The most cruell and bloody murther committed by an Inkeepers Wife, called Annis Dell, and her Sonne George Dell, Foure yeeres since. On the bodie of a Childe, called Anthony lames in Bishops Hatfield in the Countie of Hartford, and now most miraculously reuealed by the Sister of the said Anthony, who at the time of the murther had her tongue cut out, and foure yeeres remayned dumme and speechlesse, and now perfectly speaketh, reuealling the Murther, hauing no tongue to be seen.
With the seuerall Witch-crafts, and most damnable practises of one lohane Harrison and her Daughter vpon seuerall persons, men and women at Royston, who were all executed at Hartford the 4 of August last past. 1606.
LONDON Printed for William Firebrand and lohn Wright, and are to be sold at Christs Church dore. 1606.
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THE MOST CRVELL and bloody Murther of Anthony lames in Hatfield in Hartford-shire.
Herodotus writeth of Sesostris a King of the Egiptions, that be carried in a Charilot drawne with foure Kings, whom he before had conquered, when one of the foure, casting his eyes behinde him, looked often vpon the wheeles of the Chariot; which Sesostris earnestly noting, at last demaunded of him what he meant by looking backe so often, who replied, I see that those things which were highest in the wheeles become lowest, and the lowest as soone become highest, cogito de mutatione fortunae, I thinke vpon the inconstancie of things. Sesostris hereupon as in a glasse beholding himselfe, waxed more milde, and deliuered the imprisoned Kings from that slauerie.
This Historic then so liuely expressing the mortalitie of mans life, that to the highest belongs a graue, assoone as to the lowest, and that man himselfe is a witnesse to himselfe, how vncertaine are his daies, (since sinne hath spread it selfe like a leaprosie ouer all flesh, and iniquitie hath gotten the vpper hand) that a Spider is able to choake vs, a haire to stifle vs, and a tile falling on our heads to extinguish vs, and in that moment when we least suspect so sudden Calalmities.
Our life then is so momentarie, that in that minute wee breath, if not defended by our maker, in that minute we are breathlesse: should any flesh, endowed with that heauenly reason which God hath onely giuen to men and angels, so forget his vncertaintie, as for a little gold which is but the dregs of the earth, for vanitie, (the pleasures of the world) or for the world it selfe which is an Hypocrite, because it hath exterior apparance of goodnesse, and within is full of corruption and vanitie, which is but like to reeds, that when they shoot out first in the spring of the yeere, doe with their fresh green colour delight the eye for a while, but if we break them and looke within them, we finde nothing but emptinesse and hollownesse forget his maker and the dignitie of his creation, who made him like to him selfe, to his owne Image and likenesse, to the intent, that as all other creatures of their owne proper natures doe loue their like, so should man set his affection on God alone, where contrarily, he being the hand of heauen, made for vertuous dispositions, conducts himselfe to vitious actions, where I by it followes certainely, that men in their Hues are like children, who more delight of a horse made of reedes, and babes formed of clowtes, than in the thinges themselues, so man giues more honor to the shadowe, than to the truth, and indeede (as in this whole course) but like birds, who greedily flye to pecke vp the corne till they be caught in the ginne: or like fishes, who earnestly swim me to catch the baite, though they be choakt with the hooke: so doe many, how indirectly soeuer, hunt after riches, til they deface their bodies be the law, and condemne their soules by their sinne, as shall appeare by this following discourse.
Some Foure yeeres since neere Deuonshey Hundred in Essex liued a Yeoman one Anthony lames, who in repute of the world was counted rich, and by the report of his Neighbours held credible and honest.
This man in the desire of his youth matcht himselfe to an honest Countreymaide, whose vertuous disposition equald his owne thoughts, and whose diligent care was carefully to saue what her husband brought home, as his labour did striue to procure it abroad; so that the prouidence of the one, and the care of the other, mixt such a mutuall content between them, that they liued like Abraham and Sara, he louing to her, she obedient to him.
In processe of time this couple growing wealthy by their labour, prooued to be as happie by their yssue, for it it pleased God to enrich them with two children, a Boy, and a Girle, that the wishes of the Father might be as wel satisfied, as the desire of the Mother, and both contented in so comfortable a blessing.
The Mother being (as women vse to say) stored first with a Daughter, and called it by her owne name Elizabeth lames, so that when time brought the Father as happie reioycing of a Sonne, hee christened it by his owne name Anthony lames. In the education and bringing vp of these two Children, there was a pretty louing contention betweene the Goodman and the Wife, which of the two should prooue most happie to the Parents delight, whose loue indeede was alike to them both. So that time passing away in that comfortable strife betweene this louing couple, the Daughter had attayned to the age of Eight yeeres, and the Sonne to Seuen, in which passage the mother hauing no other yssue, was then with childe with the third, and the better halfe of her time had carried so happie a burthen.
About that season of the yeere a Faire happened in Essex, to which the Seruants they then kept, some for pleasure, the rest about necessarie businesse were sent, so that the honest Yeoman with his wife and children were onely left at home, when mischiefe like a bramble that takes hold on whatsoeuer it touches, caught this occasion, and wrought in the mindes of Nine, I cannot call them men, but villaines, and another not a woman, but a beast to make a prey of these harmelesse foure, and their increast possessions: but as
Finis est primum in intensione, Vltimum in executione.
So these wretches hauing fastened on this monstrous intent, made hast to the execution thereof, and so soone had attained to this wealthy Yeomans house, where finding little or no resistance, they first bound the man and the woman, and giuing the two children to two of their associats to hould, the rest fell to ransacke, where not contenting themselues with that store of riches they found, as Gold, Siluer, Plate, Rings, and other wealth, hauing made vp their packe, they consulted with themselues for their farther security, to make spoyle of the owners. It was not long in question ere this hellish lury had giuen vp as damnable a verdict, for (suspition alwaies haunting a guiltie mind,) they determined with themseules they could not bee safe from pursute, from attachment, nay from shamefull death, which they worthily deserued, without the slaughter of the father and the mother, which they presently resolued vpon, and then two of them stepping to the man, where he lay bound vpon the ground, with their daggers stobbed him in the body: who ere his speach left him, lifting vp his eyes, beg’d only this of them; take my riches, I car’d for them to bring vp my posterity, but now they are yours, I giue them you freely; then pitty my wife, bee mercifull to my children. These his last words seemed to beget some remorse (seldome seene) in the men which were murtherers, which the more than monstrous woman perceiuing (as in a rage thereat) stept to his wife, and calling to him with these words; Talkest thou of pittie quoth shee, if thy eyes haue yet left so much sight to be witnes how ile be pittifull? behould how Ile performe thy peticion. So drawing out her knife, (O act too terrible to report, but the most damnablest that euer was heard of, executed by a woman) shee ript her vp the belly, making herselfe a tragicall midwife, or truly a murtheresse, that brought an abortiue babe to the world, and murthered the mother.
The good woman hauing not leaue to cry, and her husbaud hauing not the vse of speach, they both lift vp their hands, rowld their eyes one to another, and with that said, but silent; Farewell euer.
This tragicall spectacle enforced all the rest partakers in the robbery, and actors in the murther to remorce, nay euen to a repentance; that done, this horrible action had a beginning: but sinne alwaies seeking securely to shrowd it selfe in, they began now to question of their safety, and (as villaines are euer one affraid and in distrust of another) they conclude now to share their purchase, and euery Knaue to shift for him selfe.
Some vrged let vs first kill the children, as we haue done their parents, others and the greater part glutted with the present obiect, and euen ashamedof themselues and their sinfull actions, not onely denyed, but confidently resolued they would be no further guilty in the blood of Innocents, in briefe they agreed euerie party to haue an equall portion of this ill purchased booty, which soone shared amongest them, and as it appeared, hauing more than they could tell what to doe withall, they gaue the remaine to three of their Consorts, of which the woman was one to conuey away the children from thence, and bestowe them in what place soeuer, while they would giue their Parents buriall.
This was as soone done as talkt of, seuen of them caried the dead couple from the house to a wood neere adioyning, and there buried them, and the other three are gone to trauell with the children.
These Monsters thus diuided, whether of a determinate before of ancient acquaintance, or drawne by what means soeuer, it yet rests vndiscouered to the world. These two men, this woman, and these two children the next day some three houres before night, came to Bishops Hatfield in Hartford shire seuenteen miles from London, the children being on a horse in a payre of Panniers, the woman riding betweene them, as it had beene to visite some of their friends, then they tooke vp their Inne at one Dels house: and being brought to their chamber, they called for their Hostesse, when after some other parle had betweene them, they demaunded of her, if she would be secret in a businesse, they would vnfold vnto her, who presently without further pawse, replied, I as God should iudge her would she, when straight they began to discouer to her their whole proceeldings, shewed her what riches they had got, and told her they were willing to make her a Partaker therein, onely they craued her aduise, how they should dispose of the children, all this was spoken in the hearing of the Girle. To which Dels wife, as by the sequell appeared soone gaue this her consent and instruction, that the Boy should be murthered, and his sister haue her tongue cut out.
This, thus resolued vpon, they fell to drinking, and who so merry as this diuellish company, all this while the girle sat on the frame at the tables end, and in the meane time, the boy was strayd downe the stayres, where being playing vp and downe in a lower roome, this Dels wife hauing a labourer at worke in her backside to make her bauins, called Nicholas Dracon, it was his chance to come in to call for drincke, where taking note of it, by the pretines of the behauiour it vsed; his Hostesse passing by him, he demaunded of her whose child it was, who answered it belongs to a guest or two that are now aboue, the honest labourer hauing drunke his drinke that hee came for, went backe to end his busines in the yarde, while the child (they being aboue in the heat of their cups, and not regarding him) strayd out into the streete, where one Neuey whelpe lay: the tailor taking notice of him, especially by a greene coate with nine skirts about the wast, the fassion then being new for children, hee called the boy to him to take a patterne thereof, and hauing satisfied his desire by noting it well and taking measure of the child, the tailor as the labourer, goes backe to his worke, and the boy relturnes to Dels house.
By this time night comming on, as the fit marke for villaines to act their villanies vnder; these wretches hauing supt with the children, as if no such pretence, which inwardly they intended, had lurked in their bosomes outlwardly, bare themselues faire to the little ones, and when they thought it fit time, went to bed together all in our Chamber, the chamber hauing three beds in it, the men together, and the women with the children, who in the dead of the night, the time created for quiet rest, the ease of labour, and the honest mans repose; these Homesides rising from their beds, and hauing a candle ready, awaked the children, made them ready, and with flattering words told them, they must goe to their father and mother, when they poore hearts (as willing to obey, as they to demaund, little dreading they were going to such a shambles, as they had prepared for them) came downe with them, & at the staires foot stood the sonne to this Hostesse called George Dell (who belike the mother had acquainted herein) and calling to the men bad them come on and doubt nothing, for he had scene the coast was cleere, whereupon opening the backe dore, they went into the yard, where this lnkeepers wife vsed to milke her Kine, & in which stood a great Stacke of wood, where deliuering the Girle to the woman, and George Dell to stay with, tooke the boy & leading him behind the pile, first stopping his mouth with Cow dung that he might make no noyse, they slit vp his throat from one eare to another. This inhumane murther thus acted, they returne to the house, told Dels wife and her son the deed was done: quoth Dels wife, then George thou shalt conduct them to bottomlesse Pond, where for our more safety, they shall end our cause of mistrust, or feare to be discouered by throwing him in. When George Dell presently stepping to the Woodstacke, and choosing out a good big stake, he with the helpe of the rest bound thereon the dead child with a hairen rope, and George Dell himselfe taking a long Pike staffe on his shoulder, lead them the way towards botomelesse Pond, being a mile fro Hatfield, while the 2 theeues vpon the stake carried the boy, and the strumpet led the Girle in her hand.
George Dell thus afore leading the way, the 2 theeues in the midst with ye dead boy, after them comes (I may rightly cal her so) the whore with ye sister in her hand, who (what with drowsinesse, & what with feare) seeming to lag, for the night being vncofortable to me, it must needs be to childre, the monstrous femall (for no woman) began to egge her on with faire perswasion, Come apace sweet-heart, thy brother is before, and we are going to thy father and thy mother.
The poore Girle encoraged with the remembrance of her Parents names, whose lines they had extinguished from her, as if the names of them (who first gaue her life) could haue created a new motion in her, (as far as her childhood & feeble strength would giue her leaue) hastened after, and by the way cald to her with these words. Gammer, shall my mother make me ready to morrow morning, kisse me when I come from schoole, and heare me say my lesson? The diuelish Diuell answered (not hauing remorse, being remembred of the execrable act she had done) I. when she sees thee next, she shall doe all this.
The men hastening on before with ye pitifull burthen of a murthered brother, when she the diuellisht of all came after with a tender sister, and by the way began to aske her of seuerall circumstances as where she was borne, who were her parents, and what her name was? when the child answering to euerie question according to her remembrance so pretyly, that if her leader had had left in her any sparke of womanhood, who by nature are kinde, flexible, and remorseable, and not been made vp for one to be damned, she would haue pitied her.
But who are created to be Murtherers, are created to be remorselesse, and so was she, onely beguild the way with these & other such like questions, as what we walkt vpon, what she saw withall and what she spake withall, when the innocent Child (suspectlesse that her own tongue should be her owne betrayer) according to her discretion answered to euerie one, directly pointing to her foot, her eye, and to her tongue, that with those, and by the helpe of those she sawe, went & spake. Whereupon this bloody Tygris to make her selfe more monstrous, bad her put out her tongue that she might feele it, (being at this time come iust to a stile, where she sat down, and told the Girle that they would rest themselues a while) when the child, (little dreading it should be the last time she should make vse of it, doing what she bad her) she presently caught it by the end, and with her thumbe wresting ope the child’s iaws to the widest she could stretch them, she cut it out euen by the root: the Girle hereat beginning to make her iust lamentation, this She-wolfe holding her knife to her throat, bad her peace, or she would slit that as she had slit her tong; so that for her pain enforc’t by feare (onely as the blood exceeded in her mouth she still spot out that) the woful child was quiet, when the strumpet bad her hold vp her aperne, & she would giue her her tongue again, and looke (quoth she) you loose it not, for you must beare it to your brother. By this time (with their conductor George Dell) the men had discharged themselues of their burthen by bottomelesse Pond, throwing the stake & Boy they brought (& bound him withall) into a Corne field, & the child with her tongue in her aperne, and in the whores hand had ouertaken the, when presently went to act this last stratageme which before they had agreed vpon, & threw the Boy (as he was in his clothes) into the pond, giuing him for his requie farewel, no other funerall rites & Christian buriall, but these words; sinke there in stead of a mother-graue, ye dead child thus in the pond, the whore (as if she had felt her selfe sicke) not being an exercised actor in more villany, hauing forc’t the child to be sad (beholding first of her brothers vntimely murther, and now of his watry graue) not resting here, made the distressed Infant take her tongue (the instrument of her speech) out of her aperne, and throw it after her brother, & as it was throwne from her hand, she vttered these words, Let it goe and spare not, it cannot be better bestowed, they are neere a kin together.
The murthered brother thus bestowed, & his sister speechlesse, these vilaines hauing contented Dels wife for her cousell, and so bountifully that where it was credibly knowne, the Lease of her Inne was (at the time of this action) at pawne for 50 l. she presently fetcht it home, and bestowed a 100. Markes more in building. The next morning before day they parted; yet in their parting this was resolued vppon between them, that the dumbe Girle with some little peece of mony should be giue vnto a beggar to trauell with, & she so disposed of, they were certen neuer to be discouered.
The next day in Hatfield wood (some 2 miles from Hatfield) this determination tooke effect, & a beggar for a peece of money, tooke the Wench promising to keepe her, as many such Rogues vse for one to begge withall. The childe receiued, and the mony payd, the 2 theeues and the whore departed: when the beggar (whether not liking the bargain least after he should pay too deere for it, of slight care or selfe-will, it is yet vnknowne) he lost the child in Hatfield wood, where shortly after it was found in a hallow tree, and hauing receiued some little cherishing of some well disposed people about the wood-side, from thence it strayd to Barnet, from Barnet to London, where hapning in the dumbe manner, it vsed to begge at one Master Allens dore a Barber-surgeon for some releefe, the Maister comming himselfe to the dore, and seeing the child make such pitiful signes to the mouth, he tooke it by the hand and led it into his shop, and opening her mouth to know the cause of the greefe it comlplayned of, found the tongue to be cut out, and the wound vnheald, who (pitying the misfortune of the childe) of his owne charitable disposition, cured it. The mouth thus healled, for 4 yeeres space together, the Girle hath been knowne in many countreys to beg for her food, somtimes about London, sometimes in Essex, but most she hath been remembred (as is certenly by diuine prouidence of heauen, that by her these villanies should come to light) to be resident in Hartford shire, she was neuer known to speak any sillables tending to speech, only hoarsly she could mutter when any one spake to her in stead of answere Moka, moka, & so neere her tongue was cut out to the root, that the food any charitable persons bestowed on her, she had no tongue to helpe her to swalow it, but after she had chawd it in her mouth, she was faine to pull out the skin of her throat with her fingers, & gulpe it down; in this dumbe maner she continued 4 yeres. We will leaue her begging for her liuing, and returne to her murthered brother in bottomelesse pond.
This Child hauing remained three weekes in the pond, on Saint Peters day in the morning (for at that time of the yeere happened this Tragedy) some Gentlemen and others (being a hunting for Wild-foule) hapned with their dogs to beat about this Pond; when one of these dogges hauing scented the child (as where it was rose vp vnder the weeds at a banke-side) whined and cried, and by no meanes could be beat or drawne from thence, which eagernesse of the Spaniels, wrought a desire in the men to know certainely the cause thereof, and with their long staues turning vp the weeds, found there a Boy to be drowned, as they coniectured; when carying newes thereof to the towne, the boidie was by the Crowner taken vp, and layd openly for the view of all men to take knowledge of it.
The whole Counrrey neere thereabouts comming at the strangenesse of the report, that a childe should be murthered and then throwne into a pond, yet none could challenge in him the right of a sonne; yet the aforesayd Henrie Whilpley, Nicholas Deacon, and diuers others of Hatfield, made testification both by apparell and other signes (for the Boy had a red head) that this was the childe, who three weekes belfore was seene in Dels house, so many then signified to the Justice: Dels wife was sent for, for her husband was a blinde man, when being demanded if such a child were not brought to her house, (as before is spoken) & who they were that brought it thether, when she constantly denied, shee knew of no such, and for certaine she could affirme, that no such child did lodge at her house, and being offered her oath, hereupon she was as redy to sweare as resolute to deny, but who knowes not lying and swearing are partners, and as inseparable companions as a theefe and a receiuer, and (as I may say) sworne brethren, that alwaies iumpe together in a sinfull societie: her oath being taken (see the iust iudglment of God, she had not power to confes that truth which would haue wrought her out of all suspition, but vtterly denying that which was so manifestly prooued against her) the Justices thought it requisite (till further proofe could be had on this presumption) to bind her ouer to giue answere at the next Assizes.
When from assizes to assizes, during the passage of foure yeares shee was compeld to appeare, nothing being further found against her, but her owne deniall; wherevpon the first demaund, if shee had made but this perswasion and satisfying answere, as Judge Daniell very worthyly vrged against her at ye tryall, that keeping an Inne, shee had many guests, and many children lay at her house, of which number (for ought shee knewe) that might bee one, but who brougt them, from whece they come, or whether they will, shee is not bound to take notice of. This might haue been some instance of her innocency, but so to deny a question, the truth of which was not of sufficiency to heare her argues, a suspition and mistrust of her selfe, and prooues her to be guilty.
But to the former matter, shee hauing made her appearance at so many seuerall assises and sessions, and no instance against her, but the former, it was thought at lent assizes last, shee should haue been dismist the Court: but in ye meane time such is the iust iudgment of God, to the plague of murtherers, and terror of them that delight in bad, the dumbe shall speake ere they shall escape vndiscouered.
For the dumbe sister of this murthered child, for when shee was in question, led (no question) foure yeare vp and downe, from towne to towne, from country to country, by the hand of God was at Michaelmas last brought vnto Hatfield, before whose comming thither, though Dels wife was by the grauer iudgments held in some suspition, yet was her honest carriage such to taruelors, and to all sorts of people shee had to deale withall, that generally the whole country acquited her, and held her of honest condition; for since the time of this murther it is credibly reported, that betwixt that and a hundred mile from thence, mans meat and horse meate was not to bee had so reasonable as then, nor to a trauailer better vsage.
Well the girle is come to Hatfield, and hauing been there two dayes straying from place to place; the third day shee happened vpon Dels house, where, whether it were by especiall note taken before, but rather truely to be iudged by the diuine instinct of heauen, to euerye one that came by her, shee would make such pittifull action, as would haue pittied any reasonable creature to haue beheld her, as tearing of her haire, pointing to her throate, stopping of her mouth, poynting to the woodstacke, & in the motion hereof, shed teares as bitter as if her brothers former murther had been in present action.
This strangenesse noted through all the towne, bred a wonder in the people, and the rather for that the girle by no means could be drawen from thence; at last the Bailiffe of Hatfield, taking aduise with some of his brethren, consulted together, how they might trye whether the dumbe did this, as tending to the reuelation of some concealed suit, or prouoked thereunto by ignorance, and in searching many wayes, at last it came in their minds, that their neighbor Dels wife had of long been in question about a child, taken vp in bottomles Pond (some foure yere since) or thereabout, whereupon they agreed to question the girle vpon what particulars, they could best thinke vpon to that purpose, and withall remembring that by commaund from the Justices of the shire, they had reserued the murthered childes cote, and purposed to make tryall, if her remembrance could take any knowledge of it, but first resolued to tempt her memory, by shewing her diuers others.
The girle brought into a parlor amongst them, they began first to aske her of her name, as, is thy name lohane, Alis, Agnis Frauncis, Besse, and euer as they spake her right name which was Elizabeth, shee would laugh and reioyce; on the contrary, at the naming her wrong seem discontent.
They hauing thus a knowledge of her name, began to question her further, if she neuer had had a brother; when presently she (as she accustomed before) fell a creeping, making all the former signes in the former order; then they asked her what clothes he vsed to go in, & she to the best declaration she could, made signes thereof; whereupon they shewed her many childrens Coats of seuerall colours, and euer as she happened vpon a greene, that she would kisse, and cry, euer throwing all the rest from her, with so louely and liuely action, that they were confident the murthered Boy was her brother; at last they brought to her the right coat, which after she had earnestly taken note of, the poore childe grewe to that vehement passion, as if in the sight thereof, she had seene another brother murthered, when by no perswasion, offerings, gifts, nor no course that could be taken, to part from the coate, as it for the losse of a brother, she would keepe it as a remembrance of him. All which signified to the Justices and Knightes of the Shire, the towne had an especiall charge to prouide more carefully for her, and not to suffer her any longer to lye in the streets., and her brothers coate was giuen to her to weare out.
This wonder, the onely table-talke in the Countrey, though often brought to the widdow Dels eare, she made slight of it, (perswading her sele belike) that with her honest report and store of wealth, the Childe hauing not a tongue to vtter any thing in her reproofe to wrest out of it, which (no question) she had done, notwithstanding all the arguments and instances against her. But see the wonderfull workes of God, an example able to make all people, that for desire of riches, honour, promotion, or what titles soeuer would be a Murtherer or consent thereunto, to loath the thought thereof, euen in the creation, and content them selues with their estate (how meane soeuer,) rather than seeke to rise by indirect meanes, knowing that a guilty conscience Salamander-like liues alwayes in fire, that his dayes are dreadfull, his nights terrible, that he that admits sinne in himselfe, kils himselfe, that to vnhonest pleasure is begot a companion repenting, and enrich him self a with this saying,
Somnia bonorum meliora quam malorum.
And though I liue poore, I liue rich in this, that I am vertuous, I am not a Bond-man to my thoughts, nor slaue to my affections,
Nemo liber qui seruit cupiditatibus.
This Wench (as before is reported) being by the direction placed where she had reliefe; one day, some month before Christmasse last, going to play with the Goodwifes daughter where shee soiourned in a Parke ioyning to Hatfield (commonly called the Kings Parke) as they were in sport together, a Cocke hard by them fell a crowing, when the other Girle mocking the Cocke with these words, Cocka doodle dooe, Peggy hath lost her shooe, and called to her Besse, canst not thou doe so? When presently the Girle in the like manner did so; which, drawing the other child into amazement, she presently left her, and ran home crying out as she went., the dumbe Girle Besse can speake, the dumbe Girle Besse can speake. The wonder caused all the towne to gather in flocks, & ran to meet her, but the bailliffe and the Constables (more discreet than the rest) kept the Hurry from her: when she answered them to euery question directly, and forthwith began in order to reueale the former Murthers, as before is mentioned.
Speedy newes was carried to all the cheefe men in the Shire, who driuen into astonishment with the report, and the miraculous accident, that a Childe without a tongue should speake both discreetly and distinctly, to the reuealing of so monstrous a Murther, and by the crowing of a Cocke (that bird that put Peter in minde of his great sinne in denying our Sauiour and his Maister) was the Herauld to proclaime to this child, when she should speak these things, that by her the wonderfull workes of God might be glorified, and the Murthers discouered.
But the liues of the Kings Subiects, and those which til then, had been reputed honest being now like to depend on her iustification: the lustices were very carefull to sift her by seuerall examinations, to see if they could finde her alter or trippe in any part of her former discourse, as Sir Raph Conesbye, Sir Henrie Butler, Maister Auditor, and Master Auditor Curle, to the number of 14 Knights and graue Gentlemen of note lustices of peace, tooke her seuerall examinations, when in the generall there could not be one found that differed in a sillable; nay though some of them threatned her with what vengeance God would stir vp for her in hell, and plagues here vpon earth, if she persisted to be a Iyer, and a murtherer, both which would conclude in her (by the death of Dels wife and her sonne) if she perseuered in this testimony. Others in milder traine dealt with her, as by faire perswasions, golden promises, that fro ye state of a beggar, where till then she had liued, she should now be exalted and maintained by them in the same degree as their owne children, making them stand present obiects to alter her, neither of which could make her distant in any thing, but in briefe satisfied the with this answere. I must not lye, I haue that within me bids me tell truth.
Notwithstanding this, one of Sir Henrie Butlers men (to make a further triall of her constancy herein, watching her abroad in the same Parke, where first her lost speech was reueald vnto her) attired himselfe in a vizard with hornes, and (as we commonly say) like a Diuell, and out of a thicket stept before her, & threatned her, that in that place where shee first spake, hee would teare her in peeces for belying George Dell and his Mother; when the Girle though in common it doth appeare she should haue been frighted from her constancie) onely answered thus. Good Gaffer Diuell doe not hurt me, I speake nothing but truth, and what the thing within me instructeth me to speake With the wonder of this Miracle (time passing away) & people comming from all places to be eye and eare-witnesse thereof, the Assizes were to be held at Hartford, where (according as they were bound) George Dell & his Mother appeared, and being called to their trial (as in forme of law in such cases are prouided) they pleaded, not guiltie; when the Girle (as boldly in accusing, as wonderfull in speaking) gaue euidence against them, saying, that since God had lent her a speech by miracle, shee would with that inspired breath, follow the law of them, & haue their bloods lawfully, who stole away her brother. Dels wife being yet asked by the ludge, whether such lodged in her house or no? who yet continued her denyall; when the aforesayd Henrie Whelpley, Nicholas Deacon, with others, were ready to auow the being there, besides many credible persons of Hatfield, who in the life of her husband, (being a blinde man, and liuing in great discontent together) hath often heard him say: thou mayst rise a while, but a day will come when thy villanies and murthers will appeare, when thy fall shall be low ynough. Uppon this euidence (the lury going together) they were foud guilty, & a verdict returned: whereupon the Judge according to course proceeded in sentence against them, where learnedly he instructed them, that since God had reuealed them Murtherers (as from the tongues of Babes and sucklings, that a child spake by miracle to her discouery, & that accordingly they were cast by 12 credible men of their own countrey) they would yet looke into themselues, seeing how neere they were vnto their graues, & make that more plaine which yet lay somewhat obscure, namely, who were partakers with the in that bloody action: but nothing preuailing to molify their obdurat harts, briefly thus they replied: since the law hath cast vs, we desire to die. Whereupon the 2 of August being Saturday, hauing receiued their sentence, they were conueyed to the Goale, where being permitted to be together as long as they had stay in this world; by a prisoner that lay ouer them, was heard this conference. Molther (quoth George Dell) the law hath cast me, and I am resolued for death, I pray you (if you can) resolue the world, whether I am guilty or no? Who answered him, Sonne be conteted, take thy death patiently, it is now too late, I haue spoken what I will. The young man spending the time he had to lie, in prison & praier, and singing of Psalmes, that if the outward appearance may be a perfect witnes in earnest repentance, till Monday the 4 of August, where being with his mother, by the Taylor deliuered to the Sheriffe, his Mother hauing by suit obtained, that she might see her Sonne first suffer death, they were executed at the common place of execution; the young man (though the Mother before this was beloued) the most lamented for.
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The seuerall practises of lohane Harrison, and her daughter, condemned and executed at Hartford for Witch-craft, the 4 of August last, 1606.
At the Assizes held in the beginning of August last in the County of Hartford, in the Kings Maiesties behalfe for Gaole deliuerie, there were by the verdict of the Countrey, Foure onely Offenders found worthy to haue deserued death, of which 2 (as haue been spoken of, the Mother & the Son) for murther, and one lohane Harrison, & her daughter for damnable Witchcraft, wrayed time that offences shold come thus prodigious, that the Ofspring borne to be a comfort to the Parents, and the parents as much to be delighted in the Children, should be cause of one anothers vntimely death and fatal ouerthrow.
This I. H. dwelling at Royston in the sayd County of Hartford, of long time having been suspected for witchcraft; now (vpon iust cause) was apprehended, and her house according to the true course of Justice, being searcht, there was found in a chest of hers, such sufficient instruments, (which she after confest were helpes to her in her practises) that could there haue beene no other proofe nor euidence against her, they only had been sufficient to iudge her vnworthy of long life. This Chest being opened, there was first taken out by the Officers all the bones due to the Anatomy of man & woman, and vnder them haire of all colours that is customarily worne; in the bottome was found a parchment lapt vp in a compas no bigger than a groat, but being open, was in breadth euery way 2 spans; in ye midst of this parchment was coloured (in the purest colours) a heart proportionable to the hart of a man; and round about fitting euen to the very brim of the parchment, were coloured in seuerall colours very curiously diuided braunches, on which hung dangling things like ashen keyes, and at the ends of them in some places figured, and others proportioned a mouth, in briefe the whole ioynts and artiers of a man.
This I.H. being vpon her examination, and finding such apparant witnes induct against her of her seuerall fellonies & murthers, neglected not to confesse her vtrnost secret therin, that she had power (by the helpe of that parchment, man & womans bones, and man and womans haire) to inflict (by the helpe of her spirits, which she reported to haue 2 attending on her, one for men, another for cattell) in any ioynt, synnow, or place of the body, by only but pricking the point of a needle in that place of the parchmet, wherein his or her body she would haue them tortured, which torture of hers once begun in them, their paine should continue so restlesse, that a present death had bin more happier, than so lingring a calamity; and those whome she intended to kill had the same in effect. If she gaue a pricke in the middle of ye parchment, where she had placed the heart, which relation of her may certainely be beleeued by the seuerall consequents that she was condemned vpon. First a good countrey Yeoman (a neighbor of hers) & she falling at some words together, he calling her old Hagge, or some such like name of reproofe: She made him this answere, I will say little to thee, but thou shalt feele more from me hereafter. The honest man had scarse been departed from her halfe an houre, but hee felt himselfe, as if he had been set into your scotch-boote [a torture device], or Spanish strappado, or your Morbus Gallicus [syphilis], was nothing to it, sometimes in a pestiferous heat, at others, a chill cold, but at al times in continual aches, & wracking of his limbs as if the Diuell had set him on his Tentors to make broadcloth of him. In this perplexitie he continued consuming himselfe, not being able neither to goe nor stand, nor Phisicke could helpe him, nor no meanes bee had to ease him.
When one of his neighbors comming in neighborly loue to visit him, he began to open his mind to him, that he perswaded himselfe, by such a one she was bewitched, and hee was as faithfully perswaded, that if he could but haue 2 or 3 good scratches at her face, wherby he might draw blood of her, he should recouer presently, his neighbour aduised him by some wile to send for her home, yet (yt between them both held vnconuenient, for that either suspecting her selfe, or for not being friends she would not come) that in the night following his neighbor would haue this sicke man caried in a chaire, & lodged in his house, and in the morning his wife, (who he knew she was good friends withal) should by some wile or another draw her theher, wha if he of himself were not strog inough to scratch her, he (as he held charily) wold help him. This the next morning was done accordingly, the Witch comes, & is well scratcht, vpon which within 3 or 4 daies (as fast as the man could recouer strength) he is vp, & goes abroad; which this A.H. perceiuing, arrests him & by a triall in law for this battry had 5 s damages, and her costs of suit giuen her, the man (according as he was condemnd) paid her, which no sooner by her receiued, but ye honest man fell into his former passion, languishing a while & died: in the same maner she serued another, who meeting her out of the towne in a lane, tooke the like reuenge vpon her, & recouered. Both which blowne ouer (only a little murmurd against by a neighbor of hers) a yong woma being washing clothes in an outer rowme next ye street where in a wanscot cradle her child lay a keep; when this A.H. daughter chanced to come by iust in the instant as she was throwing out a little wrinsing water, and by chaunce some of which vnawares sprinkled vpon her, which ye wench seeming mooued at, called to her with these words. Do you throw your waiter vpon me gossip, before it be long lle be reuenged for it. The woman (sorry for the offence) had done, followed her busines, & thought no further of it, whe on the sudde (while she was stept but into a next rowm to hag vp some clothes) the cradle wherein her child lay, was throwne ouer shattered all to peeces, the child vpon the face whelmed vnder it, & killed. Thus we see the Diuell hath such power on these his damnable seruants, that neither men nor infants are to be pitied by them. Not long after she had all bewitched a wealthy mans daughter in the towne, who hauing a good substantiall Yeoman to her brother, in pitie of his Sisters griefe, rode to Cambridge, and there acquainting a friend of his with his sisters affliction: the scholler told him she was bewitched, yet in regard they two had bene of an ancient friendship, & that himselfe had some acquaintance with his sister, in spight of Incubi, her spirits, & the diuell, & al heed help: which according to promise he performed, and by that time her brother was returned, his sister was recouered, in reuenge of (for that her sorcery was crost, & the mayd reuct to helth by her brothers carefulnes) she caused such a plague vpon all his cattell, that they all immedially perisht, & consumed, not one of that great store he had being left, to be a remembrance of the rest: himselfe shortly after did these, & a number more at her triall were inferd against, onely one more amongst the rest, though but a homely tale, for that it made al the Bench to laugh, Ile record of her, & conclude.
How the Witch serued a Fellow in an Alehouse.
There was an honest Fellow, and as boone a companion dwelling in Royston, one that loued the pot with the long necke almost aswell as his prayers; for (quoth he) as I know one is medicinable for the soule, I am sure the other’s phisick for ye bodie. It was this Fuddle caps chance with 3 or 4 as good Malt-wormes as himselfe, and as sure, where the best lap was to be found, together as 4 Knaues in a payre of cards, to be drinking, where this Witch came in, & stood gloting vpon them. Now this Goodfellow (not enduring to looke vpon a bad face, but his owne, especially when he is Cup-shot) called aloude to her, Doe you heare Witch, looke tother waies, I canot abide a nose of that fashion, or else turne your face ye wrong side outward, it may look like raw flesh for flyes to blow maggots in. Stil as the Witch was ready to reply, hee would crosse her with one scuruy lest, & between euery lest drinke to her, yet sweare, God dam him, she should starue ere she should haue a drop on’t, since the pot was sweet hee’d keepe it so, for should but her lips once looke into the lid on’t, her breath’s so strong, & would so stick in the cup, that al the water yt runs by Ware would not wash it out again. At last the witch got so much time to cal to him, Doest thou heare good friend (quoth she?) What sayst thou ill face (quoth he?) Mary I say (quoth she) that thou throwst in thy drink apace, but shall not find it so easie comming out. Nay, as for the comming out (answerd the fellow) I throwd it in aboue, & it shal come out beneath, & then thou shalt haue some of it, if thou wilt, because I am in hope it will poyson thee. Then with this greeting away goes the Witch in a chafe, & the fellow sits down to follow his drink, but as the end of all drunkards, is either to ming or to sleepe. So out goes this fellow, & drawing his Gentleman Usher against a pale side, finds me a top of his nose a red lump as big as a cherry, & in his belly felt such a rumlbling, as if the Tower of Babell had falne about his eares: oh the sight thereof draue his hart to an ague, & his tongue to an alarum and out he cries, the Witch, the Witch, I am vndone, I am vndone: 0 God, women of Royston, helpe, helpe, the Witch, the Wicth, I am a man spoyld, helpe, I am vndone. At that word help, the Wich, in comes one of his fellowes runs in hast, & asked him what they should helpe, the Witch? Oh (quoth he) to the gallowes, for I am vndone by her. Well, yet out he runs, where for that night she would not be found, but the next morning meeting her in a lane, his pain rather increased, tha lesned, & there fasts his ten comandements [fingers] vpon her, he almost scratcht out her eyes; nay, left her not till he brought her to ye towne, where for this and the rest, she was apprehended, and she and her daughter, with George Dell and his Mother, worthily suffered death the 4 of August.