The full tryals, examination, and condemnation of four notorious witches

Brief summary:
Rebecca West, Margaret Landis, Susan Cock, and Rose Hallybread were brought to court for the bewitching of cattle and children, the devil came to Rebecca in the shape of a young man, promising to revenge her enemies and be her loving husband, killed a man for her, John Hart, the man bewitched to death, was reported by his father to have yelled Rebecca’s name before dying, Margaret bewitch a man’s son to death after he accused her of being a witch, she admitted to having Imps suck teats near her ‘privy parts,’ they all confessed and were executed.

Fuller summary:
Rebecca West, Margaret Landis, Susan Cock and Rose Hallybread were four “notorious and reputed witches”. These women were examined for supposed “diabolical and abominable practices” on children and cattle. The beginning of the examination acknowledges that wise men don’t always believe the extraordinary accounts of witches and some are tried without faithful evidence. However, these four trials of the four witches are just.

The four trials took place on March 5th, beginning with Rebecca West. John Edes testified against her, stating a young man came to her, promising that he would have revenge on all her enemies and have all she desired, if she denied God. Matthew Hopkins told an account of Rebecca claiming the devil would marry her, but then he killed her, but he was still her “loving husband” who would avenge her of her enemies. Rebecca asked him to kill John Hart, which was done accordingly. Thomas Hart (John’s father) testified that his son died by witchcraft and when his son was being tortured to death, he heard him cry out against Rebecca. Unable to defend herself against these accusations, Rebecca claimed her “great poverty” had been the cause for her wrongdoing and pleaded guilty. The jury found her guilty of murder and witchcraft, and denied her the mercy she desired.

The death of a child by witchcraft was blamed on Margaret Landis. Supposedly, one day in December, she was walking by a man and his child. When the child pointed at Margaret and said, “there goes pegg the Witch”, Margaret turned around and clapped her hands “in a threatening manner”, telling the child she would smart it. That night, the child became sick and died three weeks later. A witness said that when the child was sick, she would see “pegg the Witch” by her bedside making strange mouths at her. More evidence that suggested Margaret was a witch included her “Imps” doing misfortunes and sucking on “teats near the privy parts”. Margaret was also overheard planning the child’s ruin in Mr. Bargrrans Orchard, and the child’s doctors claimed she died under the torture of “some diabolical agent”. Margaret’s defense was that all who testified had a grudge against her and they were all malicious people, after which she let a terrifying howl that scared the whole bench. After citing that the Holy Scripture declares witches should not live, they found her guilty.

Susan Cook and Rose Hallybread were arraigned together for the supposed killing of two children, John and Mary Peak. Abraham Chad and Elin Sheacraft both were present during the attempted torture of the children by the witches, but were asked to recall the evidence separately to ensure it was valid. According to Abraham, the two witches made wax figures of the children, and then stuck pins and needles into them while reciting strange words. The next day, the children had marks in the same areas where the wax figures were pricked and were muttering the strange words the witches had said. Elin gave the same account as Abraham, and a midwife and other women claimed they found holes in the children’s bodies. The children claimed the “Devils Imps” had done this horrible act to them. There were many witnesses that testified against the two witches, and after careful consideration by the jury, they were found guilty and sentenced to be burned at the stake.

When the witches got to the place of execution, they cried and howled and confessed to killing an abundance of cattle, which they attributed to “pride, malice, and revenge” that made them enter a league with the devil. They were fooled by the devil and warned all women not to let him fool you, or you will also die a shameful death.

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