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Popular Superstitions - Witchcraft In Yorkshire

( Originally Published 1884 )

An industrious workman at Sheffield, who had saved seventeen guineas by his labour in working at the steel furnace of Messrs. Hague and Barkin, had the whole stolen out of his house in the night of the 27th of April last.

The poor man, almost in despair, employed the crier to make known his loss, and added that if the money was not returned by such a day, he would nextways apply to the Copper street conjurer, and proclaim the thief. In such high reputation, it seems, is this Copper-street conjurer for his knowledge in the Black Art, that the thief replaced eleven guineas of the money the next night, which, it was supposed, was all he had left of the booty.


If you think the accompanying depositions in a case of alleged witchcraft worth inserting, they are at your service. Yours, etc., CHARLES JACKSON.


The deposicon of ANNE JUDD, of Rosington, taken before HUGHE CHILDERS, Maior of Doncaster, the sixt day of ffebruarie, in the yeare of the raigne of our Soveraigne Lord James, by the grace of god, of England, ffrance, & Ireland kinge, defender of the faith, etc., the second, & of Scotland the xxxviiith.

This exarnt. beinge examinied the day & yeare above written, sayth as followeth. That Jone Jurdie, wife of Leonard Jurdie of Rosington, beinge bidden to the labor of Peter Mirfin's wife, of Rosinb ton, did not come of thre or fower dayes after she was delivered, and when she came she would neither eate nor drinke with the said Murfin's wife, and because the said Peter Murfin did not come into the house to drinke with her ; and this exams. goeinge home with her unto her owne house, she said to this exams. that Peter Murfin would not come in & drinke with her, but tell him that I say he had as good as have come. And the day followinge this examt. haveinge occasion to goe to the said Jone Jurdie's house, Jane Througheare, servant to the said Jurdie, asked this exams. how her sister and her child did ; this examt. made answer againe, verie weaklie : whereupon the said Jone Jurdie made answer againe, abide her, she is not at the worst, she wilbe worse yett.

And beinge further examined what Jenett Murfin, wife of Peter Murfin, said to her, this examt., upon Satturday in the night, binge the xvth of december last, saith that she said, Anne, hast thou bene asleepe ? And this examt. answered, noe, I have not. And the said Jenett Murfin said to this examt., I am ridden wth. a witch. And upon Monday or Twesday after, Katherin Dolfin, wife of Willm Dolfin, of Rosington, did come to the house of the said Peter Murfin to see the said Jenett Murfin, and the said Jenett Murfin did say unto her in the hearinge of this examt., the said Dolfin wife askinge the said Jenett Murfin how she did, she made answer againe, very weake, & never worse; & said, woe worth her, she bath kild me, I mone never recover it. And the said Dolfin wife did aske her if she had any bodie in doubt, & she said, Weay worth her, I did well till Jone Jurdie wife came.

And afterward the xviiith of Aprill, in the third yeare of his Mats. raigne of England, before the said HUGHE CHILDERS, Maior, JOHN FERNE, knight, Recorder there, RICHARD LEVETT, and JOHN CARLILL, Aldermen, Justices of the peace within the Boroughe and Soake aforesaid, the within named examt beinge exaied before the said Justices, confesseth all the exaicon within written to be true.

The deposicon of KATHERIN DOLFIN, wife of Willm Dolfin of Rosington aforesaid, taken at Doncaster the vith day of ffebruarie, Anno Dni, 1604, before the said HUGHE CHILDERS, Maior, as for followinge :

This examt. saith that upon twesday, beinge the xviiith of November last, this examt. beinge at the house of Peter Murfin of Rosington, laborer, the wife of the said Peter beinge in childbedd and sycke, she asking her how she did, said that she was never worse (God he knoweth); I was never well since satturday that Jurdie wife was here, for the same night I was ridden wth a witch, & therfore I could never eate any meate since but suppinge meate.

And beinge further exaied if she had hard that the said Jurdie wife could helpe any that were bewitched, saith that she hadd hard that she could, for about six yeares since, this examt. haveinge a childe sicke, she did goe to her for helpe for her child, and she sent her to one Milner wife to helpe her child, and Milner wife sent her back againe to the said Jurdie wife, and bide her tell her that she could helpe her childe, whereupon she came to her, and the said Jurdie wife bade her goe home, and lay the child in the credle, and she should see the childe mended presentlie after. And further, this examt. thinketh that she can helpe any thinge that ys bewitched, and that many of her neighbors do thinke the like of her.

And beinge further exaied what she did heare Leonard Jurdie maide say as concerning Peter Murfin's wife, then beinge sicke, saith that the said Jurdie maide came to this examt's. house upon the sixt day of Januarie at night last, and one Anne Judd beinge in this examt's. house, did aske the same Jurdie maide what her dame said, and the said Jurdie maide made answer againe and said, I did heare my dame say abide her she ys not at the worst yet, she wilbe worse.

The exaicon of KATHERIN DOLFIN, wife of Willm Dolfin, of Rosington, in the countie of Yorke, husbandman, the xviiith day of April), Anno Dni, 1605, before HUGHE CHILDERS, Maior of Doncaster, JOHN FERNE, Kt., Recorder there, & JOHN CARLILL of the same Boroughe, Alderman, thre of his Mat's. Justices of peace within the Boroughe & Soake of Doncaster.

Who saith upon her oath that all her former exaicons are true, & her full knowledge in that matter, saveinge that she further saith, that the said Jurdie wife bade this examt., when she was with her for helpe for her child, not to disclose it to her husband nor any person lest, qd [quoth] the said Jurdie wife, I should be thought to be a witch. And this examt. saith further, that Jane the wife of Willm Spight of Rosington, tould this examt. about six yeares last past, that she had bene then wth. Jurdie wife to have her helpe for a sicke calfe, and Jurdie wife tould the said Spight wife that the calfe was not bewitched nor forspoken, whereupon this examt. is induced to suspect that the said Jurdie wife is a witch, because she doth take upon her to helpe such thinges.

And further the examt. saith that imediately after she, this examt., was exaied before Mr. Hughe Childers, Maior of Doncaster, as concerninge the said Jone Jurdie for suspicion of bewitchinge Peter Murfin's wife of Rosington, the said Jurdie beinge in compainy with this examt. in Willi Wainwrighte's house in Doncaster, the said Jurdie wife said to this examt. that she would be meete with this examt. and her husband both, and this examt. had better have staid at home. And within fowertene dayes after this examt. had bene exaied before Mr. Maior, this examt. had an oxe fell sicke, and within thre weekes after that a steare fell sicke, and about seaven dayes last past one cowe fell sicke, but sayth the oxe is recovered, and the cowe, that there hath not any of her neighbors had any cattall sicke since, but onelie theirs since this examt. was first exained as aforesaid.

The examinacon of JONE JURDIE, wife of LEONARDE JURDIE, of Rossington, exained the xviiith day of Aprill, Anno Dni, 1605, before HUGHE CHILDERS, Maior, JOHN FERNE, Knight, Recorder there, and JOHN CARLILL, Alderman, as followeth :

JONE JURDIE, wife of Leonarde Jurdie, of the age of lii yeares, or thereabouts, saith that she hath not any skill to helpe sicke folke, or sycke cattell, neither hath ever taken upon her to meddle with any such matter. She also denyeth that she ever said that Peter Murfin's wife, when she was sicke, would be the worse. She denyeth also that ever she said to Dolfin's wife that she would be even with her & her husband at Willm Wainwrighte's house in Doncaster aforesaid, after she hadd bene exaied before Mr. Maior, of Doncaster, aforesaid.

The exaicon of JANE TROUGHEARE, of Rosington, aforesaid, taken xviiith die April, A. 1605, before the said Justices.

JANE TROUGHEARE, of Rosington, spinster, saith upon her othe that when Peter Murfin's wife was sicke before Christenmas last, & Anne Judd, her sister, cominge to the house of Leonard Jurdie, this examt beinge their servant there, asked the said Anne how the said Murfin's wife and the child did, and the said Anne answered that they weare very weake, and the child had a sore mouth, whereupon the said Jurdie wife answered that she was very sorie, but they weare not at the worst yett, and willed the said Anne to take sage leaves and honie to rubb the childe's mouth with all.

The exanicon of PETER MURFIN, of Rosington, exaied the xvith day of October, in the third yeare of the raigne of our Soveraigne lord James over England, etc., before HENRIE RILEY, Maior, JOHN FERNE, Knight, Recorder there, & JOHN CARLYLL, Alderman, thre of his Mat's. Justices of peace within the Boroughe and Soake aforesaid.

He saith that within tow dayes after John Jurdie had been with this exaiat's wife, lyeinge in child bed, upon wch. child she dyed, herselfe growinge sycke imediatelie after her milke turned into blood.

The exaicon of JANE SPIGHT, wife of Willm Spight of Rosington, afore-said, taken the xviiith of October, A. Dni, 1605, before HENRY RILEY, Maior of Doncaster aforesaid, as followeth :

First beinge exaied, sath that about seaven or eight yeares since, she haveinge a calfe sicke, and haveinge understood before by report, by the wife of George Houghe, that Jone, the Wife of Leonard Jurdie, had skill to tell of thinges yt. weare bewitched, & could helpe them, whereupon this examt. did goe to the said Jone Jurdie, & she tould her that the calfe was not bewitched, but that yt would mone againe, and soe it did. She further saith that at another time this examt. had gesse* come to foot-ball play, and dyned with her, and the said Jone Jurdie haveinge likewise gesse at her house to dine with her, it was reported by one Wilbore's wife that the said Jone Jurdie should say that it had bene better that this examt hadd provided noe meate that day, and within six dayes after this exat's husband's had a stott and a sowe dyed soddanlie.

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