floods were so extreme in Holland that waters rose higher than anyone alive had seen them before, many gates and dikes broke, livestock died, some islands were completely flooded over, in Antwerp there was a thunderstorm, setting fire to several towers
A woman came into the house of a grazier when mutton was scarce and demanded some of his, he denied her to find a few days later that thirty of his sheep had been killed, he then burned one of his sheep according to the advice of the town and the witch appeared, he cut her thinking by popular opinion that taking her blood would take away her powers, she said she’d have him arrested and demanded money and set his house on fire later, she was apprehended, first pleaded guilty, and then confessed, she began to swell and mentioned the devil came to suck on her in the form of a rat, she was hanged.
In 1674, an unknown writer in London published a pamphlet describing the accusation and conviction of an elderly woman named Ann Foster for consorting with the devil and using witchcraft against her neighbor. The full title of this pamphlet is as follows: “A Full and True Relation of the Tryal, Condemnation, and Execution of Ann Foster, (Who was Arrained for a Witch) on Saturday the 22nd of this Instant August, at the place of Execution at Northampton. With the Manner how She by her Malice and Witchcraft set all the Barns and Corn on Fire belonging to one Joseph Weeden living in Eastcoat, and bewitched a whole Flock of Sheep in a most lamentable manner, and betwitching all his Horses, with his other Cattle, to the utter Ruin and undoing of the said Joseph Weeden. And also in what likeness the Devil appeared to Her while she was in Prison, and the manner of her Deportment at her Tryal”.
The pamphlet begins as an almost academic argument about the existence of witches and witchcraft. The writer reveals that he had previously not believed in such things, until he witnessed the damage Ann Foster had done. This tale is set in a town called Eastcoat in Northampton Shire in April.
It was the time of year in which mutton is scarce and precious. However, Joseph Weeden, referred to as the Grazier, choose to slaughter a sheep for his family. Knowing this, Ann Foster appeared at his house, asking for some charity. She did not want to pay the full worth of any of the meat, and thus Weeden declined. Elderly and already possessing the reputation of talking to herself, Ann left muttering threats. A couple days later, Weeden finds thirty of his sheep dismembered in their pasture.
The Grazier was so “amazed at the strangeness of the spectacle” that he called several of his neighbors over. They agreed that he was probably bewitched, and that burning one of the sheep carcasses would summon the witch who had cursed Weeden. Ann came running almost as soon as the sheep was on the fire. It was also general knowledge that “fetching the blood” from the witch would drain her of her powers. Thus, the Grazier also cut her above the hand. An infection formed within the cut, and Ann threated to have him arrested. Wanting to avoid trouble, Weeden offered to pay for her to go to a healer. The old woman took the money, claiming it to be “the Divils mony” and that it would allow her to punish him.
The next month (May), Weeden’s house and barns caught fire and could not be contained. One barn burned down completely and some of his wheat was lost. Foster was seen watching the blaze and telling the townsfolk that they would not be able to put out the fire. The townsfolk then brought these occurrences to the local Justice of the Peace and claimed Ann Foster was a witch and consorting with the devil.
Foster originally claimed she was not guilty, but confessed after hearing witness statements. “Seeing that Sentence of Death was past upon her”, the woman then tried to ask God and Weeden for forgiveness and asked that her life be spared. When it became clear that she was going to be executed, she asked to be burned at the stake. However, the court executed her in its usual manner, by hanging.
In this case, it appears that Ann Foster, an elderly and unpopular member of the community, may have practiced, or claimed to have practiced, witchcraft as a means of social power. When she does not get her way, she threatens Joseph Weeden. She threatens him with magic and legal action on two separate occasions and invokes the Devil’s name in her arguments. However, such evidence was done publicly and backfired for her when the villagers had her arrested. Here, Ann confesses, but claims to see God’s light and attempts to talk her way out of execution. Unfortunately for her, it does not work. As my research continues, it would be interesting to see if there are other instances in which women practice, or claim to practice, witchcraft in order to exert some power through intimidation or fear in their communities.
Mary Foster begged for money and food from a Joseph Weedon, and when he denied her he found his sheep to be dead, she was called before a Justice of the Peace multiple times but denied, a jury of women examined her to find teats on her body that were sucked on, she admitted to being carried into the air by the devil to light his barn on fire, she confessed to the crimes but not to being a witch, wanted to be burnt but was hanged, she was asked to do a trick by a citizen of London and almost escaped on a floating bason/basin?, a highway robber confessed and was also executed, along with another woman who killed her bastard child.
a storm of hail and lightning struck a church, killed and hurt many, the minister was struck on the Pulpit but not harmed, a child in a mothers arm killed but the mother not hurt, hail as big as eggs, call for England to repent
Joan Peterson was accused of poisoning a doctor, bewitching cows, bewitched a man to near death for not giving her all her money, she was executed.
in January the author predicts treacheries from Scotland, Ireland, and Denmark, March holds two eclipses of the sun and moon, which is good news for princes but tells of sickness and death of men and cattle, also storms
Elizabeth Weed saw three spirits, a young boy and two puppies which told her to renounce God and make a blood covenant with Devil, which she did, her spirits had sex with her and killed livestock for her, a poor John Winnick acquiesced to renouncing Christ in exchange for spirits helping him financially, Weed than offered a white dog to Weed and similarly converted her, contains other examinations and confessions of other witches and related incidents.
a Mr. Lowes confessed he bewitch a ship, A Thomas Evered and his wife Mary confessed to bewitching beer, other witches who bewitched children and cattle, they found teats on many of the witches in shapes of thunderbolts and mice and snakes, 120 other suspected witches in prison, the described witches were executed
a woman came to a house where only a maid was present demanding beer and bacon, when the family returned the maid was trembling in silence and the beer was everywhere and the master’s pigs died, reports of 40 arraigned and 20 executed witches at the Assizes in Norfolke
original suspicions of Elizabeth Savvyer, spinster, after the death of nurse-children and cattle, used an ‘old ridiculous custome’ of burning the thatch of her house to see if she would come, she confessed that the Devil accessed her through her tongue, they had a woman search her body and found a mark in the form of a ‘teate,’ contains interrogation of her in dialogue, was executed