Newes from Scotland, declaring the damnable life and death of Doctor Fian a notable sorcerer, who was burned at Edenbrough in Ianuary last. 1591. Which doctor was regester to the diuell that sundry times preached at North Barrick Kirke, to a number of notorious witches. With the true examination of the saide doctor and witches, as they vttered them in the presence of the Scottish king. Discouering how they pretended to bewitch and drowne his Maiestie in the sea comming from Denmarke, with such other wonderfull matters as the like hath not been heard of at any time. Published according to the Scottish coppie.
Carmichael, James, 1542 or 3-1628, attributed name.
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A true discourse, Of the apprehension of sundrye Witches lately taken in Scotland: wherof some are executed, and some are yet imprisoned.

With a particuler recitall of their examinati∣ons, taken in the presence of the Kinges Maiestie.

GOd by his omnipotent pow∣er, hath at al times and daily doth take such care, and is so vigillant, for the weale and preseruation of his owne, that thereby he disapointeth the wicked practises and euil intents of all such as by any meanes whatsoeuer, seeke indirectly to conspire any thing contrary to his holy will: yea and by the same power, he hath lately ouerthrown and hindered the intentions and wicked dealinges of a great number of vngodly creatures, no bet∣ter then Diuels: who suffering themselues to be allured and inticed by the Diuell whom they serued, and to whome they were priuatelye sworne: entered into ye detestable Art of witch∣craft, Page  [unnumbered] which they studied and practised so long time, that in the end they had seduced by their sorcery a number of other to be as bad as them∣selues: dwelling in the boundes of Lowthian, which is a principall shire or parte of Scotland, where the Kings Maiestie vseth to make his cheefest residence or abode: and to the end that their detestable wickednes which they priuilye had pretended against the Kings Maiestie, the Common-weale of that Country, with the No∣bilitie and subiects of the same, should come to light: God of his vnspeakeable goodnes did re∣ueale and lay it open in very strange sorte, ther∣by to make knowne vnto the worlde, that their actions were contrarye to the lawe of God, and the naturall affection which we ought general∣lye to beare one to another: the manner of the reuealing wherof was as followeth.

Within the towne of Trenent in the King∣dome of Scotland, there dwelleth one Dauid Sea∣ton, who being deputie Bailiffe in the saide Towne, had a maide seruant called Geillis Dun∣cane, who vsed secretly to be absent and to lye foorth of her Maisters house euery other night: this Geillis Duncane took in hand to help all such as were troubled or greeued with any kinde of sicknes or infirmitie: and in short space did perfourme manye matters most miraculous, which thinges forasmuch as she began to doe them vpon a sodaine, hauing neuer doon the like Page  [unnumbered] before, made her Maister and others to be in great admiracion, and wondred thereat: by meanes wherof the saide Dauid Seaton had his maide in some great suspition, that she did not those things by naturall and lawfull wayes, but rather supposed it to be doone by some extraor∣dinary and vnlawfull meanes.

Whervpon, her Maister began to growe ve∣ry inquisitiue, and examined her which way and by what meanes she were able to perfourme matters of so great importance: whereat she gaue him no answere, neuerthelesse, her Mai∣ster to the intent that he might the better trye and finde out the trueth of the same, did with the helpe of others, torment her with the torture of the Pilliwinckes vpon her fingers, which is a greeuous torture, and binding or wrinching her head with a corde or roape, which is a most cru∣ell torment also, yet would she not confesse any thing, whereupon they suspecting that she had beene marked by the Diuell (as commonly wit∣ches are) made dilligent search about her, and found the enemies marke to be in her fore crag or foreparte of her throate: which being found, she confessed that all her dooings was doone by the wicked allurements and inticements of the Diuell, and that she did them by witchcraft.

After this her confession, she was committed to prison, wheee she continued for a season, Page  [unnumbered] where immediatly she accused these persons fol∣lowing to be notorious witches, and caused them foorthwith to be apprehended one after an

other, vidz. Agnis Sampson the eldest Witch of them al, dwelling in Haddington, Agnes Tomp∣son of Edenbrough, Doctor Fian, alias Iohn Cunningham, maister of the Schoole at Salt∣pans Page  [unnumbered] in Lowthian, of whose life and strange actes, you shall heare more largely in the ende of this discourse: these were by the saide Geillis Duncane accused, as also George Motts wife dwelling in Saltpans, Robert Griersonn skip∣per, and Iennit Bandilandis, with the Porters wife of Seaton, the Smith at the brigge Hallis with innumerable others in that partes, and dwelling in those bounds aforesaide: of whom some are alreadye executed, the rest remaine in prison, to receiue the doome of Iudgement at the Kings maiesties will and pleasure.

The said Geillis Duncane also caused Ewpha∣me Meealrean to be apprehended, who conspired and perfourmed the death of her Godfather, and who vsed her art vpon a gentleman being one of the Lords and Iustices of the Session, for bearing good will to her Daughter: she also cau∣sed to be apprehended one Barbara Naper, for be∣witching to death Archibalde, last Earle of Angus, who languished to death by withcraft and yet the same was not suspected, but that he died of so strange a disease, as the Phisition knew not how to cure or remedy the same: but of all other the saide witches, these two last be∣fore recited, were reputed for as ciuill honest women as any that dwelled within the Citie of Edenbrough, before they were apprehended. Many other besides were taken dwelling in Page  [unnumbered] Lieth, who are detayned in prison, vntill his Maiesties further will and pleasure be knowne of whose wicked dooings you shall particularly heare, which was as followeth.

This aforesaid Agnis Sampson which was the elder Witch, was taken and brought to Ha∣liriud house before the Kings Maiestie and sun∣dry other of the nobility of Scotland, where she was straitly examined, but all the perswasions which the Kings maiestie vsed to her with ye rest of his counsell, might not prouoke or induce her to confesse any thing, but stood stiffely in the be∣niall of all that was laide to her charge: wher∣vpon they caused her to be conueied awaye to prison, there to receiue such torture as hath been lately prouided for witches in that country: and forasmuch as by due examination of witchcraft and witches in Scotland, it hath latelye beene found that the Deuill dooth generallye marke them with a priuie marke, by reason the Wit∣ches haue confessed themselues, that the Diuell dooth lick them with his tung in some priuy part of their bodie, before hee dooth receiue them to be his seruants, which marke commonly is giuen them vnder the haire in some part of their bodye, wherby it may not easily be found out or seene, although they be searched: and generally so long as the marke is not seene to those which search them, so long the parties that hath the Page  [unnumbered] marke will neuer confesse any thing. Therfore by special commaundement this Agnis Sampson had all her haire shauen of, in eache parte of her bodie, and her head thrawen with a rope accor∣ding to the custome of that Countrye, beeing a paine most greeuous, which she continued al∣most an hower, during which time she would not confesse any thing vntill the Diuels marke was found vpon her priuities, then she immedi∣atlye confessed whatsoeuer was demaunded of her, and iustifying those persons aforesaid to be notorious witches.

Item, the saide Agnis Tompson was after brought againe before the Kings Maiestie and his Counsell, and being examined of the mee∣tings and detestable dealings of those witches, she confessed that vpon the night of Allhollon Euen last, she was accompanied aswell with the persons aforesaide, as also with a great many other witches, to the number of two hun∣dreth: and that all they together went by Sea each one in a Riddle or Ciue, and went in the same very substantially with Flaggons of wine making merrie and drinking by the waye in the same Riddles or Ciues, to the kerke of North Barrick in Lowthian, and that after they had landed, tooke handes on the land and daunced this reill or short daunce, singing all with one voice.

Page  [unnumbered] Commer goe ye before, commer goe ye,
Gif ye will not goe before, commer let me.

At which time she confessed, that this Geilles Duncane did goe before them playing this reill ordaunce vpon a small Trump, called a Iewes Trump, vntill they entred into the Kerk of north Barrick.

These confessions made the King in a wo∣derful admiration, and sent for ye said Geillis Dun¦cane, who vpon the like Trump did playe the said daunce before the Kings Maiestie, who in respect of the strangenes of these matters, tooke great delight to bee present at their examinati∣ons.

Item, the said Agnis Tompson confessed that the Diuell being then at North Barrick Kerke attending their comming in the habit or likenes of a man, and seeing that they tarried ouer-long, he at their comming enioyned them all to a pen∣nance, which was, that they should kisse his Buttockes, in signe of duetye to him: which be∣ing put ouer the Pulpit barre, euerye one did as he had enioyned them: and hauing made his vn∣godly exhortations, wherein he did greatlye en∣veighe against the King of Scotlond, he recei∣ued their oathes for their good and true seruice towards him, and departed: which doone, they returned to Sea, and so home againe.

Page  [unnumbered] At which time the witches demaunded of the Diuel why he did beare such hatred to the King, who answered, by reason the King is the grea∣test enemy he hath in the worlde: all which their nfessions and depositions are still extant vpon record.

Item, the saide Agnis Sampson confessed be∣fore the Kings Maiestie sundrye thinges which were so miraculous and strange, as that his Maiestie saide they were all extreame lyars, wherat she answered, she would not wishe his Maiestie to suppose her woords to be false, but rather to beleeue them, in that she would disco∣uer such matter vnto him as his maiestie should not any way doubt off.

And therupon taking his Maiestie a little a∣side, she declared vnto him the verye woordes which passed betweene the Kings Maiestie and his Queene at Upslo in Norway the first night of their mariage, with their answere eache to o∣ther: whereat the Kinges Maiestie wondered greatlye, and swore by the liuing God, that he beleeued that all the Diuels in hell could not haue discouered the same: acknowledging her woords to be most true, and therefore gaue the more credit to the rest which is before declared.

Touching this Agnis Tompson, she is the on∣lye woman, who by the Diuels perswasion should haue entended and put in execution the Page  [unnumbered] Kings Maiesties death in this manner.

She confessed that she tooke a blacke Toade, and did hang the same vp by the heeles, three daies, and collected and gathered the venome as it dropped and fell from it in an Oister shell, and kept the same venome close couered, vntill she should obtaine any parte or peece of foule linnen cloth, that had appertained to the Kings Maie∣stie, and shirt, handkercher, napkin or any other thing which she practised to obtaine by meanes of one Iohn Kers, who being attendant in his Maiesties Chamber, desired him for olde ac∣quaintance betweene them, to helpe her to one or a peece of such a cloth as is aforesaide, which thing the said Iohn Kers denyed to helpe her too, saying he could not help her too it.

And the said Agnis Tompson by her depositi∣ons since her apprehension saith, that if she had obtained any one peece of linnes cloth which the King had worne and fouled, she had bewitched him to death, and put him to such extraordinary paines, as if he had beene lying vpon sharp thor∣nes and endes of Needles.

Moreouer she confessed that at the time when his Maiestie was in Denmarke, she being ac∣companied with the parties before specially na∣med, tooke a Cat and christened it, and after∣ward bound to each parte of that Cat, the chee∣fest partes of a dead man, and seuerall ioynes of Page  [unnumbered] his bodies, and that in the night following the saide Cat was conueied into the midst of the sea by all these witches sayling in their riddles or Ciues as is aforesaide, and so left the saide Cat right before the Towne of Lieth in Scotland: this doone, there did arise such a tempest in the Sea, as a greater hath not beene seene: which tempest was the cause of the perrishing of a Boate or vessell comming ouer from the towne of Brunt Iland to the towne of Lieth, wherein was sundrye Iewelles and riche giftes, which should haue been presented to the now Queen of Scotland, at her Maiesties comming to Lieth.

Againe it is confessed, that the said christened Cat was the cause that the Kinges Maiesties Ship at his comming foorth of Denmarke, had a contrary winde to the rest of his Ships, then being in his companye, which thing was most strange and true, as the Kings Maiestie ac∣knowledgeth, for when the rest of the Shippes had a faire and good winde, then was the winde contrarye and altogither against his Maiestie: and further the saide witche declared, that his Maiestie had neuer come safelye from the Sea, if his faith had not preuailed aboue their enten∣tions.

Moreouer the said Witches being demaun∣ded Page  [unnumbered] how the Diuell would vse them when he was in their company, they confessed that when the Diuell did receiue them for his seruants, and that they had vowed themselues vnto him, then he would Carnallye vse them, albeit to their lit∣tle pleasure, in respect of his colde nature: and would doo the like at sundry other times.

As touching the aforesaide Doctor Fian, alias Iohn Cunningham, the examination of his actes since his apprehension, declareth the great sub∣tiltye of the diuell, and therfore maketh thinges to appeere the more miraculous: for being ap∣prehended by the accusation of the saide Geillis Duncane aforesaide, who confessed he was their Regester, and that there was not one man suf∣fered to come to the Diuels readinges but onlye he: the saide Doctor was taken and imprisoned, and vsed with the accustomed paine, prouided for those offences, inflicted vpon the rest as is a∣foresaide.

First by thrawing of his head with a roape, wherat he would confesse nothing.

Secondly, he was perswaded by faire means to confesse his follies, but that would preuaile as little.

Lastly he was put to the most seuere and cru∣ell paine in the world, called the bootes, who af∣ter Page  [unnumbered] he had receiued three strokes, being enquired if he would confesse his damnable acts and wic∣ked life, his tung would not serue him to speak, in respect wherof the rest of the witches willed to search his tung, vnder which was found two pinnes thrust vp into the head, whereupon the UUitches did laye, Now is the Charme stinted, and shewed that those charmed Pinnes were the cause he could not confesse any thing: then was he immediatly released of the bootes, brought before the King, his confession was ta∣ken, and his owne hand willingly set ther-vnto, which contained as followeth.

First, that at the generall meetinges of those witches, hee was alwayes preasent: that he was Clarke to all those that were in subiection to the Diuels seruice, bearing the name of wit∣ches, that alwaye he did take their othes for their true seruice to the Diuell, and that he wrot for them such matters as the Diuell still pleased to commaund him.

Item, he confessed that by his witchcrafte he did be witch a Gentleman dwelling neere to the Saltpans, where the said Doctor kept Schoole, onely for being enamoured of a Gentlewoman whome he loued himselfe: by meanes of which Page  [unnumbered] his Sorcerye, witchcraft and diuelish practises, he caused the said Gentleman that once in xxiiij. howres he fell into a lunacie and madnes, and so

cotinued one whole hower together, and for the veritie of the same, he caused the Gentleman to be brought before the Kinges Maiestie, which was vpon the xxiiij. day of December last, and Page  [unnumbered] in his Maiesties Chamber, suddenly he gaue a great scritch and fell into a madnes, sometime bending himselfe, and sometime capring so di∣rectly vp, that his head did touch the feeling of the Chamber, to the great admiration of his Maie∣stie and others then present: so that all the Gen∣tlemen in the Chamber were not able to holde him, vntill they called in more helpe, who toge∣ther bound him hand and foot: and suffering the said gentleman to lye still vntill his furye were past, he within an hower came againe to him∣selfe, when being demaunded of the Kings Ma∣iestie what he saw or did all that while, answe∣red that he had been in a sound sleepe.

Item the said Doctor did also confesse that he had vsed means sundry times to obtain his pur∣pose and wicked intent of the same Gentlewo∣man, and seeing himselfe disapointed of his in∣tention, he determined by all waies he might to obtaine the same, trusting by coniuring, witch∣craft and Sorcery to obtaine it in this manner.

It happened this gentlewoman being vnma∣ried, had a brother who went to schoole with the said Doctor, and calling his Scholler to him, demaunded if he did lye with his sister, who an∣swered he did, by meanes wherof he thought to obtaine his purpose, and therefore secretlye pro∣mised to teach him wtout stripes, so he would ob∣tain for him three haires of his sisters priuities. Page  [unnumbered] at such time as he should spye best occasion for it: which the youth promised faithfullye to per∣fourme, and vowed speedily to put it in practise, taking a peece of coniured paper of his maister to lappe them in when he had gotten them: and there vpon the boye practised nightlye to obtaine his maisters purpose, especially when his sister was a sleepe.

But God who knoweth the secrets of all harts, and reuealeth all wicked and vngodlye practises, would not suffer the intents of this di∣uilish Doctor to come to that purpose which he supposed it would, and therefore to declare that he was heauilye offended with his wicked en∣tent, did so woorke by the Gentlewomans owne meanes, that in the ende the same was discoue∣red and brought to light: for she being one night a sleepe, and her brother in bed with her, sudden∣lye cryed out to her mother, declaring that her Brother would not suffer her to sleepe, wherev∣pon her mother hauing a quick capacitie, did ve∣hemently suspect Doctor Fians entention, by rea∣son she was a witche of her selfe, and therefore presently arose, and was very inquisitiue of the boy to vnderstand his intent, and the better to know ye same, did beat him with sundry stripes, wherby he discouered the trueth vnto her.

Page  [unnumbered] The Mother therefore being well practised in witchcrafte, did thinke it most conuenient to meete with the Doctor in his owne Arte, and therevpon tooke the paper from the boy, where∣in hee should haue put the same haires, and went to a young Heyfer which neuer had borne Calfe nor gone to the Bull, and with a paire of sheeres, clipped off three haires from the vd∣der of the Cow, and wrapt them in the same pa∣per, which she againe deliuered to the boy, then willing him to giue the same to his saide Mai∣ster, which he immediatly did.

The Schoolemaister so soone as he had re∣ceiued them, thinking them indeede to bee the Maides haires, went straight and wrought his arte vpon them: But the Doctor had no soo∣ner doone his intent to them, but presentlye the Hayfer or Cow whose haires they were indeed, came vnto the doore of the Church wherein the Schoolemaister was, into the which the Hayfer went, and made towards the Schoole∣maister, leaping and dauncing vpon him, and following him foorth of the church and to what place so euer he went, to the great admiration of all townes men of Saltpans, and many other who did beholde the same.

The reporte whereof made all men imagine Page  [unnumbered] that hee did woorke it by the Diuell, without whom it could neuer haue beene so sufficientlye effected: and thervpon, the name of the said Doc∣tor Fien (who was but a very yong man) began to grow so common among the people of Scot∣land, that he was secretlye nominated for a no∣table Cuniurer.

Page  [unnumbered] Al which although in the beginning he denied, and would not confesse, yet hauing felt the pain of the bootes (and the charme stinted, as aforesayd) he confessed all the aforesaid to be most true, with∣out producing anie witnesses to iustifie the same, & thervpon before the kings maiesty he subscribed the sayd confessions with his owne hande, which for truth remaineth vpon record in Scotland.

After that the depositions and examinations of the sayd doctor Fian Alias Cuningham was ta∣ken, as alreadie is declared, with his owne hand willingly set therevnto, hee was by the master of the prison committed to ward, and appointed to a chamber by himselfe, where forsaking his wick∣ed wayes, acknowledging his most vngodly lyfe, shewing that he had too much folowed the allure∣ments and entisements of sathan, and fondly pra∣tised his conclusions by coniuring, witchcraft, in∣chantment, sorcerie, and such like, hee renounced the deuill and all his wicked workes, vowed to leade the life of a Christian, and seemed newly conuerted towards God.

The morrow after vpon conference had with him, he granted that the deuill had appeared vn∣to him in the night before, appareled all in blacke, with a white wand in his hande, and tat the de∣uill demaunded of him if hee would continue his faithfull seruice, according to his first oath and promise made to that effect. Whome (as hee then Page  [unnumbered] sayd) he vtterly renounced to his face, and ayde vnto him in this manner, Auoide Satan, auoide, for I haue listned too much vnto thee, and by the same thou hast vndone mee, in respect whereof I vtterly forsake thee. To whome the deuill answe∣red, That once ere thou die thou shalt bee mine. And with that (as he sayde) the deuill brake the white wande, and immediatly vanished foorth of his sight.

Thus all the daie this Doctor Fian continu∣ed verie solitarie, and seemed to haue care of his owne soule, and would call vppon God, shewing himselfe penitent for his wicked life, neuerthelesse the same night hee founde such meanes, that hee stole the key of the prison doore and chamber in the which he was, which in the night hee opened and fled awaie to the Salt pans, where hee was alwayes resident, and first apprehended. Of whose sodaine departure when the Kings maie∣stie had intelligence, hee presently commanded di∣ligent inquirie to bee made for his apprehension, and for the better effecting thereof, hee sent pub∣like proclamations into all partes of his lande to the same effect. By meanes of whose hot and harde pursuite, he was agayn taken and brought to prison, and then being called before the kings highnes, hee was reexamined as well touching his departure, as also touching all that had before happened.

Page  [unnumbered] But this Doctor, notwithstanding that his owne confession appeareth remaining in recorde vnder his owne hande writing, and the same therevnto fixed in the presence of the Kings ma∣iestie and sundrie of his Councell, yet did hee vt∣terly denie the same.

Wherevpon the kinges maiestie perceiuing his stubbourne wilfulnesse, conceiued and imagi∣ned that in the time of his absence hee had entered into newe conference and league with the deuill his master, and that hee had beene agayne new∣ly marked, for the which hee was narrowly sear∣ched, but it coulde not in anie wise bee founde, yet for more tryall of him to make him confesse, hee was commaunded to haue a most strannge tor∣ment which was done in this manner follow∣ing.

His nailes vpon all his fingers were riuen and pulled off with an instrument called in Scottish a Turkas, which in England wee call a payre of pincers, and vnder euerie nayle there was thrust in two needles ouer euen vp to the heads. At all which tormentes notwithstanding the Doctor neuer shronke anie whit, neither woulde he then confesse it the sooner for all the tortures inflicted vpon him.

Then was hee with all conuenient speed, by commandement, conuaied againe to the torment Page  [unnumbered] of the bootes, wherein hee continued a long time, and did abide so many blowes in them, that his leges were crushte and beaten togea∣ther as small as might bee, and the bones and flesh so brused, that the bloud and marrowe spou∣ted forth in great abundance, whereby they were made vnseruiceable for euer. And notwithstan∣ding al these grieuous paines and cruell torments hee would not confess anie thing, so deepely had the deuill entered into his heart, that hee vtter∣ly denied all that which he had before auouched, and woude saie nothing therevnto but this, that what hee had done and sayde before, was onely done and sayde for feare of paynes which he had endured.

Upon great consideration therefore taken by the Kings maiestie and his Councell, as well for the due eecution of iustice vppon such detestable malefactors, as also for example sake, to remayne a terrour to all others heereafter, that shall at∣tempt to deale in the lyke wicked and vngodlye actions, as witchcraft, sorcery, cuniuration, & such lyke, the sayde Doctor Fian was soone after araig∣ned, condemned, and adiudged by the law to die, and then to bee burned according to the lawe of that lande, prouided in that behalfe. Wherevpon hee was put into a carte, and beeing first strang∣led, hee was immediatly put into a great fire, being readie prouided for that purpose, and there Page  [unnumbered] burned in the Castle hill of Edenbrough on asa∣terdaie in the ende of Ianuarie last past. 1591.

The rest of the witches which are not yet ex∣ecuted, remayne in prison till farther traill, and knowledge of his maiesties pleasure.

This strange discourse before recited, may perhaps giue some occasion of doubt to such as shall happen to reade the same, and thereby coniecture that the Kings maiestie would not hazarde himselfe in the presence of such notorious witches, least therby might haue in∣sued great danger to his person and the generall state of the land, which thing in truth might wel haue bene feared. But to answer generally to such, let this suffice: that first it is well knowen that the King is the child & seruant of God, and they but seruants to the deuil, hee is the Lords annointed, and they but vesselles of Gods wrath: he is a true Christian, and trusteth in God, they worse than Infidels, for they onely trust in the deuill, who daily serue them, till he haue brought them to vt∣ter destruction. But heereby it seemeth that his High∣nesse caried a magnanimious and vndanted mind, not feared with their inchantmentes, but resolute in this, that so long as God is with him, hee feareth not who is against him. And trulie the whole scope of this trea∣tise dooth so plainely laie open the wonderfull pro∣uidence of the Almightie, that if he had not bene de∣fended by his omnipotencie and power, his Highnes had neuer returned aliue in his voiage frō Denmarke, so that there is no doubt but God woulde as well de∣fend him on the land as on the sea, where they preten∣ded their damnable practise.

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