To the Reader.
If we would call to remembrance the manifolde mercies and innumerable benefites which the almightie hath and daily bestoweth upon us, in consideration thereof, we are bound to with-draw our filthy affections and naughty dispostions, from the use of such detestable dealinges, as both are detested of God, whose almighty commaundements forbiddeth them, and unto man, whose lawes are constituted to punish them as odious before the sight of God, whereon our earthly lawes groundeth and consisteth, and therfore used to punish or cut of such lewde or filthye offenders as by breaking the devine decrees of the Almightie , by the lawes of man deserves to be condemned: But such is the blindness of our estate, the naughtines of our affections, and the desire of our divelish apetites, that neither the commaundements of God, the lawes of our Realm, the love of our neighbours, our owne welfare, or the fall of others can or may move us to consider how profitable it were for us to examine our lives, and to blemish such vices in us as both the lawes of God and man forbiddeth: For what can be more odious or abhominable unto God than the deprivation of his divine power, by yeelding our selves serviles unto sathan for a little worldly wealth, or hatred we have to our neighbours, where we might rest the servantes, nay the Sonnes of Almighty God, who sent his only sonne to redeeme us from the servitude of bondage , and to bring us unto his blisse and eternall felicitie, which shall evermore remain perfect, which if we would consider, what christian is so blinded with ignorance or overcome with the illusions of Sathan, but he would tremble to think upon the judgements of the Almightie pronounced against such offenders, or the lawes of the Realme, which by justice decydeth them from their devilish practices and abhominations? the glory thereof, although it be secretly concealed and used, yet can it no long continue, because the Almighty will be no partaker of any such dealinges, nor the hart of any faithfull Christian conceale the secrets thereof: which for example I have heere published unto you the discourse of such divelish practices as have beene used by notorious Witches, whose names and actions I have severally touched in the treatise following: with the manner of their accusations, taken and approved before both honorable and worshipfull her Majesties Justices, at the last Assises holden at Chelmesford in the County of Essex, according to the copies both of the offendours confession by examination: and their accusations regestred.
In Primis, this examinate saith and confesseth, that she hath knowledge and can doo
the most detestable Arte of Witchecraft, and that she learned this her knowledge in
the same, of one mother Humfrye of Maplested, who told her that she must neele down
upon her knees, and make a Circle on the ground, and pray unto Sathan the cheefe of
the Devills, the forme of which praier that she then taught her, this examinate
hath now forgotten, and that then the Spirits would come unto her,
the which she put in practice about twenty yeeres since,
in the feelde of John Wiseman of Stysted Gentleman, called Cowfenne feelde, and there
making a Circle as she was taught, and kneeling on her knees, said the praier now forgotten,
and invocating upon Sathan: Two Sprites did appear unto her within the said Circle,
in the similitude and likenes of two black frogges, and there demaunded of her what
she would have, beeing readye to doo for her what she would desire, so that she would promise
to give them her soule for their travaile, for otherwise: they would do nothing for her.
Wher-upon she did promise them her soule, and then they concluded with her so to doo for her,
what shee would require, and gave themselves severall names , that is to say, the one Jack,
and the other Jyll, by the which names she did alwaies after call them.
(She had sower (?) principall spirits. The first was Jack. The second was Jyll.
The third was Nicholas. The fourth was Ned. Jack killed mankinde. Jyll killed womenkinde.
Nicholas killed horses. Ned killed Cattell.)And then taking them up, she caried them home
in her lap and put them in a Box and gave them white bread and milke.
And within one moneth after she sent them to milke Hurrelles Beastes, which they did, and they would bring milke for their owne eating and not for her.
And further, she saith that her sprites never changed their colour since they first came unto her, and that they would familiarly talke with her, when she had any thing to say or doo with them in her owne language.
And like wise she confesseth that she sent her said spirits to hurt the wife of John Sparrow the elder, of Stysted, which they did, and also that where Maister John Glascock of Stysted, aforesaid: had a great stack of Logges in his yarde, she by her said Spirits did overthrowe them.
And further, saith that she hath hurt divers persons within this sixteene or twenty yeeres, but how many she now knoweth not.
Furthermore, she confesseth that she sent her sprites unto William Unglee of Stysted Miller, and because they could not hurt him, she sent them to hurt one Barnabie Griffyn his man, which they did.
Likewise she confesseth, that she sent her saide sprites , to hurt Maister Kitchin Minister of the saide towne, and also unto one George Coe of the saide towne shoomaker, to hurt him likewise: but they could not, and the cause why they could not, as the saide sprites tolde her, was because they had at their coming a strong faith in God, and had invocated and called upon him, that they could doo them no harme.
And further she saith, that Margaret Cunny her Daughter, did fall out with father Hurrill, and gave him cursed speeches, and ther upon, she thinketh she sent her spirits to her. Also she dooth utterlye denye that she sent her saide spirits to Finches wife, Devenishes wife, and Renold Ferror or any of them to hurt them.
And beeing further examined, she confesseth that although her said spirits at some time can have no power to hurt men, yet they may have power to hurt their Cattell. This Joane Cunny, living very lewdly, having two lewd Daughters, no better than naughty packs, had two Bastard Children: beeing both boyes, these two Children were cheefe witnesses, and gave in great evidence against their Grandam and Mothers, the eldest beeing about 10. or 12. yeeres of age.
Against this Mother Cunny the elder Boye gave in this evidence which she herselfe after confessed, that she going to Braintye Market, came to one Harry Finches house, to demaund some drink, his wife being busie and a brewing, tolde her she had no leysure to give her any. Then Joane Cunnye went away discontented: and at night Finches wife was greevously taken in her head, and the next day in her side, and so continued in most horrible pain for the space of a week, and then dyed.
Mother Cunnye confessed that she sent her spirit Jill to torment her. The same boy confessed that he was commaunded by his Grandmother to fetch a burden of wood, which he gathered, but another boy stole it from him, and he came home without: and tolde his Grandam: and she commaunded her sprite to prick the same boy in the foote, which was done, and the same boye came to the barre lame and gave evidence against her.
Againe the same boy confessed that his Grandam when he had lost his wood, saide she would have wood enough: and bad him goe into Sir Edward Huddlestones ground beeing high Sheriffe of the Sheere, and to take with him Jack the sprite, and so he did, who went unseene to any body but to the boy, and when they came to a mighty Oke-tree, the spirit went about it, and presently the Tree blew up by the roots: and no winde at all stirring at this time: which Master high Sheriffe acknowledged to be blown down in a great calme.
This examinate saith, that one Fustian Kirtle, otherwise called White-cote, a witch of Barking,
came to her house about seaven or eight yeeres agoe and gave her a thing like a Moule,
and tolde her if she ought any body any ill will, if she did bid it, it would goe clap them.
She saith that Moule taryed not above a yeere with her, but it consumed away, and then she gave
her another Moule and a Toad, which she kept a great while, and was never without some Toades
since till her last going away from her house, when she confesseth she ranne away, because she
heard John Harrolde and Richard Foster say she was a witch, such other woordes.
She saith that one day she left a Toade under the groundsill at Harrolds house, and it pinched his wife and sucked her til she dyed, but it never came to her the saide Joan Upney againe.
She saith, that one day another Toade went over her threshold as Richard Fosters wife was coming that way, and it went and pinched her, and never returned againe.
Other two Toades she left at home, when she ran away, but they consumed away. She saith that her eldest Daughter would never abide to meddle with her Toades, but her youngest daughter would handle them, and use them as well as her selfe.
In Primis, this saide examinate saith and confesseth, that about sixe yeeres last past,
betweene the feastes of all Saintes, and the birth of our Lord God, the devill appeered
unto her in the Almes house aforesaide: about ten of the Clock in the night time, beeing
in the shape and proportion of a dunnish coloured ferrit, having fiery eyes, and the saide
Examinate beeing alone in her Chamber, and sitting up on a lowe stoole, preparing her selfe
to bedward: the ferrit standing with his hinderlegs upon the ground, and his forelegs setled
upon her lappe, and setling his fiery eyes upon her eyes, spake and pronounced to her these
woordes following, namelye: Joan Prentice give me thy soule, to whome this Examinate beeing
greatly amazed, answered and said: In the name of God what art thou. The ferrit answered,
I am satan, feare me not my coming unto thee is to doo thee no hurt but to obtaine thy soule,
which I must and wil have before I departe from thee to whome the saide examinate answered
and said, that he demaunded that of her which is none of hers to give, saying: that her soule
appertained onely unto Jesus Christ, by whose precious blood shedding, it was bought and
purchased. To whome the saide ferret replyed and saide, I must then have some of thy blood,
which she willingly graunting, offered him the forefinger of her left hand, the which the
ferrit tooke into his mouth, and setting his former feete upon that hand, suckt blood therout,
in so much that her finger did smart exceedingye: and the saide examinate demaunding againe
of the ferrit what his name was: It answered Bidd. and then presently the said ferrit banished
out of her sight sodainly.
Item, the saide examinate saith further, that about one moneth after, the saide ferrit came againe unto her in the night time as she was sitting upon a little stoole, preparing her selfe to bedward, as is above saide: Joan wilt thou goe to bed, to whome she answered yea that I will by Gods grace, then presently the ferret leapt up upon her lap, and from thence up to her bosome, and laying his former feete upon her lefte shoulder, sucked blood out of her lefte cheeke, and then he saide unto her, Joan if thou will have me doo any thing for thee, I am and wilbe alwaies ready at thy commaundement, and ther-upon she beeing a little before fallen out with William Adams his wife of Hinningham Sibble aforesaide: willed the ferret to spoile her drinke which was then in brewing, which he did accordingly. Item, the saide examinate furthermore saith and confesseth, that the saide ferret divers times after appeered unto her alwaies at the time when she was going to bed, and the last time he appeered unto her was about seaven weekes last past, at which time she going to bed, the ferrit leapt upon upon her shoulder, and sucked blood out of her lefte cheeke, and that doone: he demaunded of her what she had for him to doo: To whom she anwered, goe unto Maister Glascockes house, and nippe one of his Children a little, named Sara, but hurt it not, and the next night he resorted unto her againe, and told her that he had doone as she had willed him: namely, that he had nipt Sara Glascock, and that she should sye therof, to whome she answered and saide, thou villiane what hast thou doon, I bid thee to nip it but a little and not to hurt it, and hast thou killed the childe: which speech beeing uttered, the ferrit vanished away suddenly, and never came to her sithence.
Item, she saith and affirmeth, that at what time soever that she would have her ferret doo any thing for her, she used these woordes, Bidd, Bidd, Bidd, come Bidd, come bidd, come bidd, come suck, come suck, come suck, and that presently he would appeere as is aforesaide: and suckt blood out of her lefte cheeke, and then perfourmed any mischeefe she willed or wished him to doo for her unto or against any of her neighbours.
Lastly the said examinate saith, and confesseth, that one Elizabeth Whale, the wife of Michaell Whale of Henningham Sibble aforesaide labourer, and Elizabeth Mott, the wife of John Mot of the saide Towne Cobler, areas well acquainted with her Bidd as her selfe is, but knoweth not what hurt they or any of them have doone to any of their neighbours.
When their inditements were read, and their examinations also, they stoode upon their tearmes, to prolong life: yet to make the matters more apparent, sundry witnesses were produced to give evidence [p. ] against them, and firste the Judge of the circuite very wisely with a great foresight, called in the two Basterd Children before mencrowd, and commended them greatlye for telling the trueth of that which he shuld aske them, concerning their Grandam and their mthers, which they did, and having saide what they could, together with the depositions of sundrye other witnesses, they having confessed sufficient matter to prove the inditements. The Jury found these bad women guiltie and that they had slain Men, women, and Children, And had committed very wicked and horrible actions, divers and sundrye times, and ther-upon, the Judge proceeded, and pronounced the sentence of death against them, as worthely they had deserved.
After they had received their judgments, they were convayed from the Barre backe againe to Prison, where they had not stayed above two howers, but the officers prepared them-selves to conduct them to the place of execution: to which place they led them, and being come thether, one Maister Ward a learned devine, beeing desired by the Justices, did exhort these wicked women to repentance, And perswaded them that they would shewe unto the people the trueth of their wickednes, and to call upon God for mercy with penitent hartes. And to aske pardon at his hands for the same: some fewe prayers they saide after the precher, but little els: more then this, that they had deserved to dye, in committing those wicked sinnes: and so tooke their deathes patiently.
Note, that Mother Upney being inwardlye pricked and having some inward feeling in conscience cryed out saying: that she had greevously sinned, that the devill had deceived her, the devill had deceived her, and that she had twice given her soule to the Devill, yet by the meanes of Gods spirite woorking in her, and the paines which Maister Ward tooke with her, she seemed very sorry for the same, and died very penitent, asking God & the world forgivenes, even to the last gaspe, for her wicked and detestable life.