Burnley-based brewery Moorhouses launches official campaign to pardon the Pendle Witches

Burnley-based brewery Moorhouses launches official campaign to pardon the Pendle Witches

WITCH COUNTRY Sabden, one of the villages linked with witchcraft

CAMPAIGN David Grant

THE GALLOWS Witches were hanged in the shadow of Lancaster Castle

First published in Sabden Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by

A CAMPAIGN has been launched to officially pardon the Pendle Witches.

Burnley-based brewery Moorhouses is launching a petition to clear the nine women and one man hanged following their trial at Lancaster Castle in 1612.

David Grant, managing director at the brewery, said the group should be pardoned to coincide with this year’s 400th anniversary of the trial.

And the campaign has been backed by Pendle Witches expert Simon Entwistle, who conducts guided walks around Pendle Hill focusing on the history of the witches.

“If it is ever going to happen then this is the year to do it,” said Mr Grant.

Two poverty stricken families, who were led by two old women Chattox and Demdike, were at the centre of the trial, which begun when Alizon Device, Demdike’s granddaughter, confessed to witchcraft after cursing a pedlar.

The trial was held after 17 people died mysteriously in the villages around Pendle Hill.

Mr Grant said that he believed the 10 people were made an example of and should be pardoned.

He said: “Having read a lot about the trial and the history I think they were made an example of, I think they were just herbalists.

“They were convicted on the evidence of a young girl. The King at the time was keen to come down on what he perceived as witches.

It is said that King James 1, the King at the time, was obsessed with witchcraft and many local magistrates would find witches guilty on flimsy evidence to find favour with him.

Mr Entwistle said: “I am delighted to be involved with the campaign. The story of the Pendle Witches is a fascinating story.

“I think the guilty party are more the prosecution and King James I, who was paranoid about witches. The local magistrates wanted to curry favour with the king.

“Some people admitted to witchcraft but there were also many innocent people dragged in just to make up the numbers.”

The legend of the Pendle Witches has spawned its own tourism industry and attracts many visitors to areas including Pendle Hill, Barley, Roughlee and Newchurch-in-Pendle.

Mr Entwistle said: “I find it a real travesty of justice. The history of the Pendle Witches brings in millions of pounds in tourism to East Lancashire.

"I regularly conduct tours with Asian tourists who know an awful lot about the witches and who spend lots of money over here.

“In my view it is the prosecution that was guilty of murder here.”

If it is launched an online Government petition would require 100,000 signatures for the issue to be debated in the House of Commons.

The story began on March 18, 1612, when Alizon Device was begging on the road to Colne.

A pedlar refused her some pins and she was said to have paralysed him with a curse.

Two weeks later she confessed to witchcraft and also incriminated Demdike and Chattox. Demdike confessed shortly after and a group was charged with witchcraft and sent to Lancaster Castle.

On Good Friday 1612 a party gathered at Malkin Tower, Demdike’s home, plotting to free the imprisoned women.

Investigations took place around the tower later in April and three more of the Device family, as well as Alice Nutter from Roughlee, were taken away and imprisoned.

Demdike died in prison before the trial began on August 17.

The following day 10 people were found guilty, and eight acquitted, and on August 20 they were hanged at Lancaster in front of huge crowds.

Moorhouses has a long history with the Pendle Witches and has named several of its real ales after them, such as Blond Witch and Pendle Witch.

Mr Grant said: “We are putting it all together now, we need to be up and running by April as that is when they were arrested.

“We are going to test out the water first. It is not a campaign to upset people and we are mindful of family that is still around.

“We are putting an argument together for the campaign but it depends on public feeling.

“We don’t know what the reaction will be until we get it in the public domain and on social networks.”

In 2004 a successful campaign was launched to get pardons for 81 women executed in the Prestonpans area of Scotland during the witch trials of the 16th and 17th centuries.

The crime of being a witch was abolished by the 1735 Witchcraft Act but did not grant posthumous pardons.

About 400 people were executed in England following accusations of witchcraft and about 2,000 in Scotland.

CASE AGAINST

Why the Pendle Witches might have been guilty
A number of the witches, such as Alizon Device, seem to have genuinely believed in their own guilt. They actually confessed before, or during, the trial.

Jennet Device, nine, was a key witness for the prosecution. She identified those who attended a significant meeting at Malkin Tower on Good Friday, and also gave evidence against her mother, brother and sister.

Many of the allegations also resulted from accusations made by the Demdike and Chattox families against each other.

CASE FOR

Why the Pendle Witches mighthave been innocent
The witches were convicted during a time obsessed with the pursuit and punishment of witchcraft, with King James I particularly obsessed.
Because of the King’s obsession, many magistrates were keen to find favour with him and found witches guilty.
Eighty-one witches convicted in the Scottish city of Prestonpans, near Edinburgh, in the 16th and 17th centuries, were pardoned in 2004.
The pardons noted that witches’ examinations were “conducted in an atmosphere of terror” and “confessions were extracted by hideous torture”.

Comments (31)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

says...

  • Score: 0

says...

  • Score: 0

says...

  • Score: 0

says...

  • Score: 0

11:19am Tue 24 Jan 12

ossybsting says...

ha ha ha ha i'll get you my pretty,.............
.and your little dog to. {in a witches voice}
ha ha ha ha i'll get you my pretty,............. .and your little dog to. {in a witches voice} ossybsting
  • Score: 0

11:42am Tue 24 Jan 12

happycyclist says...

Clever marketing.
Clever marketing. happycyclist
  • Score: 0

11:46am Tue 24 Jan 12

DaveBurnley says...

happycyclist wrote:
Clever marketing.
And what would be the point of a pardon, would some descendent suddenly appear to claim compensation?
[quote][p][bold]happycyclist[/bold] wrote: Clever marketing.[/p][/quote]And what would be the point of a pardon, would some descendent suddenly appear to claim compensation? DaveBurnley
  • Score: 0

11:46am Tue 24 Jan 12

PendleWitch01 says...

WHATS THE POINT?...
WHATS THE POINT?... PendleWitch01
  • Score: 0

11:47am Tue 24 Jan 12

DaveBurnley says...

That link to happycyclist's post shouldn't have been there.
That link to happycyclist's post shouldn't have been there. DaveBurnley
  • Score: 0

12:45pm Tue 24 Jan 12

happycyclist says...

PendleWitch01 wrote:
WHATS THE POINT?...
To get people talking about Moorhouse's beer and the Pendle witches. Which is no bad thing for Moorhouse's or the local economy.

(and Moorhouse's still has the apostrophe)
[quote][p][bold]PendleWitch01[/bold] wrote: WHATS THE POINT?...[/p][/quote]To get people talking about Moorhouse's beer and the Pendle witches. Which is no bad thing for Moorhouse's or the local economy. (and Moorhouse's still has the apostrophe) happycyclist
  • Score: 0

12:54pm Tue 24 Jan 12

BluMonday says...

Was nice to see Moorhouse's beer in my neck of the woods at Christmas time (Staffordshire). Reminded me of home. Good to know that a Burnley company is doing well and pushing itself with things like this.
Was nice to see Moorhouse's beer in my neck of the woods at Christmas time (Staffordshire). Reminded me of home. Good to know that a Burnley company is doing well and pushing itself with things like this. BluMonday
  • Score: 0

1:11pm Tue 24 Jan 12

born n bred blue says...

wow all this free publicity worth
wow all this free publicity worth born n bred blue
  • Score: 0

1:13pm Tue 24 Jan 12

MikeBFC says...

"She turned me into a Newt!"
"A Newt?"











I got better.....
"She turned me into a Newt!" "A Newt?" I got better..... MikeBFC
  • Score: 0

1:22pm Tue 24 Jan 12

happycyclist says...

BluMonday wrote:
Was nice to see Moorhouse's beer in my neck of the woods at Christmas time (Staffordshire). Reminded me of home. Good to know that a Burnley company is doing well and pushing itself with things like this.
It's good to see Moorhouse's anywhere.
[quote][p][bold]BluMonday[/bold] wrote: Was nice to see Moorhouse's beer in my neck of the woods at Christmas time (Staffordshire). Reminded me of home. Good to know that a Burnley company is doing well and pushing itself with things like this.[/p][/quote]It's good to see Moorhouse's anywhere. happycyclist
  • Score: 0

1:54pm Tue 24 Jan 12

paperboy70 says...

PR stunt... Moorhouses probably couldn't give a monkey's about whether or not they are pardoned, just interested in column inches.
PR stunt... Moorhouses probably couldn't give a monkey's about whether or not they are pardoned, just interested in column inches. paperboy70
  • Score: 0

1:54pm Tue 24 Jan 12

hugofakenham says...

Better think this one through ..........what will they re-christen Pendle Witch bitter after this ?
Suggest "Unfairly persecuted and executed, now found innocent, would-be-witches brew from Pendle"
Doesn't quite have the same ring to it, what !
And how will Witches Galore at Newchurch cope with a less provocative name selling non-witch goods.
Whatever will the police do on All Hallows Eve if Pendle Hill has nowt to do with witches ?
How would I spend my time if I didn't have this crap to comment on ??!!
Better think this one through ..........what will they re-christen Pendle Witch bitter after this ? Suggest "Unfairly persecuted and executed, now found innocent, would-be-witches brew from Pendle" Doesn't quite have the same ring to it, what ! And how will Witches Galore at Newchurch cope with a less provocative name selling non-witch goods. Whatever will the police do on All Hallows Eve if Pendle Hill has nowt to do with witches ? How would I spend my time if I didn't have this crap to comment on ??!! hugofakenham
  • Score: 0

1:58pm Tue 24 Jan 12

jeze58 says...

If my memory serves me right the Pagan Federation tried this some years back and their request was refused - so the government still must believe in witchraft - the mind boggles
If my memory serves me right the Pagan Federation tried this some years back and their request was refused - so the government still must believe in witchraft - the mind boggles jeze58
  • Score: 0

2:45pm Tue 24 Jan 12

notchuffed says...

jeze58 wrote:
If my memory serves me right the Pagan Federation tried this some years back and their request was refused - so the government still must believe in witchraft - the mind boggles
The Govt sure does still believe in witchcraft amnd looking at most of the I suspect Demdike and Chattox's descendants are fully esconced there.

Typical Examples: Warlock leader Ed Milliband, former Foreign Sec Margaret Beckett (now there's two good black magic names). Head Spellbinder and Lord of the Darkness Mandelson.
Hobgoblins Huhne and Gove. Chief Pie Destructor Pickles.

Lady of all Darkness and Farcical Happenings: Baroness Warsi.
Chief Wizard of Idiotic Finances: Vince Cable. Head Shape and Self Opinionatedness: Clegg.
The Mothers of All Rubber Mouthers Ahrman & Cooper.

It's a right Coven - "We're all Doomed!!!!!"

Question: Why do they still pressit, perpsist, perspisist, persist (Oh sugar they got one of their "Mis-spells" on me
[quote][p][bold]jeze58[/bold] wrote: If my memory serves me right the Pagan Federation tried this some years back and their request was refused - so the government still must believe in witchraft - the mind boggles[/p][/quote]The Govt sure does still believe in witchcraft amnd looking at most of the I suspect Demdike and Chattox's descendants are fully esconced there. Typical Examples: Warlock leader Ed Milliband, former Foreign Sec Margaret Beckett (now there's two good black magic names). Head Spellbinder and Lord of the Darkness Mandelson. Hobgoblins Huhne and Gove. Chief Pie Destructor Pickles. Lady of all Darkness and Farcical Happenings: Baroness Warsi. Chief Wizard of Idiotic Finances: Vince Cable. Head Shape and Self Opinionatedness: Clegg. The Mothers of All Rubber Mouthers Ahrman & Cooper. It's a right Coven - "We're all Doomed!!!!!" Question: Why do they still pressit, perpsist, perspisist, persist (Oh sugar they got one of their "Mis-spells" on me notchuffed
  • Score: 0

6:05pm Tue 24 Jan 12

Noiticer says...

What a silly idea - a flight of fancy! Hope it is treated with the derision it deserves.
What a silly idea - a flight of fancy! Hope it is treated with the derision it deserves. Noiticer
  • Score: 0

12:01am Wed 25 Jan 12

dom jolly says...

what a strange PR stunt, 'what shall we do to boost sales then chaps'? 'i know lets seek a pardon for some slightly old hags'

get a grip moorehouse, are times really that bad?

heres a suggestion- bring down your prices then maybe, just maybe you'll make a profit
what a strange PR stunt, 'what shall we do to boost sales then chaps'? 'i know lets seek a pardon for some slightly old hags' get a grip moorehouse, are times really that bad? heres a suggestion- bring down your prices then maybe, just maybe you'll make a profit dom jolly
  • Score: 0

12:02am Wed 25 Jan 12

dom jolly says...

what a strange PR stunt, 'what shall we do to boost sales then chaps'? 'i know lets seek a pardon for some slightly old hags'

get a grip moorehouse, are times really that bad?

heres a suggestion- bring down your prices then maybe, just maybe you'll make a profit
what a strange PR stunt, 'what shall we do to boost sales then chaps'? 'i know lets seek a pardon for some slightly old hags' get a grip moorehouse, are times really that bad? heres a suggestion- bring down your prices then maybe, just maybe you'll make a profit dom jolly
  • Score: 0

3:30am Wed 25 Jan 12

Brawn59 says...

So, you're minding your own business one day and a bunch of burly folks haul you off in chains. Next things you know is you're accused of witchcraft and you have to endure thumbscrews, crushed feet and arms pulled from your sockets to confess. Not so funny is it?
So, you're minding your own business one day and a bunch of burly folks haul you off in chains. Next things you know is you're accused of witchcraft and you have to endure thumbscrews, crushed feet and arms pulled from your sockets to confess. Not so funny is it? Brawn59
  • Score: 0

3:31am Wed 25 Jan 12

Brawn59 says...

So, you're minding your own business one day and a bunch of burly folks haul you off in chains. Next things you know is you're accused of witchcraft and you have to endure thumbscrews, crushed feet and arms pulled from your sockets to confess. Not so funny is it? THEN if you're lucky they hang rather than burn you.
So, you're minding your own business one day and a bunch of burly folks haul you off in chains. Next things you know is you're accused of witchcraft and you have to endure thumbscrews, crushed feet and arms pulled from your sockets to confess. Not so funny is it? THEN if you're lucky they hang rather than burn you. Brawn59
  • Score: 0

3:33am Wed 25 Jan 12

Brawn59 says...

So, you're minding your own business one day and a bunch of burly folks haul you off in chains. Next thing you know is you're accused of witchcraft and you have to endure thumbscrews, crushed feet and arms pulled from your sockets to confess. Not so funny is it? THEN if you're lucky they hang rather than burn you.
So, you're minding your own business one day and a bunch of burly folks haul you off in chains. Next thing you know is you're accused of witchcraft and you have to endure thumbscrews, crushed feet and arms pulled from your sockets to confess. Not so funny is it? THEN if you're lucky they hang rather than burn you. Brawn59
  • Score: 0

5:13pm Wed 25 Jan 12

dom jolly says...

Brawn59 wrote:
So, you're minding your own business one day and a bunch of burly folks haul you off in chains. Next thing you know is you're accused of witchcraft and you have to endure thumbscrews, crushed feet and arms pulled from your sockets to confess. Not so funny is it? THEN if you're lucky they hang rather than burn you.
bet ya cant type all that over again !!!!!
[quote][p][bold]Brawn59[/bold] wrote: So, you're minding your own business one day and a bunch of burly folks haul you off in chains. Next thing you know is you're accused of witchcraft and you have to endure thumbscrews, crushed feet and arms pulled from your sockets to confess. Not so funny is it? THEN if you're lucky they hang rather than burn you.[/p][/quote]bet ya cant type all that over again !!!!! dom jolly
  • Score: 0

5:13pm Wed 25 Jan 12

dom jolly says...

Brawn59 wrote:
So, you're minding your own business one day and a bunch of burly folks haul you off in chains. Next thing you know is you're accused of witchcraft and you have to endure thumbscrews, crushed feet and arms pulled from your sockets to confess. Not so funny is it? THEN if you're lucky they hang rather than burn you.
bet ya cant type all that over again !!!!!
[quote][p][bold]Brawn59[/bold] wrote: So, you're minding your own business one day and a bunch of burly folks haul you off in chains. Next thing you know is you're accused of witchcraft and you have to endure thumbscrews, crushed feet and arms pulled from your sockets to confess. Not so funny is it? THEN if you're lucky they hang rather than burn you.[/p][/quote]bet ya cant type all that over again !!!!! dom jolly
  • Score: 0

5:13pm Wed 25 Jan 12

dom jolly says...

Brawn59 wrote:
So, you're minding your own business one day and a bunch of burly folks haul you off in chains. Next thing you know is you're accused of witchcraft and you have to endure thumbscrews, crushed feet and arms pulled from your sockets to confess. Not so funny is it? THEN if you're lucky they hang rather than burn you.
bet ya cant type all that over again !!!!!
[quote][p][bold]Brawn59[/bold] wrote: So, you're minding your own business one day and a bunch of burly folks haul you off in chains. Next thing you know is you're accused of witchcraft and you have to endure thumbscrews, crushed feet and arms pulled from your sockets to confess. Not so funny is it? THEN if you're lucky they hang rather than burn you.[/p][/quote]bet ya cant type all that over again !!!!! dom jolly
  • Score: 0

5:50pm Wed 25 Jan 12

PAGANFAIRY420 says...

I dont care if it is a PR stunt, its a good one!! I say let them finally go in peace!
I dont care if it is a PR stunt, its a good one!! I say let them finally go in peace! PAGANFAIRY420
  • Score: 0

5:52pm Thu 26 Jan 12

louderfasterlonger says...

PAGANFAIRY420 wrote:
I dont care if it is a PR stunt, its a good one!! I say let them finally go in peace!
Must be great to be a celebrity victim of the state, where is the pardon for the 7,000 people (typically) murdered by the state each year in the 18th Century........

Most of them children with no education, who's only crime was petty theft.
[quote][p][bold]PAGANFAIRY420[/bold] wrote: I dont care if it is a PR stunt, its a good one!! I say let them finally go in peace![/p][/quote]Must be great to be a celebrity victim of the state, where is the pardon for the 7,000 people (typically) murdered by the state each year in the 18th Century........ Most of them children with no education, who's only crime was petty theft. louderfasterlonger
  • Score: 0

9:34pm Thu 26 Jan 12

dom jolly says...

TBH i suspect the witches wont be too bothered about being pardoned.

i'm still waiting for mine for crimes against fashion :)
TBH i suspect the witches wont be too bothered about being pardoned. i'm still waiting for mine for crimes against fashion :) dom jolly
  • Score: 0

1:03am Fri 27 Jan 12

dawnhilton says...

Oh if the ignorant knew their past history with the witches, the churches and the hills..........Go on Moorehouse, I hope they do get a pardon. Many were innocent good heart-ed women protecting the cloth in times of need. Most were used as escape goatu's..........Did you know that the masons went on and became the Mormons and went off to Salt Lake City? Nah........well you should.

You should all take a closer look at the hills around you and open your eyes. Their are roads that lead further than the witch tail on this one.
Oh if the ignorant knew their past history with the witches, the churches and the hills..........Go on Moorehouse, I hope they do get a pardon. Many were innocent good heart-ed women protecting the cloth in times of need. Most were used as escape goatu's..........Did you know that the masons went on and became the Mormons and went off to Salt Lake City? Nah........well you should. You should all take a closer look at the hills around you and open your eyes. Their are roads that lead further than the witch tail on this one. dawnhilton
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree