On the trail of the Pendle Witches

Have you heard the story?

The Pendle Witches

In the shadow of Pendle Hill lie pretty villages, which tell a story of intrigue and witchcraft nearly 400 years old.

The Pendle witch trial took place in 1612 and involved two peasant families who lived on the slopes of Pendle Hill. Both families were headed by women, one called Demdike and the other Chattox. They were both poor and survived by begging and possibly stealing and were bitter rivals feared my many local people.

The grand-daughter of Demdike, Alizon Device, was accused of putting a curse on a local man which supposedly paralysed him. Local outrage led to her being charged of witchcraft and she confessed to this before Justice Roger Nowell. She also implicated Demdike in other acts of sorcery and in describing the feud between the families also accused Chattox of witchcraft. Nowell sent Demdike, Alizon Device, Chattox and her daughter to Lancaster Castle to await trial.

This led to a meeting of twenty family members and sympathisers, including James Device and his mother Elizabeth who hatched a ridiculous plan to rescue the women from the castle and blow it up. This became common knowledge and Nowell had some of them arrested and sent to the castle to join the others. The trial was held in August and all were found guilty. On 20th August 1612 the following were hanged in Lancaster before a large crowd: Chattox, Alizon, James and Elizabeth Device, Alice Nutter, Ann Redfearn, Katherine Hewitt, Jane and John Bulcock. Demdike had died in prison prior to the trial.

source: walkingpages.co.uk

About Pendle Heritage