The Lancashire Witches eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 866 pages of information about The Lancashire Witches.

“Alas! my dear daughter,” he replied, “they all, excepting Nance Redferne, refuse my services, and will perish in their iniquities.”

“Then go to her, sir, I entreat of you,” she said; “she may yet be saved.  But what of Jennet?  Is she, too, to die?”

“No,” replied the divine; “being evidence against her relatives, her life is spared.”

“Heaven grant she do no more mischief!” exclaimed Alice Nutter.

She then submitted herself to the executioner’s assistants, and was led forth.  On issuing into the open air a change came over her, and such an exceeding faintness that she had to be supported.  She was led towards the stake in this state; but she grew fainter and fainter, and at last fell back in the arms of the men that supported her.  Still they carried her on.  When the executioner put out his hand to receive her from his aids, she was found to be quite dead.  Nevertheless, he tied her to the stake, and her body was consumed.  Hundreds of spectators beheld those terrible fires, and exulted in the torments of the miserable sufferers.  Their shrieks and blasphemies were terrific, and the place resembled a hell upon earth.

Jennet escaped, to the dismay of Master Potts, who feared she would wreak her threatened vengeance upon him.  And, indeed, he did suffer from aches and cramps, which he attributed to her; but which were more reasonably supposed to be owing to rheum caught in the marshes of Pendle Forest.  He had, however, the pleasure of assisting at her execution, when some years afterwards retributive justice overtook her.

Jennet was the last of the Lancashire Witches.  Ever since then witchcraft has taken a new form with the ladies of the county—­though their fascination and spells are as potent as ever.  Few can now escape them,—­few desire to do so.  But to all who are afraid of a bright eye and a blooming cheek, and who desire to adhere to a bachelor’s condition—­to such I should say, “BEWARE OF THE LANCASHIRE WITCHES!”




[Footnote 1:  A similar eruption occurred at Pendle Hill in August, 1669, and has been described by Mr. Charles Townley, in a letter cited by Dr. Whitaker in his excellent “History of Whalley.”  Other and more formidable eruptions had taken place previously, occasioning much damage to the country.  The cause of the phenomenon is thus explained by Mr. Townley:  “The colour of the water, its coming down to the place where it breaks forth between the rock and the earth, with that other particular of its bringing nothing along but stones and earth, are evident signs that it hath not its origin from the very bowels of the mountain; but that it is only rain water coloured first in the moss-pits, of which the top of the hill, being a great and considerable plain, is full, shrunk down into some receptacle fit to contain it, until at last by its weight, or some other cause, it finds a passage to the sides of the hill, and then away between the rock and swarth, until it break the latter and violently rush out.”]

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The Lancashire Witches from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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