Witches of Belvoir

Witches Of Belvoir

Witches of Belvoir

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The Witches of Belvoir were three women, a mother and her two daughters, accused of witchcraft in England around 1619. The mother, Joan Flower, died while in prison, and the two daughters, Margaret and Philippa, were hanged at Lincoln.

Account of the accused witches

The story of the Belvoir witches has many classic elements of witchcraft trials. Joan and Margaret had been employed as servants by the Earl and Countess of Rutland, at Belvoir Castle near Grantham, Lincolnshire, but Margaret had been dismissed for stealing. After a series of illnesses and the death of their eldest son Lord Ross or Ros, the Earl and Countess became convinced that the mother and daughters were plotting against them, and at Christmas of 1617 or 1618 they had them arrested. The women were taken to Lincoln gaol where they were examined. Joan Flower would not confess and in an effort to prove her innocence she asked to be brought bread and butter. Before taking a bite she stated that she wished that she should choke on the food if she was not innocent of the crimes of which she stood accused. She is reported to have died after taking her first mouthful of the food.

The two daughters confessed, revealing that they had entered into communion with familiar spirits that had assisted them with their schemes. The mother's familiar was a cat named Rutterkin. The women admitted that they stole the glove of Lord Ross and gave it to their mother, who had dipped it in boiling water, stroked it along...
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