Castle cauldron boiling
Old Chattox caterwauling
Deep in dungeon desperate days
Witches wasting away.
John Law was cursed and died
Whilst on the open road
His crime to scorn Alison Device
And her familiar spirit dog.
Chattox turned the milk sour
Confessed to killing Robert Nutter
All ten witches tried at the assize
In the court at the castle of Lancaster
Death by hanging
We remember forever.
©Alison Jean Hankinson
This was for d’Verse we were asked to use verbs and a landscape that spoke to us. Today I was at Lancaster castle meeting up with a friend who is visiting from NZ. This castle is an important part of Lancaster’s landscape and has existed in some shape and form for more than 1000 years. It is the home of the assizes and courts and is part of the Royal Duchy of Lancaster. One of the most famous trials was that of the Pendle witches in 1612, where 10 were found guilty and hanged. The stone was part of a series commissioned on the 400th anniversary to commemorate the witches story. There is a tercet on each stone and they are located around the city.
At the trial the evidence of Jennet Device who was only 9 years old, is believed to have set the precedent for using children as witnesses in witch trials and this was to have an impact as far afield as Salem.