Seven in Lancashire Possessions
(1595–1597)
   En glish case of possessed children and adults, involving John Dee and the Puritan minister the REVEREND JOHN DARREL. The case bears similarities to the children in the THROCKMORTON POSSESSIONS, in that the children probably faked fits in order to avoid religious studies and attending church and perhaps to gain attention. An accused witch was executed. Accounts of the case were written by Darrel and another minister who performed the EXORCISMs, George More, and were published in 1600. The Seven in Lancashire case began in 1595 in the household of Nicholas Starkie of Cleworth, Lancashire. His two children, Ann, 10, and John, 12, began having fits and convulsions. Starkie spent 200 pounds—a huge sum of money—trying to cure the children, to no avail. He consulted a priest—his wife had been a Catholic—but the priest had no instructions for exorcism. Starkie then turned to a cunning man, Edmund Hartley, and hired him at the annual salary of two pounds. Hartley was skilled in herbal remedies and charms. Shortly after the arrival of Hartley in the household, three other children who were being raised by Starkie became possessed. So did a maid, Jane Ashton, and a poor relative, Margaret Byrom, 33.
   The behavior of the DEMONIACs conformed to that of other demoniacs. They screamed, howled, and writhed. They went into fits whenever Scripture was read, and they burst out with foul language during church services. John Starkie ranted for hours on sin and the wrath of God. One of the girls made a hole in her wall to let her DEMON enter.
   Hartley successful calmed the demoniacs for about 18 months, using CHARMs and herbs. Oddly, he was subject to fits himself.
   By autumn 1596, Starkie, perhaps wishing for more dramatic results, consulted Dee, who was famous for his contact with spirits and who had had an experience with a possessed woman in his employ. Dee recommended calling in some “godly preachers” and treating the children with fasting and prayer, common Protestant remedies for POSSESSION.
   Starkie then consulted Darrel and More. Darrel interviewed Hartley and criticized his approach. The children had no fits for three weeks.
   Hartley fell under suspicion. Dee’s curate, Matthew Palmer, identified him as a witch because he could not say the Lord’s Prayer without stumbling—a common test for discovering witches that was employed in witch trials. Hartley was accused of bewitching the demoniacs by kissing them. He was brought to trial in March 1597 and was found guilty. However, the court had no grounds for execution. Conjuring spirits was against the law and punishable by death, but there was no evidence that Hartley had done so.
   Then Starkie “remembered” an incident. He said that prior to his consulting Dee—and the reason for it—he had been with Hartley in a wood. The cunning man had made a circle on the ground with “crosses and partitions” and asked Starkie to walk it. He allegedly said, “Now I shall trouble him that troubled me, and be meete with him that sought my death.”
   Hartley denied this, but it was all the court needed to dispatch him, and he was hanged for conjuring. The rope broke, giving Hartley a chance to make a confession and repent, but the court had him hanged again, this time successfully.
   The demoniacs seemed mollified by his death, but Starkie called in Darrel and More to exorcise them just the same. When the preachers arrived, the demoniacs resumed their fits and even rejoiced in the death of Hartley. They made a terrific show of screaming blasphemies and convulsing for a day. Then, all were dispossessed. All but one were never to be troubled so again. The maid, Jane Ashton, continued to suffer fits and went to live with a Catholic uncle, who sent her to priests to be exorcised.
   FURTHER READING:
   - Walker, D. P. Unclean Spirits: Possession and Exorcism in France and England in the Late Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Centuries. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1981.

Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology. . 2009.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Major crimes in the United Kingdom — see also: Unsolved murders in the UK This is a list of major crimes in the United Kingdom that garnered significant media coverage and/or led to changes in legislation. Contents 1 List of crimes 1.1 Individual Murders 1.1.1 1800s …   Wikipedia

  • 47th (Lancashire) Regiment of Foot — Infobox Military Unit unit name= 47th (The Lancashire) Regiment of Foot caption= dates= 1751–1881 country= Great Britain (later United Kingdom) allegiance= branch= type= role= size= command structure= garrison= garrison label= nickname= The… …   Wikipedia

  • The Irish (in Countries Other Than Ireland) —     The Irish (in countries other than Ireland)     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► The Irish (in countries other than Ireland)     I. IN THE UNITED STATES     Who were the first Irish to land on the American continent and the time of their arrival are …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Britain in the American Civil War — The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was officially neutral in the American Civil War. Confederate strategy depended on British and French intervention and that never happened; intervention would have meant war with the U.S. Although… …   Wikipedia

  • India — /in dee euh/, n. 1. Hindi, Bharat. a republic in S Asia: a union comprising 25 states and 7 union territories; formerly a British colony; gained independence Aug. 15, 1947; became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations Jan. 26, 1950.… …   Universalium

  • United Kingdom — a kingdom in NW Europe, consisting of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: formerly comprising Great Britain and Ireland 1801 1922. 58,610,182; 94,242 sq. mi. (244,100 sq. km). Cap.: London. Abbr.: U.K. Official name, United Kingdom of Great… …   Universalium

  • List of Ordinances and Acts of the Parliament of England, 1642 to 1660 — This is a list of Ordinances and Acts of the Parliament of England from 1642 to 1660, during the English Civil War and the Interregnum.As King Charles I of England would not assent to Bills from a Parliament at war with him, decrees of Parliament …   Wikipedia

  • Most Haunted Live! — The Most Haunted Live! title/logo, which is sometimes altered to reflect the theme of the event. Format Reality Created by Yvette Fielding Karl Beattie …   Wikipedia

  • Oldham — For other uses, see Oldham (disambiguation). For the larger local government district, see Metropolitan Borough of Oldham. Coordinates: 53°32′40″N 2°07′01″W /  …   Wikipedia

  • Schools — • History and development of education as related to the church Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Schools     Schools     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”