Welcome to Blogster!
738,920 Blogster Users  |  364,642 Posts



Blog Traffic: 59143

Posts: 232

My Comments: 6267

User Comments: 6339

Photos: 493

Friends: 86

Following: 2

Followers: 34

Points: 8290

Last Online: 22 days ago



No Recent Visitors

3034 The Pendle Witches

Added: Wednesday, March 28th 2012 at 11:41am by fangio821
Related Tags: folklore

Four hundred years ago this month, March 1612, twelve people from the area of Lancashire known as Pendle, were committed for trial at the Assize Court in Lancaster.  Of the twelve, ten were women, and one of them was particulalry old. Old Mother Demdike was her name, and she was probably in her 50's.

The photo above is Pendle Hill, and it lies about 25 miles south east of Lancaster over the wild and desolate moorland of the Forest of Bowland. 


On their arrival at the Castle they were incarcerated and eventually brought from the cells under the castle for trial.  The photo above and the following ones were taken yesteday (Thursday).  The castle has only very recently ceased to be a goal.

This is the approach to the main gaol and entrance.

The entrance you see here is the public entrance to the part of the castle which is open to the public.  The rooms above the door are part of the court rooms.  They were in use until only a few years ago.

To the left of the castle is the Priory, which I think dates back to the same age as the castle.  Not sure of the dates.

The castle, as you can see from this photo is set on a hill.  From a distance the whole structure is very imposing, as it was designed to be.

The judge who sat in the Assize Court was a 'travelling judge', in that he was required to travel around the country holding court when and where it was required.  This dates back I think to the 1100s or 1200s.  Each place where a judge was to hold a court had to provide him with suitable accomodation.  The building above was know as, and used in my memory, as the Judges Lodgings.  Today it is a museum.

It is likely that hte twelve witches were paraded en route to the castle through the market place.  This is it.  The street leading off from the market is called New Street, in that it is probably only about 300 years old.

More of the market.

The twelve alledged witches were tried over a period of two days.  Quick justice? 

The only record (of which I have a reprinted copy) of the whole proceedings was by a man called Thomas Potts.  His account was, to say the least, a little bit biased.  He was the Clerk to the Court, and was responsible for the running of the trial.

One of the witches did not make it to trial.  She died in the goal.  The ones found guilty, ten of them, were hung at the castle.

To read more about them you can follow this link here.  

User Comments

I love old buildings ....these are beautiful and imposing! 

Accused of bewitching a neighbor and a horse??  Scary times.....

Very scary.  It was all to do with religion and politics.

Sad story, that these women had to pay for the ingnorance of men.

Really liked all the pics and description though.  Sort of like being able to be on vacation in England without leaving home.

Thanks Skinny, glad you liked them.  The full story of the witches is a real nightmare.

That's one of the things--many things--I like about England---everything is old and people are born old!  'New Street, in that it is probably only about 300 years old.' Yep that sounds like England--I heard you helped pave that road.

I am sure you are familiar with our Salem witch trial--basically all innocents

I agree with you about the Salem trials.  I have a feeling that the witch hunt mentality which was rife in Europe and England at the time was exported with the first settlers in the US.

Yep--it is all England's fault!!!!

Get your facts right!  Most of the first settlers were from Holland!!

And that has what to do with anything??? The Brits brought the witch hunt here--I remember it well.

By the way--coincidenxce?--surfing the TV last night I came across the latest movie version of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" that he wrote at the time the US was on a communist witch hunt--it was with Wyona Ryder.

Very good play.  It is performed here regularly, mainly for American visitors....

And English memories!!!!

I know very well about the Salem Witch Trials. I live in the Witch City - Salem, Mass. 

Lovely place.  Visited it some years ago.

Yes, it is a beautiful city. When you visited Salem, did you go to the House of the Seven Gables? Or the 1692 Witch Trial Memorial? (I just live down the street from there.)

I seem to remember seeing the House of the Seven Gables, and I certainly went to the memorial.  It was a very beautiful town, well looked after and loved.

I used to live in Beverly, which is right across the bridge - next town over. But I noticed we have a sister city in England. It's spelled with three "e's". lol Have you ever been to Beverely, England? (I think that's how it is spelled.)

Yes, Salem is a beautiful city. I have lived (on/off) for 15 years.

Yes I have, many years ago.  It is a very old beautiful town with a Minster (which is a church almost as big as a cathedral).  It is about 90 miles from me on the opposite side of the country.  Very nice place surrounded by farms.

Neat story, cool pics, these are some of the things that makes Europe so appealing.

Thanks BFD.  

This did bring to my mind Salem, also.

Horrifying times. They drowned alleged witches here or hung them. It was community sanctioned murder. (Funny how we never hear of warlocks being murdered).

Neat old buildings...with a shameful history.

When I was studying history at Lancaster University I tried to bring this connection up with the Prof there.  He said there was nothing in it. I still think there is.

Funny how people whitewash history.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

George Santayana

Your prof. wasn't very smart.

Thanks for the tour.  As I delve more into my ancestry, I find most of them were from the Suffolk, Kent and Essex areas.  Just found that Michael and John de la Pole were ancestors.  There is a lot in history on them.



The chances are that if they are from that areas of southern England that you might be able to trace your ancestry back to the Saxon invaders.

Post A Comment

This user has disabled anonymous commenting.