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A chronicle of the history of the City of Worcester and the County of Worcestershire

History of Worcester & Worcestershire

Folklore Articles

The Tardebigge Witch Case

The Tardebigge Witch Case

Mrs Cartwright of Stourbridge bewitched led to Court hearing


Witchcraft in Worcestershire

Witchcraft in Worcestershire

In olden times every women - or for that matter, man- who led a solitary life was suspected by neighbours of practising the 'black art'. This was particularly the case if the recluse had knowledge of plants.

Trial by Water

Trial by Water

It was usual for a witch to undergo 'trial by water', for it was believed that,as a form of baptism, the water would reject a disciple of the devil. The thumps were tied crosswise to the opposite

The Salt Lane Witches

The Salt Lane Witches

The Power of a witch to bring wagons to a halt was told by Edward Corbett in one of his local fairy tales. Two old women, who lived in Salt Lane (Castle St),

Rebecca Swan, the Kidderminster Witch

Rebecca Swan, the Kidderminster Witch

In the 1850s, few people living within ten miles of Kidderminster doubted that Becky Swan was a witch. She won her reputation when, being found guilty of obtaining money by false pretences from a servant girl, she prophesied that the magistrate

Edward C. Corbett and the Telling of Folk Tales

Edward C. Corbett and the Telling of Folk Tales

Folklore is the study of beliefs and practises once firmly held. Few now believe in charms, in giants and fairies, but less than a century ago people in lonely places believed in them.

The Witch's Sister

The Witch's Sister

Becky had a sister, Eliza Swan, noted for her charms, who kept a diary, and lived in Kidderminster, working as a hand weaver. She was often in great poverty and was sent to prison for debt.

The Shrawley Witch

The Shrawley Witch

A notable witch case from Shrawley, on the west bank of the Severn, when Margaret Hill was the subject of many accusations. A child who refused her some oatmeal subsequently fell sick, and when she had been unable to obtain tobacco 'on trust',

Kidderminster Witches 1660

Kidderminster Witches 1660

Again at Worcester, shortly before the Ursula Corbett case, a woman and her daughter, and a man, all from Kidderminster, were put through the barbarous trial by water. They were flung into the Severn where 'they would not sink but soared aloft'. Townsend

The Bewdley Witch

The Bewdley Witch

A witch at Bewdley named Susan Wowen gained great notoriety for it was said, she was so wicked that she grew horns on the back of her head three inches long. These were shed every three years, and it is recorded that a Mr.Soley of Sandbourne had one tipped

We have now collated 386 articles on the History of Worcester & Worcestershire.