THE WITCHES OF WARBOYS
Who were the Witches of Warboys, when did this happen in history, what were the events that led up to this Witchhunt?
INTRODUCTION TO THE WITCHES OF WARBOYS
The Witches of Warboy, happened between the years of 1589 and 1593, in the village of Warboy’s in Huntingdonshire England. In this village was held the trial of Alice Samuel and her family, on charges of witchcraft
Jane was the first to make allegations. Janes was the ten-year-old daughter of Robert Throckmorton the Squire of Warboys. Jane had suffered from fits and accused the seventy-six-year-old, Alice Samuels as being the cause of her illness.
It was not just Jane with these allegations, but also her siblings. Then the servants of the household came forward also. When Alice was in the same room as Jane and her sibling, their symptoms got worse, and they began to scratch more.
The first allegation came forward in the November of 1589. A total of twelve maidservants, as well as the five daughters of Robert Throckmorton, came forward. All of whom experienced fits and claimed this to be of the torment of Alice Samuel’s witchcraft.
When Jane had become sicker, her mother had a Doctor Barrow contacted for help, After Doctor Barrow had sent medicines three times to help heal Jane, the doctor did ask if there were any signs of sorcery or witchcraft. A month later the other daughter of the Throckmorton family became ill also. All of Throckmorton’s daughters eventually began to cry out against Alice Samuels.
When the girls had the fits, they could sometimes last for up to an hour and happen up to six to seven times a day.
They were Jane Throckmorton's father Robert Throckmorton’s close friend. Henry Cromwell was also great nephew to the late, Thomas Cromwell and also grandfather to the future Oliver Cromwell.
Henry Cromwell and his wife came in 1590, to interview Alice Samuels at the house of the Throckmorton’s. When lady Cromwell, was speaking with Alice regarding the allegations against her, Lady Cromwell reportedly took some scissors and cut a lock of hair from Alice and then gave to Mrs Throckmorton to burn. This was done as was said to weaken a witches power and influence, that same night lady Cromwell was tormented by Alice in her dreams, and soon later, she became very ill, and died. This now became enough proof to put Alice through a trial.
After the death of Lady Joan Cromwell, one of the local parsons convinced Alice to just admit her guilt. In which she did, however later, Alice then changed her mind. Alice later again confessed her guilt again to William Wickham, the bishop of Lincoln, and then was taken to Huntingdon and put in prison along with her husband John and daughter.
The family were tried in April 1593 and they were convicted of the murder by witchcraft to the Lady Cromwell.
Alice’s last words to Lady Cromwell had been ("Madam, why do you use me thus? I never did you any harm as yet") These words were used against her at the trial, and all three were found guilty and eventually hanged.
After the hanging, Robert Throckmorton and his family left Warboys, and his wife did not live long after.
The Witches of Warboys trial influenced The Witchcraft Bill of 1604 that was passed through Parliament.