The Pendle Witch Trials
Pendle Hill is in the east of Lancashire, England. Overlooking villages full of intrigue and witchcraft nearly 400 years old. An ancient hunting ground, once the home of wolves and wild boar, a wild and mysterious place. Pendle Hill is said to be "one of the most beautiful lumps of rock in the British Isles." - The Guardian
Perhaps the most notorious witch trial of the 17th century , the legend of The Pendle Witches at Lancaster Castle. This one series of trials in the summer of 1612 accounts for 2% of all witches executed.
The Pendle Witches lived in the early 1600s at a time of superstition. King James I, had just brought in the death penalty for those found guilty of witchcraft.
The story began when on the road to Trawden Forest, Alizon Device came across a peddler, John Law and asked him for some pins. He refused and Alizon cursed him. Shortly after John Law suffered a stroke. Alizon confessed that she had told the Devil to lame John Law.
When questioned, Alizon accused her grandmother, Old Demdike, Alice Nutter and members of the Chattox family, of witchcraft. Chattox was also blamed for the deaths of four other villagers that had occurred years before.
On further questioning both Old Demdike and Chattox confessed to selling their souls.
Old Demdike died before the trials were held at Lancaster between 17th and 19th August 1612.
Lancaster Castle where the trials were held
Nine year old Jennet Device gave evidence against her mother, sister, brother and Alice Nutter (who pleaded not guilty and apart from Jennets statement, there was no evidence against her. However she was still found guilty)Thanks to King James; all normal rules of evidence could be suspended for witch trials, someone so young would not have been able to supply key evidence normally.
A total of 10 people were found guilty of witchcraft:
- Anne Whittle (“Old Chattox”)
- Ann Redfearn
- Elizabeth Device (“Squinting Lizzie”)
- Alice Nutter
- Alison Device
- James Device
- Katherine Hewitt
- Jane Bulcock
- John Bulcock
- Isobel Robey
Sentenced to death and hanged on the moor above the town of Lancaster.
To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the infamous witches trials, one of the best known – Alice Nutter – was immortalised as a statue in Roughlee village from where she came...Pendle Hill
Location: Barley, Lancashire
Distance: 5.6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate."Starting in beautiful Barley, Lancashire – we begin with a short, steep climb up Pendle hill to the trig, before a long, winding descent alongside Ogden Clough, passing Upper and Lower Ogden reservoirs on route back to the start.".
Our walk around Pendle was fuelled by Real Turmat Beef Stew
Why not stop in at the Witches Galore on your way?