THE NORTHAMPTONSHIRE WITCH TRIALS
THE GUILSBOROUGH WITCHES
What were the Northamptonshire Witch trials? When did it happen and who was involved?
The Northamptonshire witch trials happened on the July 22nd, 1612 in Abington Gallows, Northampton. This trial was the earliest recording of cases in which the act of "dunking" was used. Dunking was the method used in England. Which was a trial by water ordeal? It was also a case of where individuals were singled out rather than tried as an entire group.
Four women and one man were Hanged at Abington Gallows in Northampton for the crime of witchcraft. Amongst their victims was Mistress Elizabeth Belcher and her brother Master William Avery.
The five people were accused of bewitching a local noblewoman and Elizabeth Belcher (née Fisher) and her brother-in-law Master Avery. They were also accused of killing by sorcery a child as well as numerous livestock.
As the story goes, there was a woman, called Mother Roades, who lived near the village of Ravensthorpe. Just before she could be tried for witchcraft, she died, However in her final words, She spoke of her friends riding to see her, but that it did not matter because they would meet again in some other place before the month was out.
THE WITCHES OF GUISBOROUGH
This was a Pamphlet Of 1612, Which is used as a source for this event. Recounts the trial of Agnes Browne and Joan Vaughan of Guilsborough, who were accused of causing the Lady of the Manor, Mistress Belcher and her brother-in-law, Master Avery, to suffer great pains and fits. The pamphlet also states that a fortnight before the trial, the two women, along with another, a Katherine Gardiner “did ride one night to Ravenstrop, all upon a sow's back, to visit Mother Rhoades, an old witch who lived there. Before they came to her house, the old witch died
The second source comes from a pamphlet of 1612 titled The Witches of Northamptonshire. The pamphlet focuses on Agnes Browne and her daughter Joan Browne (or Vaughan), Arthur Bill, Helen Jenkenson and Mary Barber. Bill, Jenkenson and Barber were unconnected to the murder case of Belcher/Avery and came from a different part of Northamptonshire.
Arthur Bill who lived outside of Northamptonshire, was another accused along with his family for causing the death of a woman and her cattle. They were tried for witchcraft at the same place at the same time. However for a separate case.
The group were held and tried at Northampton castle and then sent to their death from here.
NAMES OF THOSE ACCUSED OF WITCHCRAFT AT THE NORTHAMPTONSHIRE TRIALS
AGNES BROWNE OF GUILSBOROUGH
JOAN BROWNE/VAUGHAN (DAUGHTER OF AGNES) OF GUILSBOROUGH
HELEN JENKINSON OF THRAPSTON
BILL'S PARENTS WERE SAID TO HAVE BEEN DUNKED AND FLOATED THUS CONDEMNED, HOWEVER, IT IS SAID THEY COMMITTED SUICIDE IN PRISON
TRIED AND FOUND GUILTY OF WITCRAFT
HELEN WAS ACCUSED OF MURDERING CHILD BY DARK MAGIC
ADDITIONAL PEOPLE ACCUSED OF WITCHCRAFT BUT WERE NOT EXECUTED DIE TO LACK OF EVIDENCE AT THE NORTHAMPTONSHIRE WITCH-TRIALS
JOINTLY CHARGED WITH ALICE HABITAND WERE INDICTED FOR HARMING ELIZABETH & WILLIAM BELCHER AND AVERY.
JOINTLY CHARGED WITH KATHERINE GARDINER HABIT INDICTED FOR HARMING ELIZABETH & WILLIAM BELCHER AND AVERY.