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to the said Kathrine, presently sucked her breast. 4. That, thereafter the chyld was spayned (weaned), she came to sie the child and wold have the bairne (child) in her arms, and thereafter the bairne murned and gratt (weeped sore) in the night, and almost the day tyme; also, that nothing could stay her untill she died. Nevertheless, before her coming to see her and her embracing of her, took as weill with the spaining and rested as weill as any bairne could doe. 5. That she is of ane evill brutte and fame, and so was her mother before her." The event is not recorded. Ibid. ix. 74, parish of Erskine, is a reference to Arnot's Collection of Criminal Trials for an account of the Bargarran Witches. Ibid. xii. 197, parish of Kirriemuir, co. Forfar: "A circular pond, commonly called the Witch-pool, was lately converted into a reservoir for the mills on the Gairie; a much better use than, if we may judge from the name, the superstition of our ancestors led them to apply it."
Ibid. xiv. 372, parish of Mid Calder, county of Edinburgh : Witches formerly burnt there. The method taken by persons employed to keep those who were suspected of witchcraft awake, when guarded, was, "to pierce their flesh with pins, needles, awls, or other sharp-pointed instruments. To rescue them from that oppression which sleep imposed on their almost exhausted nature, they sometimes used irons heated to a state of redness." The reference for this is also to Arnot's Trials. Ibid. xviii. 57, parish of Kirkaldy, county of Fife, it is said: "A man and his wife were burnt here in 1633, for the supposed crime of witchcraft. At that time the belief of witchcraft prevailed, and trials and executions on account of it were frequent, in all the kingdoms of Europe. It was in 1634 that the famous Urban Grandier was, at the instigation of Cardinal Richelieu, whom he had satirized, tried, and condemned to the stake, for exercising the black art on some nuns of Loudun, who were supposed to be possessed. And it was much about the same time that the wife of the Marechal d'Ancre (see p. 9) was burnt for a witch, at the Place de Grève, at Paris." In the Appendix, ibid. p. 653, are the particulars of the Kirkaldy witches. The following items of execution expenses are equally shocking and curious:
"For ten loads of coals to burn them
For harden to be jumps to them For making of them Ibid. xx. 194, parishes of Dyke and Moy, county of Elgin and Forres, it is said: "Where the (parish) boundary crosses the heath called the Hardmoor, there lies somewhere a solitary spot of classic ground, unheeded here, but much renowned in Drury for the Thane of Glammis's interview with the wayward or weird sisters in Macbeth." Ibid. p. 242, parish of Collace, county of Perth; Dunsinnan Castle: "In Macbeth's time witchcraft was very prevalent in Scotland, and two of the most famous witches in the kingdom lived on each hand of Macbeth- -one at Collace, the other not far from Dunsinuan House, at a place called the Cape. Macbeth applied to them for advice, and by their counsel built a lofty castle upon the top of an adjoining hill, since called Dunsinnan. The moor where the witches met, which is in the parish of St. Martin's, is yet pointed out by the country people, and there is a stone still preserved which is called the Witches' Stone." For an account of the witches of Pittanweam, in the county of Fife, about the beginning of the last century, see the Edinb. Mag. for Oct. 1817, pp. 199-206.
Mr. Pennant, in his Tour in Scotland, tells us, p. 145, that the last instance of the frantic executions for witchcraft, of which so much has been already said, in the north of Scotland, was in June, 1727, as that in the south was at Paisley in
3 6 8 Scots.
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In the Statistical Account of Scotland, parish of Loth, co. Sutherland, vi. 321, it is stated that the unhappy woman here alluded to was burnt at Dornoch, and that "the common people entertain strong prejudices against her relations to this day." From the same work, however, xv. 311, it should seem that the persecution of supposed witches is not yet entirely laid aside in the Orkneys. The minister of South Ronaldsay and Burray, two of those islands, says: "The existence of fairies and witches is seriously believed by some, who, in order to protect themselves from their attacks, draw imaginary circles, and place knives in the walls of houses. The worst consequence of this superstitious belief is, that, when a person loses a horse or cow, it sometimes happens that a poor woman in the neighbourhood is blamed, and knocked in some part of the head, above the breath, until the blood appears. But in these parishes there are many decent, honest, and sensible people who laugh at such absurdities, and treat them with deserved contempt."
1696, where, among others, a woman, young and handsome, suffered, and with a reply to her inquiring friends worthy a Roman matron, being asked why she did not make a better defence on her trial, answered, My persecutors have destroyed my honour, and my life is not now worth the pains of defending.' The last instance of national credulity on this head was the story of the witches of Thurso, who, tormenting for a long time an honest fellow under the usual form of cats, at last provoked him so, that one night he put them to flight with his broad sword, and cut off the leg of one less nimble than the rest on his taking it up, to his amazement he found it belonged to a female of his own species, and next morning discovered the owner, an old hag, with only the companion leg to this. But these relations of almost obsolete superstitions must never be thought a reflection on this country as long as any memory remains of the tragical end of the poor people at Tring, who, within a few miles of our capital, in 1751, fell a sacrifice to the belief of the common people in witches; or of that ridiculous imposture in the capital itself, in 1762, of the Cock-lane ghost, which found credit with all ranks of people."
"April 22, 1751: At Tring, in Hertfordshire, one B-d-d, a publican, giving out that he was bewitched by one Osborne and his wife, harmless people above 70, had it cried at several market-towns that they were to be tried by ducking this day, which occasioned a vast concourse. The parish officers having removed the old couple from the workhouse into the church for security, the mob, missing them, broke the workhouse windows, pulled down the pales, and demolished part of the house; and, seizing the governor, threatened to drown him and fire the town, having straw in their hands for the purpose. The poor wretches were at length, for public safety, delivered up, stripped stark naked by the mob, their thumbs tied to their toes, then dragged two miles, and thrown into a muddy stream; after much ducking and ill usage, the old woman was thrown quite naked on the bank, almost choked with mud, and expired in a few minutes, being kicked and beat with sticks, even after she was dead: and the man lies dangerously ill of his bruises. To add to the barbarity, they put the dead witch (as they called her) in bed with her hushand, and tied them together. The coroner's inquest have
since brought in their verdict wilful murder against Thomas Mason, William Myatt, Richard Grice, Richard Wadley, James Proudham, John Sprouting, John May, Adam Curling, Francis Meadows, and twenty others, names unknown. The poor man is likewise dead of the cruel treatment he received.". Gent. Mag. 1751, vol. xxi. p. 186.
In another part of the same volume, p. 198, the incidents of this little narrative are corrected: 66 Tring, May 2, 1751. A little before the defeat of the Scotch, in the late rebellion, the old woman Osborne came to one Butterfield, who then kept a dairy at Gubblecot, and begged for some buttermilk, but Butterfield told her with great brutality that he had not enough for his hogs: this provoked the old woman, who went away, telling him that the Pretender would have him and his hogs too. Soon afterwards several of Butterfield's calves became distempered, upon which some ignorant people, who had been told the story of the buttermilk, gave out that they were bewitched by old mother Osborne; and Butterfield himself, who had now left his dairy, and taken the public-house by the brook of Gubblecot, having been lately, as he had been many years before at times, troubled with fits, mother Osborne was said to be the cause: he was persuaded that the doctors could do him no good, and was advised to send for an old woman out of Northamptonshire, who was famous for curing diseases that were produced by witchcraft. This sagacious person was accordingly sent for and came; she confirmed the ridiculous opinion that had been propagated of Butterfield's disorder, and ordered six men to watch his house day and night with staves, pitchforks, and other weapons, at the same time hanging something about their necks, which she said was a charm that would secure them from being bewitched themselves. However, these extraordinary proceedings produced no considerable effects, nor drew the attention of the place upon them, till some persons, in order to bring a large company together, with a lucrative view, ordered, by anonymous letters, that public notice should be given at Winslow, Leighton, and Hempstead, by the crier, that witches were to be tried by ducking at Longmarston on the 22d of April. The consequences were as above related, except that no person has as yet been committed on the coroner's inquest except one Thomas Colley, chimney-sweeper; but several of
the ringleaders in the riot are known, some of whom live very remote, and no expense or diligence will be spared to bring them to justice." It appears, ibid. p. 378, that Thomas Colley was executed, and afterward hung in chains, for the murder of the above Ruth Osborne.
Such, it would seem, was the folly and superstition of the crowd, that, when they searched the workhouse for the supposed witch, they looked even into the salt-box, supposing she might have concealed herself within less space than would contain a cat. The deceased, being dragged into the water, and not sinking, Colley went into the pond, and turned her over several times with a stick. It appeared that the deceased and her husband were wrapped in two different sheets; but her body, being pushed about by Colley, slipped out of the sheet, and was exposed naked. In the same volume, p. 269, is a minute statement of the Earl of Derby's disorder, who was supposed to have died from witchcraft, April 16, 1594.
In the Gent. Mag. also, for July 1760, vol. xxx. p. 346, we read: "Two persons concerned in ducking for witches all the poor old women in Glen and Burton Overy, were sentenced to stand in the pillory at Leicester." See another instance, which happened at Earl Shilton, in Leicestershire, in 1776, in the Scots Magazine for that year, xxxviii. 390.
The following is from the Gent. Mag. for Jan. 1731, i. 29, "Of Credulity in Witchcraft.-From Burlington, in Pensilvania, 'tis advised that the owners of several cattle, believing them to be bewitched, caused some suspected men and women to be taken up, and trials to be made for detecting 'em. About three hundred people assembled near the governor's house, and a pair of scales being erected, the suspected persons were each weighed against a large Bible, but all of them vastly outweighing it: the accused were then tied head and feet together, and put into a river, on supposition that if they swam they must be guilty. This they offered to undergo in case the accuser should be served in the like manner; which being done, they all swam very buoyant, and cleared the accused. A like transaction happened at Frome, in Somersetshire, in September last, published in the Daily Journal, Jan. 15, relating that a child of one Wheeler being seized with strange fits, the mother was advised, by a cunning man, to hang a bottle of the child's water, mixed with some of its