The Witches Of Pendle

In what they say was a dark corner of the land in an age of conversion, three men die. Was the cause really witchcraft? ‘Yes’ says the Justice of Peace, Mr. Roger Nowell a non-conformist. Seeking justice, seeking favour from the King? King James I, author of ‘demonology’ of sorcery and magic how to expose a witch.

Holy Friday 1612, in this time of fear, fear of evil, politics, and of treason all loyal subjects are summons to communion. All abide except for the women of Malkin Tower who tell fortunes to make ends meet. Instead, they partied, drank, and danced around skulls. The noise is heard and the witch hunt begins.

Ten arrested,locked in Lancaster Castle while the towns folk and magistrates await the state theatricals to begin. No privy council just one star witness a frightened nine-year-old girl, a girl in tears having to stand on a table for judge, jury, and accused to see. She is also the daughter of one of the accused, Elizabeth Device. In a very calm and well-spoken manner almost as if coerced the girl condemns them all. Guilty and to the gallows they’re sent.

Crowds gather at gallows hill to watch the convicted witches be strangled by the nooce, and only for a penny or two. One young watcher Janne fixed on the hangmans rope. The crowd go silent in horror as some take twenty minutes an more to pass. Family members of the condemed break rank an pull on the legs of their loved ones to ease the suffering of their slow painful deaths.

Eighty years later three thousand miles away 19 are hanged in the witch trials of Salem. Again through the witnesses of children. In the magistrates hand, Thomas Potts’ notes of the Pendle trial detailing children fit for diagnosing witchcraft. Like the nine-year-old Jannet Device who’s words saw her mother hang, she saw her mother hang.


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