THE Pendle Witches:





Pendle Witch







18th March

Alizon Device meets peddler John Law, on Keighley Road, Colne, who suffers a stroke after the confrontation and is taken to what was probably the Greyhound Inn in Market Street (demolished around 1790) where Alison, obviously shaken by the events, looked in on him before continuing on her way to Trawden.


21st March

John Law’s son, Abraham Law, (living at Halifax) receives a letter informing him of his father’s condition.


29th March

Abraham Law  arrives in Colne to visit his father before going to Malkin Tower to take Alison and lead her to Colne to confront his sick father – where she confesses to using witchcraft to strike him down.


30th March

Magistrate Roger Nowell, of Read Hall, examines Alison at Read. After she admits to having a familiar, in the shape of a black dog, Nowell decides there is sufficient evidence to hold Alison.


2nd April

Alison has accused her grandmother, Elizabeth Southern (Demdike) and Anne Whittle (Chattox) of practising witchcraft and they are examined at Ashlar House in Fence by Nowell. Also present are John Nutter, Margaret Crook (nee Nutter) and James Robinson. Accusations of witchcraft fly thick and fast and more local people are brought into the fray.


4th April

Ann Whittle (Chattox), Anne Redfearn (daughter of Chattox) and Alison Device are packed off to the Well Tower at Lancaster Castle to await trial in the coming August.


6th April

Jennet Preston is tried at York Assizes after being accused by Thomas Lister (of Westby Hall, Gisburn) of killing a child of the Dodgeson family in the Gisburn area. She is acquitted.


10th April

Good Friday: Pendle JP Roger Nowell hears from his constable, Henry Hargreaves of Newchurch-in-Pendle, that some twenty witches held a “diabolical” meeting at Malkin Tower.


27th April

Roger Nowell and his fellow Justice, Nicholas Bannister of Altham, are again at Ashalr House, this time to examine the Device family of Elizabeth and her children, James and Jennet. Another bout of apparent confession, recrimination and accusation breaks out – James and Jennet spill the beans about their party at Malkin Tower. The fate of many of those they insist were there is now  sealed.



Elizabeth Southern dies in the dungeon of the Well Tower at Lancaster Jail while on remand. She died never have been convicted of witchcraft.


27th July

Jennet Preston is tried at York, on a charge of having bewitched to death Thomas Lister, of Westby Hall. She is found guilty and sentenced to death by the same judges who would later try the Pendle accused.


18th August

Elizabeth and James Device, along with Anne Whittle, are found guilty at the Lancaster Assizes. Ann Whittle’s daughter, Ann Redfearn, is found not guilty of murdering Robert Nutter of Greenhead.


19th August

Ann Redfearn is tried for the murder of Robert Nutter’s father, Christopher Nutter of Greenhead, and this time is found guilty. Alison Device, Margaret Pearson, John and Jane Bulcock, Isabell Roby, Alice Nutter and Katherine Hewitt are all found guilty.


20th August

Those condemned and executed at a public hanging on Gallows Hill in Lancaster were;


Anne Whittle (Old Chattox) of West Close in Pendle.


Ann Redfearn of West Close, daughter of Anne Whittle.


Elizabeth Device of Malkin Tower, daughter of Elizabeth Southern.


James Device of Malkin Tower, son of Elizabeth



Alison Device of Malkin Tower, daughter of Elizabeth Device.


Alice Nutter of  Crowtrees, Roughlee.


Katherine Hewitt wife of John Hewitt, a clothier of Colne.


Jane Bulcock of Moss End Farm (either Newchurch-in-Pendle or Barley-with-Wheatley Booth). Former widow of  Alice Nutter’s brother-in-Law.


John Bulcock of Moss End Farm (son of Jane Bulcock).


Isobell Robey of Windle, St. Helens. She had been dragged into the fray by her local JP, Thomas Gerard.

Ashlar House , Fence-in-Pendle


In 1612 the property (built by the Grimshaws of West Close in the 16th c.) belonged to Thomas Walmsley.


Magistrate Roger Nowell used the house to interrogate some of the 1612 accused.


The porch is the only part of the house that survives from 1612.


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