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SOME NOBLE SUFFERERS FROM WITCHCRAFT.
In the church of Bottisford is the sepulchral chapel of the Rutland family; and among the stately tombs is that of Francis Manners, Earl of Rutland, his Countess, and their two sons, Henry and Francis, which attracts more than ordinary attention, from the story attached to it in the church books. We give the extract, merely amending the spelling, and substituting small letters for the redundant capitals :
“ When the Right Hon. Sir Francis Manners succeeded his brother, Roger, in the Earldom of Rutland, and took possession of Belvoir Castle, and of the estates belonging to the earldom, he took such honourable measures in the courses of his life, that he neither discharged servants, nor denied the access of the poor; but making strangers welcome, did all the good offices of a noble lord, by which he got the love and good will of the country, his noble Countess being of the same noble disposition. So that Belvoir Castle was a continual place of entertainment, especially to neighbours, where Joan Flower and her daughter were not only relieved at the first, but Joan was also admitted charwoman, and her daughter Margaret as a continual dweller in the castle, looking to the poultry abroad, and the wash-house at home; and thus they continued till found guilty of some misdemeanor, which was discovered to the lady. The first complaint against Joan Flower, the mother, was, that she was a monstrous malicious woman, full of oaths, curses, and irreligious imprecations, and, as far as appeared, a plain atheist; as for Margaret, she was frequently accused of going from the castle, and carrying provisious away in unreasonable quantities, and returning in such unseasonable hours, that they could not but conjecture at some mischief amongst them; and that their extraordinary expenses tended both to rob their lady, and served al to maintain some debauched and idle company which frequented Joan Flower's house. In some time, the Countess misliking her (Joan's) daughter, Margaret, and discovering some indecencies in her life, and the neglect of her business, discharged her from lying any more in the castle, yet gave her forty shillings, a bolster, and a mattress of wool, commanding her to go home. But at last these wretched women became so malicious and revengeful, that the Earl's family were sensible of their wicked dispositions ; for, first, his eldest son Henry, Lord Ross, was taken sick after a strange manner, and in a little time died; and after Francis, Lord Ross, was severely tortured and tormented by them with a strange sickness, which caused his death. Also, and presently after, the Lady Catherine was set upon by their desihah practices, and very frequently in danger of her life, in strange and unusual fits; and, as they confessed, both the Earl and his Countess were so bewitched, that they should have no more children. In a little time after, they were apprehended and carried into Lincoln gaol, after due examination before sufficient justices and discreet magistrates. Joan Flower, before her convic. tion, called for bread and butter, and wished it might never go through her, if she were guilty of the matter she was accused of; and, upon mumbling of it in her
mouth, she never spake more, but fell down, and died as she was carried to Lincoln Gaol, being extremely tormented both in soul and body, and was buried at Ancaster.”
The examination of Margaret Flower, the 22nd of
“She confessed that about four years since, her mother sent her for the right hand glove of Henry Lord Ross, and afterwards her mother bid her go again to the castle of Belvoir, and bring down the (other ?) glove, or some other thing of Henry Lord Ross; and when she asked her for what, her mother answered, To hurt my Lord Ross. Upon which she brought down the glove, and gave it to her mother, who stroked Rutterkin, her cat, (the Imp) with it, after it was dipped in hot water, and, so, pricked it often ; after which Henry Lord Ross fell sick, and soon after died. She further said, that, finding a glove about two or three years since of Francis Lord Ross, she gave it to her mother, who put it into hot water, and afterwards took it out, and rubbed it on Rutterkin (the Imp), and bid him go upwards, and afterwards buried it in the yard, and said, “a mischief light on him, but he will mend again.' She further confessed, that her mother and her (self] and her sister agreed together to bewitch the Earl and his lady, that they might have no more children; and being asked the cause of this their malice and ill-will, she said, that about four years since the Countess, taking a dislike to her, gave her forty shillings, a bolster, and a mattress, and bid her be at home, and come no more to dwell at the castle ; which she not only took ill, but grudged it in her heart very much, swearing to be revenged upon her ;
on which her mother took wool out of the mattress, and a pair of gloves which were given her by Mr. Vovason, and put them into warm water, mingling them with some blood, and stirring it together ; then she took them out of the water, and rubbed them on the belly of Rutterkin, saying, “the lord and lady would have children, but it would be long first.' She further confessed, that by her mother's command, she brought to her a piece of a handkerchief of the Lady Catherine, the Earl's daughter, and her mother put it into hot water, and then, taking it out, rubbed it upon Rutterkin, bidding him ‘Hy and go;' whereupon Rutterkin whined and cried “Mew,' upon which the said Rutterkin had no more power the Lady Catherine to hurt her.
“Margaret Flower, and Phillis Flower, the daughters of Jane Flower, were executed at Lincoln, for witchcraft, March 12, 1618.
“Whoever reads this history should consider the ignorance and dark superstition of those times; but certainly these women were vile, abandoned wretches, to pretend to do such wicked things.
“Seek ye not unto them that have familiar spirits, nor wizards, nor unto witches that peep and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God ??—Isaiah viii. 19."
This sounds sadly on our ears in the nineteenth century; nevertheless, the universal credence such malpractices obtained at the time, makes the tale a probable one. From the king himself to the humblest commoner
, no one doubted the power and malice of the so-called witches ; and many an unhappy woman was barbarously murdered, having been condemned of a crime which was impossible of occurrence.
THE CONSPIRACY OF THE LADIES LAKE
AND DE ROOS.
Sir William RYTHRE, of London, knighted by Queen Elizabeth, was father of Mary, his only child and heiress, who became the wife of Sir Thomas Lake, afterwards Principal Secretary of State to King James I.
Lady Lake, it would appear, inherited an immense fortune, and was possessed of singular fascinations of manner, and personal attractions of no ordinary description; whilst her husband, Sir Thomas Lake, was universally considered to be inferior to no gentleman of the day, either in ability or accomplishments. Their daughter, Elizabeth, even excelled her mother in beauty, whilst her mind, bold, original, and capacious, received all the cultivation derivable from the concurrence of wealth, opportunity, and an insatiable desire for selfimprovement. Yet all these advantages, seldom, indeed, existing separately, and so very rarely united, were completely counterbalanced by a misconception, which, having received admission into her mind, gradually effected such a modification in the exercise of its faculties, as caused it eventually to convert every incident, circumstance, and occurrence, into proofs of the delusion—the infatuation—under whose vile despotisms it laboured ;-an infatuation which, ultimately, proceeded to the adoption of measures the most odious in con