Witches of Warboys

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The Witches of Warboys – 1592

Popular idea of the general meeting of witchesThe second wife of sir Henry Cromwell of Hitchenbrook Huntingdonshire died of a lingering illness about July [1592]; this was ascribed to witchcraft.  John Samwell, his wife Alice, and their daughter Agnes, inhabitants of Warboys, were charged with having killed lady Cromwell, and were imprisoned.  The mother who was old and decrepit, was so tortured in prison, that at last she confessed every thing that was dictated to her, and she was tried in April 1593 before Mr Justice Fenner and convicted of bewitching not only lady Cromwell, but also many other persons.  She was then hanged, as were also her husband and her daughter.  Their goods, of the value of £40, were forfeited to sir Henry as lord of the manor of Warboys, but he gave them to the corporation of Huntingdon, on condition that they procured from Queens’ college Cambridge a doctor or bachelor of divinity to preach every year on Ladyday a sermon against the sin of witchcraft in one of the churches of Huntingdon, and distributed 10s. yearly to the poor. (Cooper, Ath. ii 367, 368.).  Sir Henry and lady Cromwell were buried in All Saints church Huntingdon (Carruther’s Hunt. 262).

The whole account is to be found in a book entitled ‘The most strange and admirable discoverie of the three witches of  Warboys, arraigned, convicted, and executed at the last assizes at Huntingdon for the bewitching of the five daughters of Robert Throckmorton, esquire, and divers other persons, with sundrie Divellish and grievous Torments: and also for the Bewitching to Death of the Lady Crumwell, the like has not been heard of in this age.’

Excerpt from The Coins, Tokens and Medals by The Cambridge Antiquarian Society – 1871



Further Reading & External Links

Witches of Warboys on Wikipedia

Witches of Warboys on Google Books

Witches of Warboys on Information Britain

iTunesU – FREE Video – Early Modern England: Politics, Religion and Society under the Tudors and Stuarts – 14 – Witchcraft and Magic