Tag Archives: VictimWife

The tryall and examination of Mrs. Joan Peterson

Brief summary

Joan Peterson was examined for the poisoning and bewitching of Lady Powel, for which she confessed, Giles Fender also confessed to making a blood covenant with the Devil through a Jesuit, and murdering his wife, he was given a ring that could make him disappear, the Devil appeared to him in the jail as a lawyer and gave him the means to escape, after which he was apprehended again when his covenant wore off, was hanged.

Fuller summary
This pamphlet deals primarily with the 1652 trial of Giles Fenderlin, a soldier who made a pact of protection with the devil via a Jesuit priest. The pamphlet recounts Fenderlin’s confession, beginning with a cursory mention of his murder of a woman purported to be his wife. Fenderlin, a soldier in the Low Countries (Flanders at the time of the covenant) paid a Jesuit priest 45 shillings for protection provided by the Devil. He and the two other soldiers accompanying him asked for demonstrations on a rooster and a cat, and when they were satisfied with the results, paid the priest 45 shillings. For the next five years Fenderlin was protected in battle. Bullets bounced off of him. When the covenant expired he decided to renew it for the next 14. Fenderlin wrote his name in his own blood, and the Jesuit gave Fenderlin an enchanted ring that could reveal money hoards and transport the wearer miles away from danger.

Spirits visited Fenderlin several times while he was incarcerated. The Devil himself visited Fenderlin, who took the form of a lawyer and told Fenderlin to hang himself. A fellow inmate of Fenderlin’s reported seeing a spirit who took the form of a bishop. Fenderlin renounced it, telling the spirit that it should return if it was from hell. The spirit “spit fire in his face like a flame.” Other fellow inmates reported seeing Fenderlin’s familiar, who appeared at night as a man with no arms or head. An apparition of a dog also appeared, but Fenderlin rejected its affections (“saying ‘Avoid Satan’”).

On the eve of Fenderlin’s execution, he warned some inmates “of good repute” that they might be scared by the apparitions that would haunt him that night. The inmates declared they were afraid only of God. That night they heard rustling in the straw, and Fenderlin yelled at an apparent spirit. The inmates, however, asserted that it was not a spirit but “the guilt of your own Conscience, and nothing else; for we are all rational men, and cannot discern any thing.” Fenderlin then assured them that he was in his right mind. Fenderlin was hanged in

This section of the pamphlet brings up several interesting issues that I would like to explore: the treatment of male witches in the late 17th century, the allusions to mental illness, the appearance of a specifically Jesuit Catholic priest, the possible interactions between the representation of Fenderlin’s crime and his term as a soldier in the Low Countries, and the treatment (or lack thereof) of Fenderlin’s crime against his wife.

There is what seems to be a short addendum (or preview of an upcoming pamphlet) about Joan Peterson, who was a “practitioner of physick” accused of witchcraft because a woman she had given a potion died. However, Peterson denied any wrongdoing, as the patient was 80 years old, and insisted that she did not administer any potion and only provided the woman with “comfortable and nourishing” care. The author indicates that a pamphlet directly dealing with the trial is forthcoming.

A miracle, of miracles As fearefull as euer

Brief summary
Includes the story of Steven Cooper and his wife Margaret, Cooper fell sick and sent his wife to do business about a farm he owned, she began to act as if possessed by some evil spirit, she went into fits and foamed at the mouth, she saw visions of a snail carrying fire, saw the Devil, in the shape of a headless bear he came and took her away for a while, she felt better later and admitted her sinning was the cause of the possession; also includes the story of a maid in Germany who died, but when her mother went to say goodbye to her body, she awoke and began preaching about the end of the world, she had visions of an old man and angels, many religious men came to visit her.

Fuller summary
Strange News out of Sommersetshire
These events occurred in September of last year in the town of Dichet, Sommersetshire. They concern a Yeoman and his wife, both known to be of good wealth and well loved by their neighbors. On September 9th Steven Cooper, being sick and weak, sent his wife, Margaret Cooper, to Glocestershire to handle business concerning their farm. She returned home after a day and a half with suggestions for bettering the farm, speaking idly and at great length about the farm and about a groate [silver coin?] that her young son had found the previous week. She continued speaking of these things for over a day, at which time her husband, disquieted by her idle talk, persuaded her to call upon God and counseled her to pray with him. Unable to maintain her prayer, withdrawn by the Devil, she demanded to see the groate her son had found, in addition to her wedding ring. When her husband would not show her the requested items she stared at him until he was frightened and called her sister and others to come help. When they arrived they held her down in her bed and she fought violently to get up until she began foaming at the mouth. After this episode of physical violence Margaret Cooper began to talk of a headless bear that had followed her on her trip into town. This went on intermittently for a week. At midnight on Sunday the candle in her room burned out and she claimed to see a snail carrying fire. She told her husband that she saw the Devil, and her husband himself saw a headless bear approaching her bed. Seven people in the room saw the bear strike Margaret Cooper’s feet, then roll her into a ball and throw her around the room and down a flight of stairs. Fiery flames and a horrible stink filled the hall. Her husband continued to pray until she told all present that the bear had gone. She returned to bed, where the candle burned dimly. Very suddenly her legs were out the open window at the head of the bed, though no witness can say how the window was opened, and her legs were wrapped around the post in the middle of the window. There was a knocking heard near where her feet hung, accompanied by more fire and stink. Steven Cooper and his brother pulled her back indoors, cried for the Lord to save her, and put her on her feet. At this point she saw a shining child outside of the window, which her husband and the rest saw as well. The candle in the room burned very bright and the child disappeared. Margaret Cooper was laid back in her bed, feeling better, and acknowledged it was for her sins that she was so tormented by the evil spirit.

The Wonderful work of God, showed by a Prophesy of a poor Country mans Daughter in Germany. 1613.

Last October 1st there was a wedding between a townsman, of low birth but very well liked, and the daughter of a gentleman at Rostorfe, near Melwing, Germany. The next day the bridegroom’s sister, a countryman’s daughter, came to visit with another young lady. The bride insulted her young sister-in-law’s clothes, mocking her father’s poverty. The gentleman’s daughter boasted of her own fine attire and jewels, having them brought out to show off. The third day after the wedding the poor country girl and the gentleman’s daughter both died suddenly within the same hour. Twenty-two hours after their death the mother of the country girl asked to have a final look at her daughter’s corpse, at which time the girl woke up and spoke to her mother, saying she had been sent as a messenger, to warn those who had sinned against God, and would return to the grave in five days. She told a story of meeting an old man with a long gray beard on a bridge. He took her to a castle filled with angels and charged her with the task of spreading mercy to the penitent and warning others who sin through pride and envy. She warned of God’s wrath, made manifest in wars, murder and natural disasters. The clothes that the gentleman’s daughter wore, because of the pride and vanity of her and her parents, were made to stink so much that no one could ever wear them again and the entire chamber where her body lay had to be walled in. Many people came to listen to the country girl’s speeches and on the fifth day, after taking the sacrament, she committed her Soul to God.

The Overflowing of Waters, breaking from the Seas in the County of Lincolne.

In the present month of November, a flood began in the village of Long-sutton and spread to cover the entire county of Lincolne. The wind was blowing from North and North-east, and the water came in very suddenly, appearing like clouds rolling out of the sky, covering 18-20 villages over the span of 16 miles. It is reported that over two thousand head of cattle and many thousands of sheep perished, whole stacks and ricks of peas and beans were overturned, and nothing could be seen but the upper parts of houses and the tops of trees. Some families climbed up into trees to remain safe, one man swam a mile with his wife and children on his back, and others rode on swimming horses to safety. At this time few people are known to have perished. The damage caused over the course of 4 days will take over 7 years to repair. This event calls to mind similar stories from other parts of England, including near London. Water, like Fire, must be kept under the government of God in his mercy; both elements are good when well used but evil when abused.

The most cruell and bloody murther committed by an Inkeepers wife

Brief summary
Annis and George Dell ransacked the house of Anthony James, killed him, then the woman stabbed his pregnant wife with a knife killing her, sister revealed the murder even after having her tongue cut out, Annis was apprehended and brought to the Assizes when the boy of Anthony James was found in the bottom of a pond, she became a beggar after, they were both executed in addition to Iohane Harrison and her daughter.

Fuller summary
Anthony James is introduced as a hard workingman with a relationship like “ Abraham and Sara, he loving to her, she obedient to him”.(3). Together they had one daughter, Elizabeth, and a son, Anthony.

According to the pamphlet, the children came across the house of a very rich man. He had gold and silver among other things. They bound him and he begged them to take everything in exchange for his life. They kill the wealthy man’s child, his wife, and him. Then, two men named George Dell and a man Nicholas Dracon brutally murdered the son in Hatfield, as the title suggests. Ultimately, the men were executed in the public square of execution.

The last two pages of the pamphlet specifically talk about Iohane Harrifon, who has been accused and convicted of being a witch. Essentially, the pages focus on her in Royfton. For example, it focuses on her having taken advantage of an innocent and honest man and her Witch- side came out. He escaped but was not found and the ending of the pamphlet states that he was with George Dell and other victims, thus implying that he was dead.

The apprehension and confession of three notorious witches

Brief summary:
Condemned and executed, Ioan Cunny taught by mother to draw circles in the ground for Satan, made frog spirits appear and sent them to hurt people, reported by two sons, Ioan Vpney had a mole and a toad spirit, sent the toad to kill wives of accusers, Ioan Prentice saw the devil appear to her in the form of a ferret which sucked her blood, executed together

Brief summary:
This pamphlet includes the confessions of three witches, as well as some of the evidence given against them and the result of their trial. The pamphlet begins with an address to the reader, warning against the seductiveness of having dealings with Satan. This address reminds the reader that God will not allow such actions, and no one should hide such offenders.

Following this warning, the first main section of the pamphlet contains the confession of Joan Cunny, a widow from Essex. Mother Cunny explains that she learned to be a witch from Mother Humfrye who instructed her to draw a circle on the ground and say a specific prayer to Satan. Mother Cunny says that when she first called on Satan two spirits appeared to her in the shape of frogs, and it is suggested that she had at least two more spirits. All four of the spirits have names, and notes in the margins explain their different abilities-one killed men, one killed women, one killed horses and one killed cattle. Mother Cunny also confesses that she had sent her spirits to hurt a variety of people in the village, and while some people were able to repel them by the force of their belief in God, other people were harmed by the spirits. She denies sending her spirits to hurt some specific people, but does say that her daughter Margaret may have sent out the spirits to hurt people as well.

Following this confession, Mother Cunny’s oldest grandson gives evidence against her, saying that she had cursed Harry Finches’ wife for not giving her anything to drink and that the woman died a week later. The grandson also explains that once he was sent to get wood but had it stolen from him by another boy, and that when he told Mother Cunny this she told her spirit to prick the thief in the foot and he became lame. Then, the boy continues, they went together to the Sheriff’s field and she had her spirit knock down an Oak tree, although there was no wind. This is the end of the confession of the first witch.

The second witch, Joan Upney, begins her confession by saying that a different witch came to her house and gave her something that looked like a mole and told her it would do her bidding. That Mole left her about a year later, but the same witch gave her another mole and a toad, and Mother Upney says she has always had a toad to do her bidding since that time. She admits that she send her toad to pinch a variety of people, and that her younger daughter used them as well. That is the end of her confession.

The confession of the final witch, Joan Prentice, begins with Mother Prentice saying that six years ago the devil appeared to her in the shape of a ferret as she was getting ready for bed. She recounts that the ferret asked her for her soul and when asked what he was said he was Satan but that she should not fear him as he just wanted her soul. Mother Prentice said that her soul belonged to Jesus and she could not give it to the ferret, so the ferret asked for her blood and drank from a finger on her left hand, and told her his name was Bidd. Mother Prentice recounts that the ferret came to her often, only as she was getting ready for bed, and that it drank blood from her left cheek and asked for her commands. Mother Prentice confesses that she asked the ferret to spoil a neighbors’ drink, and to nip one of Master Glascocks’ children, a girl named Sara. The ferret came back to report that it had bit the child and that the child would die, and Mother Prentice said she had told it not to kill the child, and states that she has not seen the ferret since. She explains that she wanted the ferret to nip the child because one of Master Glascock’s servants had turned her away when she was begging at his house. Mother Prentice also recounts what she said to call the ferret to her, and names two other women who also call upon the ferret, although she does not know what they have asked the ferret to do.

The pamphlet ends with a narration of the end of the women’s’ trials, and, as they are all found guilty, they are sent back to jail for a few hours before being taken to their execution. All three women were given the opportunity to repent and ask God for mercy, and Mother Upney did so before her death.

The pamphlet has a picture on the front and portions of that picture are recreated and spaced throughout the text. The picture shows the three women hanging, two of Mother Cunny’s sprites with name tags, the toads of Mother Upney, and Mother Prentice sitting in a chair letting the ferret drink blood from her cheek.

A true and most dreadfull discourse of a woman possessed with the Deuill

Stephen Cooper fell sick and sent his wife, Margaret Cooper, to do business about a farm he owned, she began to act as if possessed by some evil spirit, she went into fits and foamed at the mouth, she saw visions of a snail carrying fire, saw the Devil, in the shape of a headless bear he came and took her away for a while, she felt better later and admitted her sinning was the cause of the possession

A true and iust recorde, of the information, examination and confession

huge document with multiple offenders male and female, Vrsley Kemp was thought to have bewitched a young boy into fits, Thomas Rabbet said that his mother had spirits in the shapes of cats, a toad, and a lamb that would suck her blood, she bewitched to death people and livestock, associated with Ales Newman she confessed; Ales Hunt’s daughter testified to her having two horse figurines that she fed, Ales herself confessed and was jailed, admitted to having two spirits as cats and two as toads, Margerie Sammon her sister also admitted to having two spirits that would suck her blood; Anis Glascocke was charged for stone-throwing, found by woman to have teats for sucking,; Elizabeth Bennett was the lover of William Bonner’s wife, she kissed her and she immediately became disfigured and froze; Ioane Pechey was accused of having sex with her son, Henry Cilles and his wife bewitched livestock, they confessed, some where executed but doesn’t seem to say which