The Largest Single Witch Trial in England 1645
Up until 1645, the largest Witch trial in England, and arguably the most well-known case, had been the Pendle trial in 1612.
But in 1645, the notorious Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins, was responsible for the investigation of approximately 200 suspects. Hopkins had already been working in Essex, being paid by local parishes to hunt down suspected Witches. He had now travelled to Suffolk to continue his work, in a time referred to as the Suffolk Witch Craze. It is reported that Hopkins was paid around £21 by Ipswich for his work there, which was a lot of money for the time.
A pamphlet printed in 1645 entitled The True Relation of the Araignment of Eighteene Witches lists details of the cases. Although it is argued that it contains some historical inaccuracies. Some of the allegations and confessions recorded in this pamphlet included:
Bewitching to death neighbours, gentry and livestock.
Raising storms and wrecking ships.
The devil appearing to them in different forms and asking them to do his bidding.
Making deals with the Devil for personal gain.
Putting a bay over the fire.
Frequenting with familiars and imps.
This trial lead to the executions of 18 people, 16 women and 2 men at the gallows at Bury St. Edmunds.
Anne Alderman, Rebecca Morris, Mary Bacon, Mary Clowes, Sarah Spindler, Jane Linstead, Mary Everard, Mary Fuller, Susan Manners, Jane Rivet, Mary Skipper, Mary Smith, Margery Sparham, Katherine Tooly, Anne Leech, Anne Wright, Thomas Everard and John Lowes the Victor of Brandeston