The Confession of James Device

27th April, 1612 (as recorded by Thomas Pott's in Discovery of Witches, 1613).

He sayth, that upon Sheare [Maundy] Thursday was two years, his grand-mother Elizabeth Southerns, alias Demdike, did bid him go to the church to receive the communion (the next day after being Good Friday) and then not to eat the bread the minister gave him, but to bring it and deliver it to such a thing as should meet him in his way homewards: notwithstanding her persuasions, he did eat the bread: and so in his coming homeward some forty roodes [about 300 yards] off the said church, there met he, and asked him whether he had brought the bread that his grand-mother had bidden him, or no?

Whereupon he answered, he had not: and thereupon the said thing threatened to pull him in pieces, and so he thereupon marked himself to god, and so the said thing vanished out of this his sight.

James' Familiar named 'Dandy'

And within some four days after that, there appeared in his sight, hard by the Newchurch in Pendle, a thing like unto a brown dog, who asked him to give him his soul, and he should be revenged of any whom he would: whereunto he answered, that his soul was not his to give, but was his saviour Jesus Christ's, but as much as was in him to give, he was contented he should have it.

And within two or three days after, he went to the Carr Hall, and upon some speeches betwixt Mistress Towneley and he; she charging him and his said mother [Elizabeth Device], to have stolen some turves [turf] of hers, bade him pack the doors: and withal as he went forth of the door, the said Mistress Towneley gave him a knock between the shoulders:

And about a day or two after that, there appeared unto him in his way, a thing like unto a black dog, who put him in mind of the said Mistress Towneley's falling out with him; who bad him make a picture of clay, like unto the said Mistress Towneley: and that he with the help of his spirit (who then ever after bid him to call it Dandy) would kill or destroy the said Mistress Towneley: and so the said dog vanished out of his sight.

Killing of Elizabeth Towneley

And the next morning after, he took clay, and made a picture of the said Mistress Towneley, and dried it the same night by the fire: and within a day after, he began to crumble the said picture, every day some, for the space of a week: and within two days after all was crumbled away; the said Mistress Towneley died.

Killing of John Duckworth

And he further sayth, that in lent last one John Duckworth of the Laund, promised him an old shirt: and within a fortnight after, he went to the said Duckworth's house, and demanded the said old shirt; but the said Duckworth denied him thereof.

And going out of the said house, the said spirit Dandy appeared unto him, and said, thou didst touch the said Duckworth, whereunto he answered, 'he did not touch him': 'yes' (said the spirit again) 'thou didst touch him', and therefore I have power of him: whereupon he joined with the said spirit, and then wished the said spirit to kill the said Duckworth: and within one week, then next after, Duckuworth died.

Strange Occurrences at Malkin Tower

The said James Device sayth, that about a month ago, as he was coming towards his mother's house, and at day-gate [dawn] of the same night, he met a brown dog coming from his grand-mothers house, about ten roodes [about 80 yards] distant from the same house: and about two or three nights after, that he heard a voice of a great number of children screiking and crying pitifully, about day-light gate; and likewise, about ten roodes distant of his said grand-mothers house.

And about five nights then next following, presently after daylight, within twenty roodes [about 150 yards] of the said Elizabeth Southern's house, he heard a foul yelling like unto a great number of cats: but what they were, he cannot tell.

And he further sayth, that about three nights after that about midnight of the same, there came a thing, and lay upon him very heavily about an hour, and went then from him out of his chamber window, coloured; black, and about the bigness of a hare or cat.

Bewitching a Child of Henry Bullcock

And he further sayth [James Device], that about St. Peter's day last, one Henry Bullock came to the said Elizabeth Southerns house, and said, that her grand-child Alison Device, had bewitched a child of his, and desired her that she would go with him to his house; which accordingly she did: and there upon she the said Alison fell down on her knees, and asked the said Bullock forgiveness, and confessed to him, that she had bewitched the said child, as he heard his said sister confess unto him.

Stealing of Skulls by Chattox

And further sayth, that twelve years ago, the said Anne Chattox at a burial at Newchurch in Pendle, did take three scalpes [skulls] of people, which had been buried, and then cast out of a grave, as she the said Chattox told him; and took eight teeth out of the said scalpes, whereof she kept four to her self, and gave other four to the said Demdike, his grand-mother: which four teeth now showed to him, are the four teeth that the said Chattox gave to his said grand-mother, as aforesaid;

Killing of Henry Mitton

The said James Device sayth upon his oath, that he heard his grand-mother say, about a year ago, that his mother, called Elizabeth Device, and his grand-mother, and the wife of Richard Nutter (Alice Nutter), of the Roughlee aforesaid, had killed one Henry Mitton, of the Roughlee aforesaid, by witchcraft.

The reason wherefore he was so killed, was for that his said grandmother had asked the said Mitton a penny: and he denying her thereof; thereupon she procured his death as aforesaid.

Elizabeth Device's Familiar named 'Ball'

And he, James Device also sayth, that about three years ago, he being in his grand-mothers house, with his said mother [Elizabeth Device]; there came a thing in shape of a brown dog, which his mother called Ball, who spake to his mother, in the sight and hearing of him, and bad her make a picture of clay like unto John Robinson, alias Swyer, and dried it hard, and then crumble it by little and little; and as the said picture should crumble or mull away, so should the said John Robinson alias Swyer his body decay and wear away.

Killing of John Robinson

And within two or three days after, the picture shall so all be wasted, and mulled away; so then the said John Robinson should die presently.

Upon the agreement betwixt the said dog and his mother; the said dog suddenly vanished out of his sight. And the next day, he saw his said mother take clay at the west-end of her said house, and make a picture of it after the said Robinson, and brought into her house, and dried it some two days: and about two days after the drying thereof, his said mother fell on crumbling the said picture of clay, every day some, for some three weeks together; and within two days after all was crumbled or mulled away, the said John Robinson died.

James Device upon his oath sayth, that about two years ago, he saw three pictures of clay, of half a yard long, at the end of Redferne's house, which Redferne had one of the pictures in his hand, Marie his daughter had another in her hand, and the said Redferne's wife (Anne Redferne the witch), now prisoner at Lancaster, had an other picture in her hand, which picture she the said Redferne's wife, was then crumbling, but whose pictures they were, he cannot tell.

A Hare Spitting Fire

And at his returning back again, some ten roods off them there appeared unto him a thing like a hare, which spit fire at him.

The Meeting of Witches at Malkin Tower

And being examined, James Device further sayth, that upon Sheare [Maundy] Thursday last, in the evening, he stole a wether [sheep] from John Robinson of Barley, and brought it to his grand-mothers house, old Demdike, and there killed it: and that upon the day following, being Good Friday, about twelve of the clock in the day time, there dined in his mothers house a number of persons, whereof three were men, and the rest women; and that they met there for three causes following:

I. The first was, for the naming of the spirit which Alison Device, now prisoner at Lancaster, had, but did not name him, because she was not there.

II. The second cause was, for the delivery of his said grand-mother; his said sister Alison; the said Anne Chattox, and her daughter Redferne; killing the gaoler at Lancaster; and before the next assizes to blow up the castle there, to the end the aforesaid persons might by that means make an escape and get away: all which he then heard them confer of.

III. And the third cause was, for that there was a woman dwelling in Gisburn parish, who came into his said grandmothers house, who there came and craved assistance of the rest of them that were then there, for the killing of master Lister of Westby, because (as she then said) he had borne malice unto her, and had thought to have put her away at the last assizes at York, but could not: and he heard the said woman say, that her power was not strong enough to do it herself, being now less then before time it had been. And also, that the said Jennet Preston had a spirit with her like unto a white foal, with a black spot in the forehead.

And he also sayth, that the names of the said witches as were on Good Friday at his said grandmothers house, and now his own mother's, for so many of them as he did know, were these, viz.

The wife of Hugh Hargreaves of Barley; The wife of Christopher Bulcock of the Moss End, and John her son; the mother of Myles Nutter; Elizabeth, the wife of Christopher Hargreaves, of Thurniholme; Christopher Howgate, and Eizabeth his wife; Alice Gray of Colne, and one Mould-heels wife, of the same: and him, and his mother.

Killing of Ann Folds

And he also sayth, that they were witches; and that the names of the said witches, that were there, for so many of them as he did know, were amongst others Katherine Hewitt, wife of John Hewitt, alias Mould-heels, of Colne, in the county of Lancaster clothier; and that the said witch, called Katherine Hewitt, alias Mould-heels, and one Alice Gray, did confess amongst the said witches at their meeting at Malkin Tower aforesaid, that they had killed Folds wife's child, called Ann Folds, of Colne: and also said, that they had then in hanck a child of Michael Hartley's of Colne.

Bewitching of Jennet Deyne

And further he sayth, that the said John Bulcock and Jane his said mother, did confess upon Good Friday last, at the said Malkin Tower, in the hearing of him, that they had bewitched, at the new-field edge in Yorkshire, a woman called Jennet, wife of John Deyne, besides, her reason; and the said woman's name so bewitched, he did not hear them speak of.

And he also sayth, that the names of the said witches as were on Good Friday at his said grandmothers house, and now his own mother's, for so many of them as he did know, were these, viz. The wife of Hugh Hargreaves of Barley; the wife of Christopher Bulcock of the Moss End, and John her son; the mother of Myles Nutter; Elizabeth, the wife of Christopher Hargreaves, of Thurniholme; Christopher Howgate, and Elizabeth his wife; Alice Gray of Colne, and one Mould-heels wife, of the same: and himself, and his mother.

And James Device further sayth, that all the said witches went out of the said house in their own shapes and likenesses. And they all, by that they were forth of the doors, were gotten on horseback, like unto foals, some of one colour, some of another; and [Jennet] Preston's wife was the last: and when she got on horseback, they all presently vanished out of his sight.

And before their said parting away, they all appointed to meet at the said Preston's wives house that day twelve months; at which time the said Preston's wife promised to make them a great feast. And if they had occasion to meet in the mean time, then should warning be given, that they all should meet upon Romleyes moor.

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The Pendle Witch Trial of 1612 The Witches of Pendle Forest Witches Executed at Lancaster Witchcraft in the 19th Century The Confession of Alison Device The Confession of Demdike The Confession of Chattox The Confession of James Device