The Foxearth and District Local History Society

The Hysterical Hystorian

For occasional articles, snippets and announcements by the Resident Historians. (Andrew Clarke and GH) These articles are presented in date order, but if you explore the back-catalogue, you may find much of interest. Historical information doesn't really go out of date! Any member of the F&DLHS may add an entry or make a comment to an existing entry once they have got their userID and password from the Webmaster.

If you'd like to publish any interesting material about the history of East Anglia on the site, then please send an email to the Resident Historians at Andrew.Clarke@Foxearth.org.uk and we'll add it.

Family Historians have their own area on the site, so look there if your main interest is in tracing your family history.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Ridgewell Witch

In case anyone thinks that belief in witchcraft had died out by the Nineteenth Century, here is an account from March 3rd 1859 of a miraculous cure of a Ridgewell girl who had been bewitched.

Ridgewell.
The belief is that witchcraft holds it's ground firmly, on Saturday last the 26th,, the quietude of this parish was upset by the appearance of a young female, the daughter of a labourer, who was walking about the village in the best of health after being ill for several weeks when she was taken at times in raving fits so that it takes three or four persons to keep her in bed, two or three physicians failed to find the cause of her illness.
The girl's father was recommended to have recourse to a supernatural agency, he was to procure a quantity of large pins, some common salt, some of the girl's urine, and put them in a bottle, get some thatch from the house that lay over the sleeping chamber of the old woman that was suspected of bewitching the girl and burn it and place the bottle in the flames, these the parent tried and according to the directions he fastened the door by nailing it up and stood sentry with a bill hook in one hand and a hammer in the other for it is said if the witch comes in the operator must not speak or the spell will be broken, the bottle continued in the fire until it exploded, no sooner this was done, the girl arose from her bed perfectly cured and went to the public house the same night with her father miraculously cured. It is the opinion of many that the last few days being fine helped the spell.

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