who was not to be repressed because the charges had been

limited, gave some most remarkable testimony about the stuffing of Anne

Thorne's pillow. It was full of cakes of small feathers fastened

together with some viscous matter resembling much the "ointment made of

dead men's flesh" mentioned by Mr. Glanvill. Bragge had done a piece of

research upon the stuff and discovered that the particles were arranged

in geometrical forms with equal numbers in each part.[35] Justice Powell

called for the pillow, but had to be content with the witness's word,

for the pillow had been burnt. Arthur Chauncy, who was probably a

relative of the justice of the peace, offered to show the judge pins

taken from Anne Thorne. It was needless, replied the judge, he supposed

they were crooked pins.[36] The leaders of the prosecution seem to have

felt that the judge was sneering at them throughout the trial. When Anne

Thorne was in a fit, and the Reverend Mr. Chishull, being permitted to

pray over her, read the office for the visitation of the sick, Justice

Powell mockingly commented "That he had heard there were Forms of

Exorcism in the Romish Liturgy, but knew not that we had any in our

Church."[37] It must have been a great disappointment to these Anglican

clergymen that Powell took the case so lightly. When it was testified

against the accused that she was accustomed to fly, Powell is said to

have said to her, "You may, there is no law against flying."[38] This

indeed is quite in keeping with the man as described by Swift: "an old

fellow with grey hairs, who was the merriest old gentleman I ever saw,

spoke pleasing things, and chuckled till he cried again."

In spite of Powell's obvious opinion on the trial, he could not hinder a

conviction. No doubt the jury were greatly swayed by the crowds. The

judge seems to have gone through the form of condemning the woman, but

took pains to see that she was reprieved.[39] In the mean time her

affair, like that of Richard Dugdale, had become a matter of sectarian

quarrel. It was stated by the enemies of Jane Wenham that she was

supported in prison by the Dissenters,[40] although they said that up to

this time she had never been a church-going woman. It was the Dugdale

case over again, save that the parties were reversed. Then Puritans had

been arrayed on the side of superstition; now some of the Anglicans seem

to have espoused that cause.[41] Of course the stir produced was

greater. Mistress Jane found herself "the discourse of the town" in

London, and a pamphlet controversy ensued that was quite as heated as

that between Thomas Jollie and Zachary Taylor. No less than ten

brochures were issued. The justice of the peace allowed his story of the

case to be published and the Reverend Mr. Bragge rushed into print with

a book that went through five editions. Needless to say, the defenders

of Jane Wenham and of the judge who released her were not hesitant in

replying. A physician who did not sign his name directed crushing

ridicule against the whole affair,[42] while a defender of Justice

Powell considered the case in a mild-mannered fashion: he did not deny

the possibility of witchcraft, but made a keen impeachment of the

trustworthiness of the witnesses against the woman.[43]

But we cannot linger over the details of this controversy. Justice

Powell had stirred up a hornets' nest of opposition, but it meant

little.[44] The insects could buzz; but their stingers were drawn.

The last trial for witchcraft was conducted in 1717 at Leicester by

Justice Parker.[45] Curiously enough, the circumstances connected with

it make it evident that crudest forms of superstition were still alive.

Decency forbids that we should narrate the details of the methods used

to demonstrate the guilt of the suspected parties. No less than

twenty-five people banded themselves against "Old woman Norton and

daughter" and put them through tests of the most approved character. It

need hardly be said that the swimming ordeal was tried and that both

creatures "swam like a cork." The persecutors then set to work to "fetch

blood of the witches." In this they had "good success," but the witches

"would be so stubborn, that they were often forced to call the constable

to bring assistance of a number of persons to hold them by force to be

blooded."[46] The "old witch" was also stripped and searched "publickly

before a great number of good women." The most brutal and illegal of all

forms of witch procedure had been revived, as if to celebrate the last

appearance of the Devil. But the rest of the story is pleasanter. When

the case came before the grand jury at the assizes, over which Justice

Parker was presiding, "the bill was not found."

With this the story of English trials comes to an end. The statute of

James I had been practically quashed, and, though it was not to be taken

from the law books for nineteen years, it now meant nothing. It was very

hard for the great common people to realize what had happened. As the

law was breaking down they had shown an increasing tendency to take

justice into their own hands. In the case with which we have just been

dealing we have seen the accusers infringing the personal rights of the

individual, and calling in the constables to help them in their utterly

unlawful performances. This was not new. As early as 1691, if Hutchinson

may be trusted, there were "several tried by swimming in Suffolk, Essex,

Cambridgeshire, and Northamptonshire and some were drowned." It would be

easy to add other and later accounts,[47] but we must be content with

one.[48] The widow Coman, in Essex, had recently lost her husband; and

her pastor, the Reverend Mr. Boys, went to cheer her in her melancholy.

Because he had heard her accounted a witch he questioned her closely and

received a nonchalant admission of relations with the Devil. That

astounded him. When he sought to inquire more closely, he was put off.

"Butter is eight pence a pound and Cheese a groat a pound," murmured the

woman, and the clergyman left in bewilderment. But he came back in the

afternoon, and she raved so wildly that he concluded her confession was

but "a distraction in her head." Two women, however, worried from her

further and more startling confessions. The minister returned, bringing

with him "Mr. Goldsmith and Mr. Grimes," two of the disbelieving "sparks

of the age." The rest of the story may be told as it is given in another

account, a diary of the time. "July 3d, 1699, the widow Coman was put

into the river to see if she would sinke, ... and she did not sinke but

swim, ... and she was tryed again July 19, and then she swam again. July

24 the widow was tryed a third time by putting her into the river and

she swam. December 27. The widow Coman that was counted a witch was

buried." The intervening links need hardly be supplied, but the Reverend

Mr. Boys has given them: "whether by the cold she got in the water, or

by some other means, she fell very ill and dyed."

It must have been very diverting, this experimentation by water, and it

had become so popular by the beginning of the eighteenth century that

Chief Justice Holt[49] is said to have ruled that in the future, where

swimming had fatal results, those responsible would be prosecuted for

murder. Such a declaration perhaps caused some disuse of the method for

a time, but it was revived in the second third of the eighteenth


Popular feeling still arrayed itself against the witch. If the

increasing use of the swimming ordeal was the answer to the

non-enforcement of the Jacobean statute, it was the answer of the

ignorant classes. Their influence was bound to diminish. But another

possible consequence of the breaking down of the law may be suggested.

Mr. Inderwick, who has looked much into English witchcraft, says that

"from 1686 to 1712 ... the charges and convictions of malicious injury

to property in burning haystacks, barns, and houses, and malicious

injuries to persons and to cattle increased enormously."[50] This is

very interesting, if true, and it seems quite in accord with the history

of witchcraft that it should be true. Again and again we have seen that

the charge of witchcraft was a weapon of prosecutors who could not prove

other suspected crimes. As the charges of witchcraft fell off,

accusations for other crimes would naturally be multiplied; and, now

that it was no longer easy to lay everything to the witch of a

community, the number of the accused would also grow.

We are now at the end of the witch trials. In another chapter we shall

trace the history of opinion through this last period. With the

dismissal of the Norton women at Leicester, the courts were through with

witch trials.

[1] See below, pp. 342-343.

[2] We are assuming that the cases at Northampton in 1705 and at

Huntingdon in 1716 have no basis of fact. At Northampton two women,

according to the pamphlet account, had been hanged and burnt; at

Huntingdon, according to another account, a woman and her daughter. It

is possible that these pamphlets deal with historical events; but the

probabilities are all against that supposition. For a discussion of the

matter in detail see below, appendix A, Sec. 10.

[3] For his early history see The Surey Demoniack, ... or, an Account

of Satan's ... Actings, In and about the Body of Richard Dugdale....

(London, 1697).

[4] The Catholics do not seem, so far as the account goes, to have said

anything about witchcraft.

[5] The Surey Demoniack, 49; Zachary Taylor, The Surey Impostor,

being an answer to a ... Pamphlet, Entituled The Surey Demoniack

(London, 1697), 21-22.

[6] "N. N.," The Lancashire Levite Rebuked, or a Vindication of the

Dissenters from Popery.... (London, 1698), 3-4; see also the preface of

The Surey Demoniack.

[7] Ibid.

[8] The Wonders of the Invisible World: being an Account of the Tryals

of ... Witches ... in New England (London, 1693), by Cotton Mather, and

A Further Account of the Tryals of the New-England Witches (London,

1693), by Increase Mather. See preface to The Surey Demoniack.

[9] Thomas Jollie told a curious tale about how the manuscript had been

forcibly taken from the man who was carrying it to the press by a group

of armed men on the Strand. See ibid.

[10] Alexander Gordon in his article on Thomas Jollie, Dict. Nat.

Biog., says that the pamphlet was drafted by Jollie and expanded by

Carrington. Zachary Taylor, in his answer to it (The Surey Impostor),

constantly names Mr. Carrington as the author. "N. N.," in The

Lancashire Levite Rebuked, also assumes that Carrington was the author.

[11] The Devil Turned Casuist, or the Cheats of Rome Laid open in the

Exorcism of a Despairing Devil.... By Zachary Taylor, ... (London,


[12] It is interesting that Zachary Taylor's father was a

Non-Conformist; see The Lancashire Levite Rebuked, 2.

[13] London, 1697.

[14] The Devil Turned Casuist.

[15] A Vindication of the Surey Demoniack, 17.

[16] Taylor replied to Jollie's Vindication of the Surey Demoniack in

1698 with a pamphlet entitled Popery, Superstition, Ignorance and

Knavery ... very fully proved ... in the Surey Imposture. Then came

The Lancashire Levite Rebuked, by the unknown writer, "N. N.," whose

views we give in the text. Taylor seems to have answered in a letter to

"N. N." which called forth a scathing reply (1698) in The Lancashire

Levite Rebuked, or a Farther Vindication of the Dissenters.... Taylor's

reply, which came out in 1699, was entitled Popery, Superstition,

Ignorance, and Knavery Confess'd and fully Proved on the Surey


[17] "N. N." The Lancashire Levite Rebuked. The Rev. Alexander Gordon,

in his article on Zachary Taylor, Dict. Nat. Biog., says that

Carrington probably wrote this book. This seems impossible. The author

of the book, in speaking of Mr. Jollie, Mr. R. Fr. [Frankland], and Mr.

O. H. [Oliver Heywood], refers to Mr. C. as having "exposed himself in

so many insignificant Fopperies foisted into his Narrative"--proof

enough that Carrington did not write The Lancashire Levite Rebuked.

[18] Several dissenting clergymen had opposed the publication of The

Surey Demoniack, and had sought to have it suppressed. See The

Lancashire Levite Rebuked, 2.

[19] For an account of this case see Francis Hutchinson, Historical

Essay on Witchcraft (London, 1718), 43. Hutchinson had made an

investigation of the case when in Bury, and he had also Holt's notes of

the trial.

[20] Hutchinson had Holt's notes on this case, as on the preceding;

ibid., 45. Blackburne's letter is printed in Notes and Queries, 1st

series, XI, 498-499, and reprinted in Brand, Popular Antiquities

(1905), II, 648-649.

[21] See The Tryal of Richard Hathaway, ... For endeavouring to take

away the Life of Sarah Morduck, For being a Witch ... (London, 1702),

and A Full and True Account of the Apprehending and Taking of Mrs.

Sarah Moordike, ... accused ... for having Bewitched one Richard

Hetheway ...; see also Hutchinson, op. cit., 224-228.

[22] Ibid., 226.

[23] A somewhat similar case at Hammersmith met with the same treatment,

if the pamphlet account may be trusted. Susanna Fowles pretended to be

possessed in such a way that she could not use the name of God or

Christ. The application of a red-hot iron to her head in the midst of

her fits was drastic but effectual. She cried out "Oh Lord," and so

proved herself a "notorious Lyar." She was sent to the house of

correction, where, reports the unfeeling pamphleteer, "She is now

beating hemp." Another pamphlet, however, gives a very different

version. According to this account, Susan, under Papist influences,

pretended to be possessed in such a way that she was continually

blaspheming. She was indicted for blasphemy, fined, and sentenced to

stand in the pillory. (For the graphic titles of these contradictory

pamphlets and of a folio broadside on the same subject, see appendix A,

Sec. 7).

[24] Probably not by any court verdict, but through the privy council.

[25] See J. C. Cox, Three Centuries of Derbyshire Annals (London,

1890), II, 90.

[26] Jane Wenham (broadside); see also A Full and Impartial Account

of the Discovery of Sorcery and Witchcraft, Practis'd by Jane Wenham

... (London, 1712).

[27] This narrative is given in great detail in A Full and Impartial

Account. It is of course referred to in nearly all the other pamphlets.

[28] Jane Wenham (broadside) see also A Full and Impartial Account,


[29] Jane Wenham (broadside); see also A Full and Impartial Account,


[30] Jane Wenham (broadside); see also A Full and Impartial Account,


[31] Ibid., 14.

[32] It was suggested by some who did not believe Jane guilty, that she

confessed from unhappiness and a desire to be out of the world,

Witchcraft Farther Display'd. Containing (I) An Account of the

Witchcraft practis'd by Jane Wenham, ... An Answer to ... Objections

against the Being and Power of Witches ... (London, 1712), 37.

[33] A Full and Impartial Account, 24.

[34] An Account of the Tryal, Examination and Condemnation of Jane


[35] A Full and Impartial Account, 27.

[36] A Full and Impartial Account, 26.

[37] Ibid., 25.

[38] For this story I have found no contemporary testimony. The earliest

source that I can find is Alexander Chalmers's Biographical Dictionary

(London, 1812-1827), XXV, 248 (s. v. Powell).

[39] After her release she was taken under the protection of Colonel

Plummer of Gilston, who had followed the trial. Hutchinson, Historical

Essay on Witchcraft, 130. On his death she was supported by the Earl

and Countess of Cowper, and lived until 1730. Robert Clutterbuck,

History and Antiquities of the County of Hertford (London, 1815-1827),

II, 461, note.

[40] Witchcraft Farther Displayed, introduction.

[41] See the dedication to Justice Powell in The Case of the

Hertfordshire Witchcraft Consider'd (London, 1712).

[42] A Full Confutation of Witchcraft: More particularly of the

Depositions against Jane Wenham.... In a Letter from a Physician in

Hertfordshire, to his Friend in London (London, 1712).

[43] The Case of the Hertfordshire Witchcraft Consider'd. For more as

to these discussions see below, ch. XIV.

[44] It seems, however, that the efforts of Lady Frances ---- to bring

about Jane's execution in spite of the judge were feared by Jane's

friends. See The Impossibility of Witchcraft, ... In which the

Depositions against Jane Wenham ... are Confuted ... (London, 1712), 2d

ed. (in the Bodleian), 36.

[45] See Brit. Mus., Add. MSS., 35,838, f. 404.

[46] They could "get no blood of them by Scratching so they used great

pins and such Instruments for that purpose."

[47] See Hist. MSS. Comm. Reports, Various, I, 160; see also C. J.

Bilson, County Folk Lore, Leicestershire and Rutland (Folk Lore Soc.,

1895), 51-52.

[48] The Case of Witchcraft at Coggeshall, Essex, in the year 1699.

Being the narrative of the Rev. J. Boys ... (London, 1901).

[49] By some Parker is given the credit. I cannot find the original


[50] Inderwick, Sidelights on the Stuarts, 174, 175.