Pendle Witches:

Publication History




Pendle Witch







Over the past 150 years or so a large number of publications have appeared on the subject of the Pendle and Lancashire Witches. Contemporary plays and pamphlets were produced in the 17th century but it was not until the Chetham Society published the work of Thomas Potts (The Wonderful Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster) in the 19th century that any real progress was made on the truth of the story.


In the 1840s the famous novelist, Harrison Ainsworth, published a melodramatic romance titled The Lancashire Witches and, despite the popularity of the book during the Victorian period, and well into the 20th century, this can in no way be considered to be a factual book. This is also true of the popular fiction, Mist Over Pendle (1951) by Manchester born author Robert Neill. As good a read as these works might be they are all too frequently quoted in historical research as being an accurate secondary source of information on the Pendle Witch story.


In 1957 the respected Burnley historian, Walter Bennet, began a modern approach that strove to attain the truth of the matter when he published a booklet entitled The Pendle Witches. This was followed in the same vein by Edgar Peel and Patricia Southern in their publication in 1969 of The Trials of the Lancashire Witches.


1980 saw the publication of Nelson local historian Gladys Whittaker’s Roughlee Hall - Fact and Fiction in which she offered new insights into the life of Pendle Witch, Alice Nutter, of Roughlee.


In 1995 the story began to push forward when Jonathan Lumby (former vicar of Gisburn) brought out his The Lancashire Witch Craze - here we find valuable research on the subject of Jennet Preston of Gisburn and the Pendle Witches. In 2002 Lancaster historian Robert Poole edited a series of academic papers under the collective title of The Lancashire Witches - Histories and Stories.  






In 2007 John Clayton brought out The Lancashire Witch Conspiracy - A History of Pendle Forest and the Pendle Witches. At over 300 pages of research this tome incorporated a good deal of new material never seen before. An example of this was the discovery of the baptism and marriage records of the Device family of Malkin Tower.


This invaluable evidence provides us with ages of Elizabeth Southern’s (Old Demdike) grandchildren Alice Device (known as Alison), Jennet Device (alas Seller) and James Device - we also learn that a further child was born to Demdike’s daughter, Elizabeth Device, but this child, named Henry, died at the age of four.




CHECK OUT John Clayton’s books on the Pendle Witches at BARROWFORD PRESS AND AMAZON


                    The titles are available at online discount prices in

                    Hard copy and KINDLE e-book format.

Ainsworth, A.  The Lancashire Witches - A Romance of Pendle Forest (Novel First published 1854)


Clayton, J.  The Lancashire Witch Conspiracy - A History of Pendle Forest and the Pendle Witch Trials    Barrowford Press  2007   ISBN  978-0-9553821-2-3


Clayton, J.  The Pendle Witch Fourth Centenary Handbook   Barrowford Press 2012

ISBN 978-0-9553821-9-2


Potts, T.  Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster.  Chetham Society. First published 1613 - republished 1845.


Potts, T.  Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster.  Carnegie Publishing 2003 ISBN 1-85936-100-5


Lumby, J.  The Lancashire Witch Craze.  Carnegie Publishing 1995  ISBN 1-85936-025-4


Poole, R (Ed.)  The Lancashire Witches - Histories and Stories.  Manchester University Press 2002.  ISBN 0-7190-6204-7


Peel, E with Southern, P. The Trials of the Lancashire Witches - A Study of Seventeenth-Century Witchcraft.  David & Charles. 1972  ISBN  0-7153-4665-z


Whittaker, G.  Roughlee Hall - Fact and Fiction.  Marsden Antiquarians 1980  ISBN  0-946298-02-5






Pendle Witch publication history
Fact and Fiction
Pendle Witch history timeline
Pendle Witch Charms
Pendle Witch Story
Pendle Witch History Blog
Pendle Witch History Blog





A comprehensive illustrated account of the Pendle boy witch-finder who caused a massive witch scare in the year 1634.


Over sixty people were rounded up across East Lancashire and nineteen of these unfortunates (many from the Pendle Forest area) were tried at Lancaster.


The people and places within the story are uncovered through historical research to provide an account of the 1634 Witch Trials as never seen before.


Available in paperback here and at from mid-November at only £9.99.

Further to in-depth research carried out by the author for the BBC production, The Pendle Witch Child John Clayton published his second title on the subject -


The Pendle Witch Fourth Centenary Handbook - Archaeology and History.


This book follows on from The Lancashire Witch Conspiracy and has been described as the definitive text on the subject of the 1612 Pendle Witch Trials.


A great deal of new evidence for the site of Malkin Tower is offered to show that this enigmatic site was not located in Blacko, as was commonly believed, and was not ‘The Witch Cottage’ below Black Moss reservoir as the media would have it !!!