1604 Witches

“In this monthe [September 1604] vz the 4 Daie was kept heare a generall Gaole
Delivery Baron Savile being Judge & Mr John Paler Clarke of
the assise at which time weare arreayned for witchcraft divers both
men and women and 5 onely founde Guyltie who had Judgement
and weare executed on Satturdaie after vz Roger Beadneye
John Willerby Marie Holland Jennet Wressell alias Beamo[n]t
and Jennet Butler the afforenamed Willerby confessing many
thing and at his deathe accusing divers for witchcraft at the
same time one Henri Oliver was condemned for horstealing
but had no Judgment but was reprived and was ordered
by the Judg to be topman which he was accordingly.”
[KHRO Bench Book Four f.359 (this week called HHC C BRB/2)]

This seems to have been quite an event.

It was not in Elizabeth’s reign and was under the new witchcraft statute of that year.

None of the names Beadney, Willerby, Holland, Wressell, or Butler are Hull names so it seems likely that they were from Hullshire (south Haltemprice).

Topman or hangman in Hull was hardly a full time job and would have gone to anybody competent who was sufficiently in need of the extra cash. It seems that there were no volunteers this time, perhaps no-one wanted to hang these particular felons. This pardoning of a felon in order to hang other felons is not unique. I have heard that in Lancashire once no man could be found and a woman was given the job, and proved competent, although I expect that she was not paid as much as a man would have been.

The gallows in Hull were probably on what is now Adelaide street, in the royal manor of Myton, where a field was once called Gallows close.


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