1612: The Disturbing Witch Trial That Shook Britain | The Pendle Witch Child | ChronicleApr 30, 2022
craft. She is presented with a confession which she denies, but then a girl is brought in to testify against her. The girl bursts into tears as the woman screams desperately at her and the woman. She is taken back to the dungeon once the girl has her audience, she jumps onto a table and calmly denounces the woman as a
. She is the woman's own daughter and is nine years old. Janet Devis was a key witness in a
1612and a woman is in a courtroom. She is accused of killing three men through
craft. She is presented with a confession which she denies, but then a girl is brought in to testify against her. The girl bursts into tears as the woman screams desperately at her and the woman. She is taken back to the dungeon once the girl has her audience, she jumps onto a table and calmly denounces the woman as a
. She is the woman's own daughter and is nine years old. Janet Devis was a key witness in a
trialthat would lead to the execution of 10 people, including all members of her own family, but 20 years later, Jennifer Self would come to the stand accused of the same crime.
Janet, a nine-year-old beggar, was part of a larger story of judges, clergymen, and even doctors. The king himself, someone who would normally have been lost to history, has survived due to a chilling role in one of the most
trials ever recorded. This is a story about fear, politics, religion, science and magic, but for me, as a poet, it is also about words and stories and how powerful they can be, the two tests that shape this life. girl are emblematic of a much larger story: the transition between a pre-modern world and our supposed age of reason, and yet our fear of evil has increased.
More Interesting Facts About,
1612 the disturbing witch trial that shook britain the pendle witch child chronicle...
In reality, it never disappeared nor do some say it was evil itself. Fear of evil was endemic in England 400 years ago, when King James I was on the throne. Jaime lived in fear of Catholic rebellion following the Gunpowder Plot that had recently arrived from Scotland. He was on the throne in a strange land and some parts of his new kingdom were particularly worrying. Lancashire was a long way from London. In many ways, someone described it at the time as a dark corner of the earth. It had a reputation for disobedience and was full of troublemakers. and subversive and this area not far from where I live, dominated by the strange haunting presence of
pendlehill, was almost beyond the afterlife today has established an ancient niche by trading on its dark past in
1612lived janet devis, aged nine years in the dark at his grandmother's house malkin tower malkin tower sounds grand but it really wasn't mulkin was actually a 17th century word meaning slatin or and was still used in these parts in the 20th century the house was too, and even less grand It is known as a mocking tower and according to some people, and not to be too precise, mocking is a local word because no one knows for sure where the house would have been, but recent research suggests that it may have been on this site.
Jenna and hers Her family survived mostly by begging and doing odd jobs for neighbors, but the family had another source of income and I guess a kind of power. Janet's grandmother was well known locally as a clever woman and everyone knew her as the old lesbian, the role of the clever woman is incredibly valuable, especially for poor people who don't have access to doctors for example, and there is everything kind of modern roles rolled into one, like social worker, policewoman and doctor, all those things that give people a kind of security about their otherwise anxious lives, but it's a pretty ambiguous role because being a woman cunning the authorities would actually call it witchcraft, so cunning women can get in trouble with the law if they get into fights with their clients with Janet and the family.
It was a fact of life that a person could have the power to heal or harm through the use of spells or charms. It wasn't talk, it was real. Happened. What are the people who do bad things? Cunning women are people who do good things, call women, heal you and find your lost things, which are steal things from you and make you sick or kill you in Malkin tower. Janet lived with her grandmother, her mother Elizabeth, her older sister and brother Alison and James. There were no grown men. Elizabeth's husband had died eleven years earlier and nine-year-old Jenna was not her daughter.
She grew up knowing that she was the runt of the litter and the bastard daughter of the house. I think that would have made her feel isolated and different even. cursed in subsequent investigations it became clear that janet's world was populated by demons janet's grandmother was not the only cunning woman in the neighborhood old chattix the head of a nearby family was a rival for her business and the devices believed that she was a witch for some years Elizabeth's husband had been making oatmeal payments to the chatox the year the payment was not made died at most times in the story those family disputes would have gone unnoticed but they were not usual times England around The 1600s are a group of people from the conversion experience to officially become Protestants about 40 years earlier, but it took two generations for that to really sink in, so around 1600 many English people are in the grip of enthusiastic Protestantism by first time and now that England was Protestant Catholic.
They were increasingly feared as seditious and evil. The idea that there are people in Lancashire who adhere to old religious customs can be transferred quite easily to the idea that these people are actually dangerous dissidents who need to be suppressed to devout English Protestants. the Bible in idolatrous parentheses, pagan sorcerers together, and that is why Catholicism, which for Protestants is a demonic religion, can seem closely related to witchcraft. These were nervous and apprehensive times at court and throughout the country, and in that climate of fear it did not take much to arouse suspicion. On March 18, 1612, Janet's sister Alison Devis was walking along a path on the road, she met a peddler and, since she was a beggar, she asked him for some pins, but he did not open his backpack and continued walking looking for Alison.
It has been an everyday experience, probably several times a week people walked past her or ignored her and she probably responded to her rudeness by cursing. On March 18 she cursed the street vendor and the curse seemed to work because he fell to the ground and could not speak. She or he moved away, they finally took him to a local inn and she alison she was terrified because she knew she had put a spell on him, she ran to her side and asked for forgiveness in the legal records. We have a very detailed description of the rider's condition after his collapse.
His head is crooked His eyes and face are deformed His speech is not well understood His lame arms especially on the left side What would you say that was a description of? I think there's very little doubt that those symptoms reflect the fact that you've had a stroke that's bad your left arm isn't working, I mean something happens that suddenly can only be a stroke Alison seemed convinced that she had caused this stroke by bewitching him and she blamed herself and agonized over it, is there any logic to that from the beginning? In the description it sounds like the two events are significantly linked, if you look at it as a scientist, yes, the curse that made him very angry and raised his blood pressure and caused him to then suffer a stroke in exactly the same situation these days It could happen as a result of road rage or an argument or some devastating medical information given to someone can result in people having a stroke.
What is so surprising to me is that Alison had no doubt that she had almost killed a man, maybe she If it really had been her fear and her own contrition that would lead directly to her ruin and that of the entire family, The consequences of Alison's curse spiraled out of control when the peddler's son, outraged, reported the incident to an ambitious local magistrate, Roger Nowell, England. It has piece justice spread everywhere and they are the men who lay down the law some of them are not very good some of them are very lazy some of them are extremely zealous in fact roger is now one of those jealous guys he is ambitious he is He is Protestant and sees that in reality the root of his career success is going out to identify non-conformists who could be witches or Catholics and bring them to justice.
Roger Noll began to investigate and interviewed Alison Devis, who needed to get things off her chest. She confessed everything but also accused her Chadox neighbor of bewitching and killing four people and making clay figures. Alison seems to have been seriously scared by what she had done to the salesman. wandering I think it's likely that a little sister Janet would have I was also quite scared. Alison's statement intensified the investigation. Chattix and her daughter were very keen to point the finger at the device family and accused Grandma Demdike of witchcraft. She now realized that she was no longer investigating a single incident, but was now heading to The second of April, she null she made the first arrests of her.
Jenna's sister and grandmother, as well as her neighbors, Chattix and Anne, were sent to distant Lancaster Castle to await trial. Roger was now sure that these arrests would please the king just a year before the arrests at
pendlethe king james bible was published and presented in stark words you will not allow a witch to live i have come here to oxford in search of a book i will not king james bible but a book that james wrote himself, james the first has a reputation of being an avid witch hunter and personally participates in trials in north berwick and believes that witches are trying to kill him, in fact the witches tried to sink the ship bringing his His wife and Denmark, back on their honeymoon, writes a slim, exciting book called Demonology, which is unique among heads of state for being a single-author work on the nature of hell and what do about it and it is quite popular, it is readable, it is concise, it is learned.
It's actually quite clever work and is a mandate for the British to hunt witches. This is an original 1597 edition of James's demonology written here at the beginning because of the terrible abundance at this time in this country of these detestable slaves of the devil the wizards or charmers james is very much a product of the presbyterian kirk in scotland the Presbyterian ministers who raised James as a Presbyterian in an attempt to counteract the influence of his Catholic mother tell him stories all day about the power of the devil that deliberately scare him and it works, you can scare a
childvery easily, they convince him to feel Who's surrounded by witches, dominology may seem a little like the ramblings of a paranoid man, but as the saying goes, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.
Religious tensions in England had reached a boiling point just seven years earlier, when the king and his entire parliament were almost blown up by Guy Fawkes and his team of Catholic terrorists in the failed Gunpowder Plot and although Fawkes had been captured, some of the conspirators were still at large, it's perfectly reasonable if you're a Early modern monarch being paranoid about people trying to kill you and James is one of those monarchs, there is no shortage of potential conspiracies that he has. a father who has been strangled after an attempt to blow him up a mother who has had her head cut off in an English prison and there have been at least two attempts to kidnap him perhaps one to murder him no wonder he is scared and soon after He arrives in England some of his Catholic subjects try to blow him up along with the rest of the parliament He is a king exceptionally nervous about the conspiracy The conspirators who were captured were trying to flee to a safe place and the place where they expected to find him was Lancashire in March 1612 local jps They had received an order from London to compile a report of all those who refused to take communion in church in an effort to eradicate Catholics from Lancashire.
It was a crude but hopefully effective test of loyalty for all those who didn't attend. to the church and their statement must be presented and you must proceed against not listening at your own risk and look, one of the oldest signatories was roger knowl, there is no doubt about it on good friday 1612, all loyal subjects They should have been at church instead of malkin. Tower Janet's mother organized a party and to feed the guests a brother stole a sheep, of course there would be friends absent from the gathering. Alison and Grandma Demdyke along with neighbors were now awaiting trial at Lancaster Castle.
What happened in that house that day? became the subject of intense scrutiny over the following months were there guests at malkin tower was it an easter party just a friends route for lunch was it a solidarity gathering of relatives of prisoners held at lancaster castle or was it a local witch meeting The agent hears a whisper that there is a witch meeting at Malking Tower and suddenly arrives at the door with his men afterwards with echoes of the recent gunpowder plot. They will be accused of plotting to blow up Lancaster Castle and murder its jailer. Everyone present was there. arrested but the family at the malkin tower did not come quietly, they told the agent that there would be more people at the party thanThey would go, you'll never guess who you missed, so the others involved were also arrested, they were all accused of planning to kill a man through witchcraft.
When it was over, Noel had sent eight other people to join the original four in lancaster castle everything was going much better than I could have expected, unlike some of the people arrested, janet devis was definitely a malkin tower on good friday 1612 but she was not taken with the others the people arrested at the party were from the sectors lowest possible social classes but the others arrested were different alice nutter was from a respectable landowning family and was arrested along with her sister-in-law, a nephew and a friend, the crazies are still in the area. colin nutta lives here and a lot of other relatives live nearby and i think they always have collins the yorkshireman i'm writing saying that there aren't many madmen in yorkshire, but there are quite a few right here, oh yes, oh yes, there sure are plenty of them here, So how did someone like Alice Nutter get trapped in the witch? judgments, I think she was in the wrong place at the wrong time really with Alice Nutter what would be Roger Knowles' motivation.
The madmen at that time were a strong Catholic family and I believe that he would gain the favor of the king and the powers that If he also caught the Catholics, you see that she had two relatives who were priests who were at home and quartered and one of them in the Tiber and the other in Lancaster, so, as far as Noah was concerned, she was just another one of these troublesome Catholics, so exactly. and she would have been using a pawn for her own purposes. It really seems quite unlikely to me that Alice Nutter and a friend spent Good Friday eating stolen lamb in the Towers with the local beggars, but whatever the truth, they were arrested and taken to Lancaster.
Lancaster Castle remained imprisoned until spring 2011. This is still known as the witches' tower. The castle is huge, but the cell they were held in was not inside. We are all members of Janet's family. a mother a brother a sister plus all the neighbors chatting and isabel roby margaret pearson alice nutter john and jane balcock and catherine hewitt plus eight other prisoners in a space 20 feet by 12 feet 20 people in total as for janet we don't know where she He spent the four months that his family was imprisoned, it is possible that he lived under the protection of Roger Noel since he was about to become crucial to the case he was building, the magistrate would have been well aware of the king's thoughts on the witch hunt from that very moment.
At the end of his demonology, King James wrote something that became especially relevant to the case of the pendle witches and here is what the king says, in my opinion, barns or wives are never such maligned people, i.e.
children, women and liars, all together, can serve as sufficient witnesses and evidence in matters of high treason against God, which tells Noel and other magistrates of the country two really important things: witchcraft is treason, not treason. only against the king but, by extension, also against god himself and secondly, he is saying that The law should allow children to testify in court and it was not just Noel who was influenced by the demonology of King James, but It would also influence the professional justice system.
Everything we know about this entire story comes from one book, The Wonderful Discovery of Witches in Lancaster County was written by one Thomas Potts while he was serving as clerk of court when the prisoners went on trial in 1612. He kept his notes of the trial and wrote them all to demonstrate the rigor of the trial procedures. He also dedicated the book to his patron, Thomas Nivit Nivette, who was the man who arrested Guy Fawkes Potts. He was making a clear connection for the reader between witches and Catholics as traitors or terrorists. The entire book is an exercise in political meddling;
Nevertheless, it represents an extraordinarily detailed account of a 17th century. century witch trial in the courtroom of Lancaster Castle on 18 August 1612 the trial of the pendle witches began the courtroom is still a functioning court in 1612 it would not have looked much like this, however there was a judge, in fact, two judges in In this case, a jury is a witness and the accused, and as Thomas Potts scribbled the verbatim notes that would become his best-selling book, the outcome of the trial was far from a foregone conclusion, probably Less than half of accused witches are actually convicted and executed and the set of records you have, which are very reliable for this, suggests that it is probably more of a 75 per cent acquittal rate, whatever the odds are for the Jenna's sister, whose curse had started the whole thing, things were not looking good, poor Alison Devis, she didn't even want to defend herself, she was completely convinced of her own guilt, her words had caused the peddler to collapse and that made her terrified.
In court they asked her if through her magical power she could restore the peddler's health and strength, but unfortunately she said she couldn't, but she did say it and others agreed with her that her grandmother would have been able to help him, But in the four months of waiting for the trial to begin, Grandma Demdi might die in the dirty little cell, Thomas Potts had some sympathy for Alison. He liked his witches desperate and remorseful. His mother was neither, and Potts. was vile to her he wrote that this hateful witch was marked with an absurd mark in nature which was her left eye lower than the other, the one facing the other looking up so strangely deformed as the best who were present claimed not to They had often seen something like this 400 years ago it was not common for a witness to be brought to testify in the courtroom itself but on August 18, 1612 a star appeared The witness was being prepared to take the stand Elizabeth Devis was furious and protested for his innocence, but then brought in Janet, his nine-year-old daughter, to testify against him.
Elizabeth was distraught, she screamed at him desperately. Janet burst into tears, she was just a little girl. After all, before he went to the judge and asked for his mother to be taken away before speaking, once Elizabeth was silenced and Janet had her hearing, he jumped up on a table and calmly denounced his own mother as a witch when I He was a probation officer. Many moons ago I spent a lot of time sitting in Lancashire crown courts, many of them intimidating old booths like this one, and some of the cases involved children's evidence because the legal system these days is very sensitive in its handling of Young.
We will never know why Janet Devis said what she said, but standing at the center stage table in the middle of this moral, political and legal drama, I can't help but think that she was reciting her lines: My mother is a witch and I know What's the true. I have seen her spirit in the form of a brown dog that she called ball. The dog asked her what she wanted her to do and she replied that she would ask him to help her kill John Robinson of Barley. James Robinson. Henry Mitten. jennett went on to describe the meeting at malking tower on good friday at 12 noon about 20 people came to our house my mother told me they were all witches she described the food they ate and named six people she had seen there whose name she knew as well as a mother and brother that there is a kind of paradox surrounding the evidence of children in the courtroom: on the one hand, they are considered unreliable because they are so young, but, on the other hand , they are considered pure witnesses. truth, so insomnia like Janet Devis's is a horrible thing about exploiting such a young girl and I think people may have felt that too at the time, but at the same time she could very well be the means to open this secret ring. of witchcraft it was not just jenna who testified against elizabeth her son james also denounced her said that three skulls had been stolen from graves in the new church in pendle and four of the teeth were then kept in the malkin tower four teeth were later presented in court that he had been found in Malkin Tower by the sheriff along with a clay figure, all buried together in the ground, but presenting evidence against his mother wouldn't help him because Janet also turned on her own brother.
Jenna said that James had been a witch for three years she had seen his spirit kill three people and then went on to recite spells that she said she had heard her brother use on Good Friday I will fast as long as I can through a blue and a red As a good sir, he was with the rude Gabriel. He lays down to sleep on the floor. What we have here is a series of half-understood memories, perhaps a fourth part of prayer practices, rights of popular Catholicism, and a small game text. I can't sleep. nor get up they swirl into something That would sound impressive to a listener as a healing spell.
Sweet Jesus, our Lord. Amen. Potts was impressed by Janet's testimony. In fact, he seemed to enjoy a calm, clear and chilling story. Although she was very young, she was wonderful to the court with how modest she was. government and understanding, she presented this evidence against the prisoner in the bar being her own natural brother and I would know that what they were saying would probably lead to Mom and Grandma being hanged and I don't think Janet really knew that along the way. an adult would know, I think she only knew intellectually and not emotionally and that's why I think her mother yells at her the way she does.
I think her mother is desperately trying to at least make her realize what she has done. She's clearly a pretty strange person. girl, she is extremely articulate, she clearly doesn't like her family, she is a little different from the others, we don't know who her father was, she is the only legitimate daughter and she is clearly really terrified of the magistrates and determined to save herself at all costs . or more likely, she gives the opportunity for all sorts of hidden resentments and animosities against her family to explode lethally. I think we should imagine that she believes in the reality of witchcraft and that these people really are witches and that she seeks to distance herself from it.
They, of course, have also been put under great pressure, it may be direct pressure, it may simply be the atmospheric pressure of the courtroom, the tension of all these men around her are telling her that, in fact, the witchcraft has taken place and that she is the axis of the punishment was not only her own family, Janet was willing to denounce Alice Nutter as witches and her friends were in better conditions and the judge demanded more evidence against them, he organized identity parades mixing them with other prisoners. from the castle one by one janet chose them you were there on good friday you had the most beautiful dress you ate the lamb you were sitting next to me in an attempt to surprise her the judge then asked if you saw joanna's style done -up name no sir, never i heard from her most early modern witch hunters rely on the bible or the text of the great continental demonologists as their texts the lancashire witch trials are really unusual in that they ignore them quite completely and fit into the book of the king himself, demonology of king james and in a way that is extremely strange, they are simply checking boxes, king james says that witches use body parts for evil magic, body parts are found in the lecture, which is property , they make clay images, screams, it's what language it is.
What children are supposed to be doing are extremely useful as witnesses. Wow, suddenly we have Janet, so what these people are doing is looking to the monarch as his source of wisdom. The evidence against the prisoners had been perfectly accumulated. We tend to assume that witchcraft was just one. great deception and therefore that the witches who were convicted were actually innocent but the accused witches also believed in witchcraft and I think it is unlikely to think that someone who has never tried to use magic to kill someone, today we prosecute people and we punish them. If they attempt to commit a crime but fail, then the witches of 1612 by that measure were innocent.
At the end of the two-day trial, the jury had decided that Janet's entire family and most of her neighbors were guilty of causing death or harm by witchcraft ten people were sentenced to hanging elizabeth devis alison devis james devis ann whittle and redfearn isabel roby alice nutter jane bullcock john bulcock catherine hewitt the day after the trial the ten condemned prisoners were taken to a place still known as gallows hill this It was a piece of state theater, this was the moment when the majesty of God and the majesty of the law were highly concentrated in this single event and everyone could see its power at the critical moment when the witch was taken out forced to climb the ladder and rope. she stood on her neck and then, at that moment, the crowd became quite silent, they died not from a broken neck but from a slow strangulation thatIt could take up to 20 minutes, in fact, there are accounts of friends and family who approached pulling the legs of the poor man being executed to hasten his end.
The condemned prisoners were expected to make a final confession. It was a last chance to save their souls although of course not their lives told us that elizabeth and alice nutter never confessed even with their last words, i think probably by the standards of the time janet would have been encouraged to be there too. many of the scariest places in history are completely transformed now that this is a park where kids come to play soccer and do whatever kids do in parks these days, for me the scariest thought about what What happened here was the idea that Jenna could very well have been watching the hangings and the last thing Elizabeth could have seen while watching from the gallows could have been the face. of her daughter, the girl who put her there, we know nothing about what happened to the orphan Janet Devis in the years following the execution of her entire family and most of her neighbors, it is difficult to imagine that anyone would want to take her in , but one could argue that they were not his last victims thanks to Potzer's published account.
Janet's influence would travel far beyond Lancashire, although there were previous cases of children being heard as witnesses in witch trials, the law stated that children under 14 were non-credible Witnesses as they could not take an oath, but that was going to change. Imagine that you are a justice of the peace or a magistrate from the 17th century. You are not trained in law like judges, but you need to investigate, question witnesses, and compile a case. Because of its size, what you need is a handy book that gives you all the basics, something you can pull off the shelf when you need it.
Country Justice is that book, it's by a man named Dalton and it was first published in 1618. This manual was used by all magistrates both here and in the United States colonies. You have some people accused of witchcraft, so you seek advice on witnesses. page 541 and here it is for children I find it in the book of the discovery of witches in lancaster sizes that is the book by thomas potts that the son and daughter who are jennet and james by elizabeth devis a witch here we go the one about nine years old the Others of the fourteen, under oath, gave open evidence against their mother, then a prisoner in court, so what Jenna did in 1612 ended up setting a precedent for magistrate.
It is not only here but throughout the Atlantic that children's testimony is sought in witch trials and Before we say that this is scandalous, let us remember that today there are still trials that rely on children's testimony due to the lack of alternative witnesses . Today, the testimony of children as young as three years old has been used in criminal trials. The law says that they have to understand the questions they were asked and give answers that were understandable and the most extraordinary thing was that Jenna herself would become a victim of the same president she appointed in November 1633, 22 years after Janet, nine-year-old, testify against a family of ten-year-olds.
A five-year-old boy from Pendle came home late one night and told his parents a very strange story. Edmund Robinson explained that the reason he was late was that he had been picking berries and while he was picking berries he said that he had seen two greyhounds. I tried to get them to chase her hair but they wouldn't run so I hit them with a stick, one of the dogs turned into a witch and the other into a boy and then she turned him into a horse. The witch took me along the way. horse to that house horse stones and his barn was full of witches maybe 60 of them and from the ceiling there were all these ropes hanging and they were pulling the ropes and this amazing food fell to the floor.
I was so scared that I ran away and they chased me for a long time and before I got home I met a boy with cloven hooves, so I fought with him, that's why I'm so disheveled, it's not my fault, all of which seems to have been accepted as a genuine reason for levity, something surprising after listening. In this story, the boy's father took him from town to town to visit churches and point out the witches he had seen for three months. The curator of a local church described seeing Edmund at work. The boy was taken to Kildweek church and attacked. a stall to see him, which caused a little disturbance in the congregation for a while and after prayers people told me that he was the boy who discovered witches based on the evidence of Edmund's strange story.
About 20 people were jailed and tried in February. 1634 one of them was called janet devis accused of killing isabel, wife of william nutter. I see absolutely no reason to think that it is not the same janet devis from the previous trial in lancashire that Edmund Robinson accuses, the fact that someone with the same name appears. as a suspect in the second trial with some of the same families involved in the same place I think it's very suggestive I think there's really no reason to suspect that it's not her again it's the stories that the children tell that have incredible power not only Edmund's story in 1633, but the words Jenna used in 1612 have come back to haunt her.
She had witnessed the crown when she was nine years old and had been spared the news, but this time she would surely be hanged, but they were different. Times and England had changed since 1612. When we look back at the 17th century, we think of what happened before the 17th century, we think of a world where witches were persecuted, where people trusted what other people said, everyone was suspicious, everyone was very insecure. It was a time of great political and religious uncertainty and then when you look back at the 18th century you have a sense of order and stability, so the 17th century was a period of transition when Thomas Potts wrote his book that he thought would please the king with his tale, but James's continued interest in the witch trials led him to become more skeptical.
Something very important happens in Leicester in 1616. A boy of about 12 or 13 years old claims that he is bewitched. The case goes to trial and nine women are hanged. The next month, James the First goes to Lester, interviews the boy and finds out that he is lying and then, as a consequence, the judges are very reprimanded and this serves as a message to other judges to be very, very cautious in cases of witchcraft, especially if it is your style. It turns out that the witness is a boy and when Edmund told his story in 1633, a new king was on the throne, Charles I had even more doubts about the witch hunt than his father and his attitude towards religion was so different from that of his parents who many suspected were Catholic his wife certainly was Catholic it is crudely true that the most radical Protestants the people we call Puritans are the most worried about the devil and demons and since Charles the First is a king who is deeply suspicious of Puritanism it is quite suspected of demon tales, so here we are 22 years later, back in the courtroom, just when earlier a jury heard a child tell witch stories, but this time Janet was in the dark and, just like before , the jury believed that the boy was honest and the prisoners evil in edmonds testimony 17 people were found guilty and should have been sentenced to death, but in this new type of england this changed england the judges were not happy with these verdicts and the matter was referred to London to the king and the privy council four were sent from lancashire to london but not janet she was one of those waiting in the castle where several prisoners had already died of prison fever during the 15 months they had spent there london In 1634 it would have been another world for the women of Lancashire when they arrived the four were held in the fleet jail while there a couple of playwrights immediately produced a play called The Witches of Lancashire presenting the story told by Little Edmund they carried the play to the stage so quickly that while the women were behind bars on display to the public for a penny or two a piece was already being performed, Londoners could go to jail in the morning to attack a witch or a northerner and then go to see a play about them in the afternoon. the complete entertainment package a hair a hair there the devil takes these cars won't they move?
I'll see if I can put spirits on you and remind you what hulu hallu means now bless heaven one of the greyhounds turned into a woman and the other into a child, you have served me well to balance me, so, young rascal, you have used me like a dog, oh no, you, a witch. Stories of power never cease to amaze me. A young man from rural Lancashire tells his story the next minute, it's a Play in London: It's interesting that although in 1634 most people still believed in witches, they could laugh at them, something that would never have happened in 1612.
This new way of seeing the world was also evident in the advances made by scientists that would transform our understanding of nature throughout the century; scientific research and experimentation did not banish the belief in nature overnight. witchcraft and superstition, far from it, but they did provide serious tools to try to distinguish the innocent from the guilty. These were applied in 1634 to Lancashire women accused of witchcraft and this was one of the first cases of what became known as forensic science. Science related to courts. The trial of 1612 represents an older way of thinking in which everything was based on credulity, superstition, everyone willing to believe everything.
It is unpleasant that was said when you get to 1634, although it is by no means a scientific era, it seems that people are behaving in a more rational way and demanding what we would consider objective forensic scientific evidence, what is it? In the 17th century, slowly and in fits and starts, the belief is changing that something must be demonstrated physically, but if it cannot be demonstrated in medicine, it cannot be used as evidence, in other words, that there may be an invisible world of spirits. around. but you have to demonstrate a physical effect in order to take them to a court of law.
King James had written in his demonology that a good way to identify a witch is to look for witches to mark a place on the body where you can see a breast that had been used by the devil to breastfeed all the accused in Lancashire. were examined for these marks, including Janet. Here he says they found Janet Devis. Two porridges are marks in their secrets. I think Secrets probably means exactly what you think the other four people mean. brought to London also had her marks on the list, for example, Margaret Johnson, a mark or pap between her name and her secrets.
Now King Charles wanted his trusted doctor, William Harvey, to re-examine the women. William Harvey is one of the great British doctors of all time. He is best known for discovering how blood circulates through the body. He takes his place alongside people like Isaac Newton and Christopher Wren as one of the new forward-thinking people of the 17th century who are plugging into the European will to do things better. that never harvey was sent on more than one occasion to examine witches by order of the king there was a witch in the village who had a toad as a familiar, it was not an unknown situation and william harvey caught the toad and dissected it and then showed the dissection to the witch to show him that he was just a normal toad that there was nothing supernatural about him and the woman flew towards him and practically tried to tear off his skin with her nails, you killed my toad, she was not the least bit grateful. that she had brought science and rationality to her aid from her point of view, she had killed her pet and had probably removed the foundation stone of her business here in London.
Harvey recruited five doctors and ten midwives to perform the exam, this time almost all of them. of the previously suspicious marks were not considered anything unnatural and this is actually the way the witch hunt is undone; It's not so much people going straight to the core and saying we don't believe in witchcraft, but people saying we have to be. much more careful with how we prosecute because the standards of evidence need to be raised and if the standard of proof is raised high enough for the trials to come to an end completely, according to William Harvey and his scientific team there was no evidence physical against any of the prisoners now everything depended solely on the child's evidence in 1612 janet devis had been unflappable in court cold and consistent but in 1634, under interrogation by the privy council and the secretary of state, edmund robinson, aged ten , broke down, said that the story he told was inspired by stories he had heard about the Devis family.
He had heard from the neighbor about a witches' banquet being held at the mocking tower in Pendle Forest about 20 years ago and interrogation established that Edmund's father had been blackmailing the women. get his son to accuseanyone who refused to pay the robinson family had excellent new cows janet and the other prisoners were acquitted of witchcraft to me the story is notable because the story told by janet in 1612 had such resonance that it took on a life of its own pendle and was he refused to leave edmund accused janet of witchcraft precisely because her story had been so convincing and so convincing his own words were almost his death since the time of janet devis we have become less credulous about magic the more rigorous in our demand for empirical evidence In our modern technological age we pride ourselves on our rationality and scientific understanding of the world some things don't change many people still believe in evil although of course the place where that evil occurs tends to change from year to year and from community to community murderers of child drug dealers pedophiles terrorists many still consider such evil to be the work of the devil believe it or not the church of england continues to perform exorcisms now as then we are afraid and in times of crisis fear still leads to miscarriages of justice when we hear a history like that of Lancashire with trials from the first half of the 17th century, it is easy to feel distance from this strange alien world where people believe things we do not believe and act in ways we might consider barbaric but of course, in the later world to 9/11, in the era of the war on terror, it is still quite easy to build policies based on paranoia and therefore overreact in certain situations and infringe on civil liberties in the name of security, so in situations where we don't feel threatened by the enemy within the people around us who might be trying to undermine Western civilization, we can easily find ourselves behaving in ways frighteningly similar to the ways some of those people behaved. in pendle in 1612 or 1633, what about janet devis the lancashire girl at the center of this story emerged unscathed from two witch trials perhaps in the prison records of 1636 and some of the others acquitted of witchcraft were still imprisoned the Inmates at Lancaster Castle had to pay for their food and stay until the debt was settled, which for someone like Janet might have been impossible.
There are no further records of Janet Devis after 1636, but we do know that her legacy lived three thousand miles from Lancaster. 19 people were hanged in 1692. These witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts, were Perhaps the most infamous test in history (most of the evidence was provided by children at the Salem magistrates' table) was the country's justice Dalton, suggesting that children were suitable witnesses at witch trials and quoting Janet Devis Devis herself, which we find so
disturbing, we will never know why she said what she said, but that desire to believe her was born of the kind of wild, irrational fear that can pit neighbor against neighbor and relative against relative and can heal. to the demons.
For all of us, perhaps it's because our protective instincts are so strong and our imaginations so powerful, but we still struggle to control that fear in times of crisis, when the truth can be the hardest thing to guess.
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