Englands grievance discovered, in relation to the coal-trade with the map of the river of Tine, and situation of the town and corporation of Newcastle : the tyrannical oppression of those magistrates, their charters and grants, the several tryals, depositions, and judgements obtained against them : with a breviate of several statutes proving repugnant to their actings : with proposals for reducing the excessive rates of coals for the future, and the rise of their grants, appearing in this book
Gardiner, Ralph, b. 1625.
Page  107

CHAP. LIII.

[illustration]
Many poor women imprisoned, and hanged for Witches.
A. Hangman. B. Belman. C. Two Sergeants. D. Witch∣finder taking his money for his work.

(A) IOh. Wheeler of London, upon his Oath said, that in or a∣bout the years 1649. & 1650. being at Newcastle, heard that the Magistrates had sent two of their Sergeants, name∣ly Thomas Sevel, and Cuthbert Nicholson into Scotland to agree with a Scotch-man, who pretended knowledge to finde out Witches by pricking them with pins, to come to New∣castle where he should try such who should be brought to him, and to have twenty shillings a peece for all he could Page  108 condemn as Witches, and free passage thither and back a∣gain.

(B) When the Sergeants had brought the said Witch∣finder on horse-back to Town; the Magistrates sent their Bell-man through the Town, ringing his Bell, and crying, All people that would bring in any complaint a∣gainst any woman for a Witch, they should be sent for and tryed by the person appointed.

(C) Thirty women were brought into the Town-hall, and stript, and then openly had pins thrust into their bo∣dies, and most of them was found guilty *, near twenty seven of them by him and set aside.

(D) The said reputed Witch-finder acquainted Lieute∣nant Colonel Hobson that he knew women, whether they were Witches or no by their looks, and when the said per∣son was searching of a personable, and good like woma, the said Colonel replyed and said, surely this woman is none, and need not be tried, but the Scotch-man said she was, for the Town said she was, and therefore he would try her; and presently in sight of all the people laid her body naked to the Waste, with her cloaths over her head, by which fright and shame, all her blood contracted into one part of her body, and then he ran a pin into her Thigh, and then suddenly let her coats fall, and then demanded whether she had nothing of his in her body but did not bleed, but she being amazed replied little, then he put his hand up her coas, and pulled out the pin and set her aside as a guilty person, and child of the Devil, and fell to try others whom he made guilty.

(E) Lieutenant Colonel Hobson perceiving the alteration of the foresaid woman, by her blood settling in her right parts, caused that woman to be brought again, and her cloathes pulled up to her Thigh, and required the Scot to run the pin into the same place, and then it gushed out of blood, and the said Scot cleared her, and said she was not a child of the Devil.

(F) So soon as he had done, and received his wages, he went into Northumberland to try women there, where he Page  109 got of some three pound a peece. But Henry Ogle Esq a late Member of Parlament laid hold on him, and required Bond of him to answer the Sessions, but he got away for Scot∣land, and it was conceived if he had staid he would have made most of the women in the North Witches, for mony.

(G) The names of the prisoners that were to be executed, being kept in prison till the Assizes, and then condemned by the Jury being Burgesses were, Matthew Bulmer, Eliz. Ander∣son, Jane Hunter, Mary Pots, Alice Hume, Elianor Rogerson, Margaret Muffet, Margaret Maddison, Eliz. Brown, Margaret Brown, Jane Copeland, Ann Watson, Elianor Henderson, Eliza∣beth Dobson, and Katherine Coultor. These poor souls never confessed any thing, but pleaded innocence; And one of them by name Margaret Brown beseeched God that some re∣markable sign might be seen at the time of their execution, to evidence their innocency, and as soon as ever she was turn∣ed off the Ladder, her blood gushed out upon the people to admiration of the beholders.

John Wheeler, Elianor Lumsdel, and Bartholomew Hdshon,

proves the like.

(H) The said Witch-finder was laid hold on in Scotland, cast into prison, indicted, arraigned and condemned for such like villanie exercised in Scotland. And upon the Gallows he confessed he had been the death of above two hundred and twenty women in England and Scotland, for the gain of twen∣ty shillings a peece, and beseeched forgiveness. And was executed.

(I) The Judgement nor Execution is not in question, nor questioned, being ordinary; But onely it being desired to know by what Law the Magistrates of Newcastle could send into another Nation for a mercinary person to try women for Witches, and a Bell-man to cry for them to be brought in, and twenty shillings a peece given him to con∣demn them?

(K) Queery, and by what Law men are hired to give e∣vidence to take away peoples lives, and the convicted estates to come to the Jurors, being extraordinary?

Page  110 The Lord Protector, commands all Judges, Justices and Witnesses to appear to execute Justice, and give evidence gratis.

Queen Elizabeth by her Charter grants to the Mayor and Burgesses, all fines and fellons goods in that Town and Li∣berties, Zech. 11. 5. See chap. 58. (C. D.)