the samlesbury witches


The trials of the Pendle Witches in 1612 are among the most famous witch trials in English history, and some of the best recorded of the 17th century. The twelve accused lived in the area around Pendle Hill in Lancashire, and were charged with the murders of ten people by the use of witchcraft.

Their names were:

  • Elizabeth Southerns, alias Demdike
  • Elizabeth Device daughter of Demdike
  • James Device son of Elizabeth Device
  • Alison Device daughter of Elizabeth Device
  • Anne Whittle alias Chattox
  • Anne Redferne daughter of Chattox
  • Alice Nutter
  • Jane Bulcock
  • John Bulcock son of Jane Bulcock
  • Katherine Hewitt alias Mould-heels
  • Isabel Robey
  • Margaret Pearson.

The accused witches lived in the area around Pendle Hill in Lancashire, a county which, at the end of the 16th century, was regarded by the authorities as a wild and lawless region: an area “fabled for its theft, violence and sexual laxity, where the church was honoured without much understanding of its doctrines by the common people

The Pendle witches were tried in a group that also included the Samlesbury witches, Jane Southworth, Jennet Brierley, and Ellen Brierley, the charges against whom included child murder and cannibalism; Margaret Pearson, the so-called Padiham witch, who was facing her third trial for witchcraft, this time for killing a horse; and Isobel Robey from Windle, accused of using witchcraft to cause sickness.