Friday, September 25, 2009

The Witches of Belvoir

In the 17th century, a servant name Joan Flower along with her two daughtes, Margaret and Philippa, worked part-time for the Earl of Rutland's family at Belvoir Castle. Margaret was fired for being a thief after she became a live-in-servant.

Afterwards the Earl's family became very sick. The Earl and his wife suffered terrible convulsions before their ordeal ended. Now their son, Lord Ross, didn't recover. He went from a very healthy boy, then sick and later died.

In an angry arugment with the family, Joan Flower said some harsh words. The three woman had a large reputation for being ungodly and very wicked, plus the odd looks didn't help either. All this together help accuse the three woman for witchcraft against the noble family.

Christmas 1618, they and some friends were arrested. The two daughters and friends were 'tested' ( we know what that means ) into confession for putting curses upon the Rutlands. Now Joan Flower would not confess. She was waiting to be transported to London's jail for trail and, of course her death. She had asked for some bread and cheese. Before she began to eat, she said that God should strike her down if she was guilty. After taking her first bite, she died. Not some said that was the intervention of God himself but there are other people who believe she poisoned herself so she would not suffer the terrible ordeals that laid ahead of her at London's jail.

Her daughters were both hanged at Lincoln jail on March 11, 1619.

When Joan's two daughters confessed, they told of the devilish things that they did. They had stoled Lord Ross' gloves, gave them to their mother, who dipped them in boiling water, stroked it along her familiar's back while chanting some incantations.

Now Joan Flower had a familiar, named Rutterkin, a large black cat. Of course, let's not forget about the cat.

They also took some feathers from the Rutland's bed and another pair of gloves. Boiled these items in water, along with some blood and they casted some spells to prevent the Earl's wife from having anymore children.

They tried to cast spells on the Lady Katherine, the Earl's daughter but they failed because the familiar, Rutterkin had no power over her.

During the 'examination', the daughters revealed the names of other woman who helped them. Ann Baker of Bottesford, Joan Willimot of Goodby and Ellen Greene of Stathorne. There's no use in going down alone.

All three woman admitted that they had visions of devils and had familiar spirits, as well.
Willimot had a familiar named Pretty, which had been a fairy, given to her by her former master. Pretty later became a woman who asked Willimot to give up her soul. Willimot said that she only used her familiar to enquire about the health of individuals that she was trying to heal.

Greene admitted that her and Willimot had gone into the woods, where Willimot conjured up two spirits, a kitten and a mole. Greene sent these familiars to kill a man and a woman. They had an argument and then they both died a fortnight.

Baker confessed of having a white dog for a familiar.

The Earl and Countess was so convinced that witchcraft had killed thier son that they had it inscribed on their monument at Bottesford Church, The Witch's Tomb.

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