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Essex, England Witch Trials

Discussion in 'Essex' started by Jennie, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. Jennie

    Jennie LostCousins Member

    Essex Witch Trials
    This Link lists the 760 Essex women and men accused of being or keeping company with witches. The first witch trial to appear in a secular court in England resulted in a series of witch trials in Chelmsford, Essex and women were mainly prosecuted.

    The first of the Chelmsford 'witches' was the old Elizabeth Frances who confessed to using a ‘familiar’ cat called Satan in order to harm various people. The cat was given to Agnes Waterhouse and her daughter Joan Waterhouse. Elizabeth Frances was sentenced to one year in prison and Agnes Waterhouse was hung but her daughter, Joan, was found not guilty.

    However, during the the Second Chelmsford Witch trial of 1579 the unfortunate old Elizabeth Frances was accused of witchcraft, along with several other women. They were found guilty and hanged. The third Chelmsford Witch trial of 1589 saw the hanging of Joan Prentice, Joan Upney and Joan Cunny for using ‘familiars’ (pets with supposedly magical powers, including that of flying.

    In 1572 Alice Chaundler of Maldon was accused of bewitching to death Mary Cowper of Maldon, aged 8, and her father, Francis, a fletcher** and also bewitching to death Robert Briscoe (aged 30), his son aged 2 and daughter aged 5. Alice Chaundler was found guilty and hanged. Five years later her daughter Ellen Smythe of Maldon was accused at the Assizes of bewitching Susan Webbe, aged 4, who became ill and then died. Ellen Smythe was found guilty and was hung.

    ** A fletcher made arrows. The name derives from the fletchings attached to the shaft of the arrow in order to stabilise flight.

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