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Free the Lancashire 10

 
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thealien2000ukOffline
There must be more!!!!!
Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Total posts: 65
Location: Burnley, Lancashire, U.K.
Age: 48
Gender: Male
PostPosted: 31-10-2011 14:26    Post subject: Free the Lancashire 10 Reply with quote

Spells int Mist
“Free - The Pendle Ten”

I have been researching the paranormal for over 30 years and have seen many paranormal events including ghosts, spirits of objects, apports, deports, ABCs, UFOs etc, I also collect and design Tarot packs (over 300 complete packs including an original pack of A.E.Waite and several packs of Zenner cards) and have a personal paranormal library (over 3000 books), I read Tarot, Runes, Bones, Palms, Dreams, Phrenology, and many other fortune revealing techniques including Astrology charts, I have dabbled in Alchemy and Ouija, and other forbidden arts and arcane knowledge. I was born into an Italian/ Jewish/ Romany family who left Italy between the wars (My grandmother foretold the rise of the Nazis).I have been involved many in Ghosthunts, UFO watches and Paranormal/Psychic Investigations and over the years have been published in several magazines and I have written several books. And to finish I am a practising Shaman and Astrologer. I don’t think I would consider that I am psychic (spelt correctly).

I did not start this thread to dis the program in general but to let it be known that the information on Most Haunted regarding the Pendle /Lancashire Witches has not been researched properly and make believe has been added to pad out the program.
After all, the program is all about ratings.

Programmes like Most Haunted give serious Paranormal Research a bad name, no wonder Paranormal Research will never become a mainstream science, shame on you Living TV, shame on you, and why on Earth would you use a weak minded, emotional ex-presenter to present a show like this (It reminds me of Ghostwatch UK from the 80s).

If you did your research properly there is only one house/building left (other than Lancaster Castle itself) that is connected with the Pendle witches and that is owned by a local MP (Councillor John David) the house is called The Hoarstones (I can see this house from my living room window) this was where the women were held before going to Lancaster castle after being arrested in Roughlee the small village where they lived the women were members of two poor families who had been feuding for years and the cries of witchcraft against an enemy family held high regard in the eyes of the law in those days as if found guilty the guilty party had to forfeit their goods to the state which in the case of Alice Nutter actually happened, Roughlee Hall, the Nutter’s family residence, after Alice Nutter's son died in a mysterious highway robbery around six months after his mother's demise while still contesting the claims of witchcraft against his family was made into four cottages and sold by the state to private owners and this particular family of "Nutter's", no pun intended left no heirs or relatives to carry on this families name.

Can you imagine the dismay, horror and disbelief I felt when I, a Shaman / Witchcraft practitioner read in the Lancashire Telegraph of Thursday, October 22, 2009 by Pete Magill that the councils around Pendle Hill have banned the Pendle Witch/Hill celebrations, this is atrocious, despicable and verging on the criminal to the memory of the poor souls who were maliciously murdered at the hands of the local councils, magistrates and powers that be in the year 1612 AD and yet on the same page shamelessly promoting Pendle Witch based tourism.

Various Councils namely Pendle Council for one in East Lancashire area has even on several occasions blocked various witchcraft enterprises including a real witchcraft museum with twinning with the city of Salem in Massachusetts for the town of Nelson, pulled down a grade 1 listed building, scrapped the stone and built an office block that has never been used since, being built just to deprive the local area from much needed and indeed wanted tourist attraction of the fully sanctioned historic museum that was proposed to be built in a local historic, dilapidated local abandoned church, and Burnley Council refused the licence for the annual witchcraft festival and fair at a local public house, The Townley Arms a local tradition of over 40 years which was stopped just because of the stigma of the 1612 mismanaged and illegal Witch Trials and the idea of witchcraft in the area. Yet these same Councils and opposing businesses still tote the design of the Pendle Witch with pride all across East Lancashire, hypocrisy in its lowest form.

How can the councils one minute use the Pendle Witch motif for self promotion then the next minute ban the Halloween celebrations connected to the same motif, this is highly hypocritical. We in Britain and especially in Lancashire have little to celebrate as it is.

Even though I am not a Christian, But I recognise that all other countries in the world have national holidays sanctioned by the Church on their Patron Saints day, the Scots celebrate Saint Andrew’s Day (November 30th), the Welsh celebrate Saint David’s Day (March 1st), the Irish celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day (March 17th), but England is not allowed to celebrate Saint George’s Day (April 23rd by the way Saint George was a Turk) and local people have been given fines and threatening letters by the council for flying the English flag, Santa Clause is being banned because of dubious reasons voiced by local councils and Christmas lights are being banned because of foreign and non-Christian influences, even the local beer festival was replaced by a blues festival that few people attend (the Blues is a southern North American music style and has nothing to do with Britain and never mind Lancashire), Yet all foreign festivals are recognised and celebrated with no problems no matter how frivolent and trivial they may be to the English.

It seems that the Government and the local councils wants us English people to have no national identity and have no reason to celebrate being English or even in this case Lancastrian, but when it comes to these people they can promote what they want when they want for the use of their own selfish purposes.

The councils would do better if they made the Pendle Hill celebrations into a proper Halloween venue and ran it accordingly in the names of the poor innocent souls who died during the Lancashire Witch Trials, like they promote the two World Wars etc.

They could even make a profit and bring seasonal jobs to the area. Put an Oktoberfest on Pendle Hill, arrange a local craft fair on Pendle Hill, allow the sale of witchcraft products on Pendle Hill, allow and fund a real Witchcraft museum (with a promised twinning with Salem Massachusetts in the U.S. which has been refused several times in the past except the little shop in Barley), promote Pendle Hill for the centre of English witchcraft for which it is, promote the Pendle area for the history it deserves and above all stop taking away the little bit of fun we have left.



Regarding the Pendle Witch Trials in Lancashire

The following are a few excepts and condensed version of the harrowing incidents and trials of 1612:-

Title “Mist over Pendle”
Author Robert Neill’s
Publisher Arrow
ISBN 0 09 004010 4

Original dedication from the Book

To the
Dusty Memory
of
MASTER THOMAS POTTS
Sometime Clerk to the Judges in
The Circuit of the North Parts

Who in November, 1612, at his Lodging
in Chancery Lane, wrote of the
Late
WONDERFUL DISCOVERIE OF WITCHES
in the
Countie of Lancaster

Da veniam Ignoto non displicuisse meretur
Festinat studiis qui placuisse tibi

The Pendle Witches
Pendle Hill overlooks some of the most beautiful countryside of Lancashire. Lying in the Ribble Valley, the green and soft hills disclose small villages and hamlets, meadows, fields and copses, woven into a network by byway and stream. And yet explore quietly, in case you awaken some of the spirits of Pendle - the witches who lived there many years ago.

"Look out! Here they come," cried the little boy who had run out of Lancaster with the crowd of other people on the morning of Thursday, August 20th in 1612.

And what a show it promised to be, thought young tousle-haired Dan Latimer, as he stood gazing down the road, his brown eyes sparkling with happy anticipation. There was to be a hanging, and he had never seen one before. But, from what he could understand from others, it was a marvellous thing to watch.

His mother watched him anxiously, not for the first time wondering if it was right to bring the young lad here In front of her stood a gallows and a troop of the King's Guard who were to supervise the executions. Beside and around her was a laughing, chattering, buzzing crowd of Lancastrians who were out to enjoy themselves. Alice Latimer told her son to come near to her, so that he should not be lost, and together they watched

They saw a crowd coming along the road and behind them a great wagon drawn by four great black horses. As they came closer, Alice and Dan saw that there were ten bewildered old ladies standing on the cart, guarded by three soldiers armed with pikes. Their grey hair blew in the wind, their black eyes had a lost look in them, their skin was drawn, their clothes were dark: they had been accused of being witches and that was exactly what they looked like. It was a dreadful thing to be accused of in those days for, according to the new' laws of King James I, witchcraft was punishable by death.

Now, one by one, they were to be hung by the neck until they were dead. The Reverend Nathaniel Drivett, looking fascinated by the whole event, stepped forward as the cart reached the scaffold and, from the raised platform, asked for God's blessing on the execution, and God's forgiveness on the old ladies. They were not to be forgiven or treated gently by those gathered there on that warm Thursday, though. The guards on the cart roughly thrust forward one of the old women and the rope noose was put around her neck as she stepped on to the platform. To the roar of the crowd, and to the cries of dread from the remaining nine women on the cart, the trapdoor was opened and the first corpse twitched on the end of the rope. The old ladies in the cart screamed and the crowd yelled for more, but Alice Latimer, horrified, had taken the shaking Dan in her arms and carried him away from the ghastly sight

It had all begun less than six short months before. Alizon Demdike had been begging near Colne and when the pedlar, John Law, passed by, she asked him for some pins. His living was poor, so he refused and the beggar cursed him for his meanness. He looked at her and she stared back hard. As John Law turned away and eye contact was broken, he suffered a stroke and suddenly fell down to the ground. Both he and Alizon attributed this to the curse, but she laughed alone, .loudly and harshly.

John Law's condition deteriorated over the next few days and he complained to the local guard. They arrested Alizon and tried her, with John Law as the chief witness. The Clerk of the Court recorded that John Law was in a poor condition by then: "his hede was drawne awrie, his eeyes and face deformed, his speche not wele to bee underestode, and his legges starcke lame".

The local magistrate, Roger Nowell, questioned Alizon and what a tale sprang from her lips. She told tales of her wild, squint-eyed mother, Bessie Demdike, her blind grandmother, eighty-year-old Mother Demdike and her half-wit brother, James. She told how her grandmother had visited Richard Baldwin, the miller at Wheathead, to beg some money from him. He refused and told her to go away and had been cursed soundly in return. ""Go and hang yourself," she shouted to the miller. A year later the miller's daughter died and old Mother Demdike told Alizon that she had bewitched the child.

Roger Nowell gathered together the others who Alizon implicated and asked them questions. Strangely, no torture was used to induce confessions and it seemed odd that these people willingly and voluntarily practically convicted themselves. Strange, that is, even when one realises that the chief witness against the witches was old Mother Demdike's grand-daughter. the nine year old Jennet. Old Chattox, another beggar w'0man, half crazy, half blind, withered and decrepit was involved. together with another six, until there were eleven self-confessed witches. The strangest of these was a relatively wealthy woman who was happily married, Alice Nutter, who lived at Roughlee Hall and enjoyed a comfortable life.

However, Magistrate Nowell could satisfy the law that the eleven women had talked, planned and acted with imps and the Devil, had dug up graves, plotted with the Devil to blow up Lancaster Castle and had been involved in the deaths of sixteen people in the neighbourhood. They were convicted of practising black magic and sentenced to meet the end that the law said was appropriate: death at the end of a rope. Until that could be arranged the eleven were incarcerated within Lancaster Castle, and it was there that old Mother Demdike died peacefully, leaving the remaining ten to suffer the pain and humiliation of a public hanging. Perhaps her last spell was the most powerful of all, and cast upon herself?

In the apparent peacefulness of present day Pendle, it all seems very strange, but perhaps there was more to it than the oft portrayed catching of eleven duped simpletons. Could it be that the eleven women were proud of their witchcraft? Perhaps there was something evil amongst the villages and hamlets of Pendle. Perhaps there still is.

(Extract from Folktales and Legends of Old Lancashire by G.M.Dixon Minimax Books 1991 ISBN 0 906791 73 1)

Lancashire Witches (Pendle Witches).
Of all the many pamphlets and chapbooks describing witch trials in England, The Wonderful Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster (London, 1613) is outstanding. This mass trial of twenty alleged witches was the largest to that date (1612) in England, and created considerable stir throughout the northern counties The chapbook was un¬usually long (188 pages in the original) and detailed; it was a semi-official record written by the clerk of the court (Thomas Potts) and was approved by the judge (Sir Edward Bromley) as being "carefully set forth and truly reported." The document thus became a kind of textbook on the con¬duct of witch trials.

Old Demdike, as eighty year-old, blind Mrs. Elizabeth Sowthern was known, con¬fessed she became a witch about 1560, when a "spirit or devil in the shape of a boy" received her soul. Five years later, this "wicked firebrand of mischief" persuaded a friend and neighbour, Mrs. Ann Whittle ("Old Chattox") to join her in "most bar¬barous and damnable practices, murders, wicked and devilish conspiracies." These two were aided by their daughters - Old Demdike by Elizabeth Device and Old Chattox by Anne Redfearne-with other relatives and neighbours.

Potts made each of the four principals a caricature of a chapbook witch. Old Chattox, also about eighty, was a "withered, spent, and decrepit creature, her sight almost gone. ”Old Demdike” was the "rankest hag that ever troubled daylight." Elizabeth Device "was branded with a preposterous mark in nature, even from her birth, which was her left eye standing lower than the other, the one looking down, the other look¬ing up, so strangely deformed, as the best that were present in that honourable assem¬bly and great audience did affirm, they had not often seen the like."

In March, 1612, Old Demdike was brought before a local justice, Roger Nowell, for examination on suspicion of witch¬craft by common report. This examination was a "fishing expedition." Old Demdike implicated her granddaughter, Alison De¬vice, and her rival, Old Chattox. All three were committed to Lancaster Castle for the assizes. Alison Device was indicted for laming an itinerant peddler. To her evil in¬tention was ascribed what seems to have been a stroke:

But by this devilish art of witchcraft his head is drawn awry, his eyes and face deformed, his speech not well to be un¬derstood, his thighs and legs stark lame: his arms lame; especially the left side, his hands lamed and turned out of their course; his body able to endure no travail.

Alison confessed, and the link between cause and effect was welded. Old Chattox was indicted
For that she feloniously had practiced, used, and exercised divers wicked and devilish arts called witchcraft, enchantments, charms, and sorceries; in and upon one Robert Nutter of Greenhead, in the Forest of Pendle in the county of Lancaster, and by force of the same witchcraft feloniously had killed the said Robert Nutter.

In addition, Old Demdike's daughter, Elizabeth Device, and Old Chattox's daughter, Anne Redfearne, were involved in charges of bewitching Robert Nutter to death.

The account of the trial (on August 17) is exceptional only in the fullness of its presentation, and in its cops and robbers story of a plot to blow up the jail to free the prisoners-the novelty of this charge lent verisimilitude to the other more hack¬neyed items.

Early in April, on Good Friday, it was charged that Elizabeth Device called an emergency meeting of the two families at her mother's home, Malking Tower in the Forest of Pendle, for "some speedy course for the deliverance of her mother (Old Demdike), her daughter [Alison], and other witches at Lancaster." About eight¬een women and two or three men attended; sixteen were identified by name (but only about half of these were indicted). There was "great cheer, merry company, and much conference." This first English sab¬bat seems not much more than a solid Eng¬lish repast. "The persons aforesaid had to their dinner, beef, bacon, and roasted mut¬ton." The mutton was a wether admittedly stolen by James (an act sufficient to hang him, apart from witchcraft). The group planned to kill the jailer at Lancaster, blow up the Castle (an idea clearly borrowed from Guy Fawkes' Gunpowder Plot seven years before to blow up the Houses of Par¬liament), and free the accused. Potts's rec¬ord says all "went out of the said house in their own shape and likeness," rode off on horseback, and "presently vanished out of ...sight." This sounds like an attempt to add metamorphosis (and perhaps trans¬vection) to the witches' crimes. The next meeting was arranged for the following year. Rumour of such an assembly got to the ears of Justice Nowell, who, on April 27, arrested and sent to Lancaster nine witches (some others who were accused fled).

The Court prided itself on its objectivity and fairness, but to secure conviction of all the accused it actually relied almost ex¬clusively on the evidence of Elizabeth De¬vice and her children, James (in his early twenties) and Jannet (aged nine). Eliza¬beth Device refused to confess "until it pleased God to raise up a young maid, Jannet Device, her own daughter, about the age of nine years, a witness unexpected, to discover all their practices, meetings, consultations, murders, charms, and vil¬lainies." When her other two children joined Jannet, Elizabeth made "a very lib¬eral and voluntary confession." Although she retracted this, her confession still stood and became the chief evidence against her. She died maintaining her innocence.

Jannet told how a "spirit in likeness of a brown dog," called Ball, helped her mother kill people. James Device testified he too had seen the brown dog as well as the mak¬ing of magic clay images, and had heard his grandmother say Elizabeth had be¬witched a man to death for refusing alms. James told a weird story of stealing the communion bread on Maundy Thursday. When he returned home, a hare asked him for the bread; James crossed himself, and the hare vanished.

James and Jannet identified most of the witches at the alleged dinner at Malking Tower. In spite of his co-operation with the Court in accusing his mother and nam¬ing names, James faced two indictments. On nine-year-old Jannet's word, further in¬dictments were added: James, she said, had employed another dog named Dandy to bewitch to death. While held a prisoner in the Castle, James confessed in front of three witnesses. He was, says Potts, ''as danger¬ous and malicious a witch as ever lived in these parts of Lancaster."

On charges of bewitching to death Rob¬ert Nutter, "the evidence being not very pregnant against her," Anne Redfearne was found Not Guilty. This verdict displeased both the court and the mob, and she was tried again for bewitching to death Rob¬ert's father, Christopher Nutter. She was convicted. The evidence appears the same in both cases, much of it hearsay gossip going back "eighteen or nineteen years."

Alice Nutter, the mother of the dead Robert, was "a rich woman and had a great estate." She appeared "of good temper, free from envy and malice." She was fingered as present at Malking Tower. Mrs. Nutter was proved a witch because James Device said his grandmother said she was a witch, because Jannet Device said her mother had told her Alice was a witch, and because Elizabeth Device said she and Alice be¬witched a man to death. To be very certain that Jannet identified Alice Nutter cor¬rectly, Judge Bromley, "being very suspi¬cious of the accusations of this young wench," presented a number of prisoners "and some other strange women" to Jannet. Jannet (who had seen Mrs. Nutter, a promi¬nent figure in the county, many times, and who only a few minutes before had been giving testimony against her in court) passed this test successfully. "This could be no forged or false accusation," reported Potts, "but the very act of God to discover her." Mrs. Nutter died protesting her inno¬cence, convicted, as Notestein said, on "the flimsiest [evidence] ever offered to a court.”

Similar evidence was presented against the others accused. The evidence of con¬fessing witches was readily accepted, be¬cause "who but witches can be proofs and so witnesses of the doings of witches?" It is not known how these confessions were secured; Old Demdike died in jail. Old Chattox, "being openly charged with all this in open court, with weeping tears she hum¬bly acknowledged them to be true." Nearly all the other accused, however, insisted on their innocence, "crying out in very violent and outrageous manner; even to the gal¬lows, where they died impenitent (for any¬thing we know)."

In all, ten of the accused were hanged, including Old Chattox and her daughter Anne Redfearne; Elizabeth Device (daugh¬ter of Old Demdike, who died in jail) and her son James, and her eleven-year-old daughter Alison; and Mrs. Alice Nutter. Two others were sentenced to one year in jail with four appearances in the pillory; the rest of the twenty were acquitted.

On the third day, the trial of the Lanca¬shire witches was interrupted by the trial of the three Salmesbury witches, accused of afflicting a young woman. Taking advan¬tage of a flicker of doubt evidenced by the judge, the three women urged him to in¬terrogate the girl. She admitted her accu¬sations were false, and had been prepared by a Roman Catholic priest incensed at the three women's apostasy to Protestantism. This interruption made no impression on the major trial.

The Lancashire witches of 1612 are to be distinguished from the infamous swindle in 1634 at Pendle, in which the words of a young boy convicted seventeen persons, eventually reprieved by Charles I. Among those accused was Jannet Device.

(Extract from The Encyclopaedia of Witchcraft and Demonology by Russell Hope Robbins (Fellow of The Royal Society of Literature) Bookplan for Paul Hamlyn Ltd 1959)

Lancashire Witches:
A story with many pathetic and pitiable features and one which is eloquent of the ignorance and credulity of the age, is that of the Lancashire Witches. Not very far from Manchester lies Pendelbury Forest, a gloomy though romantic and picturesque spot. At the time when it was inhabited by the witches-that is to say, about the beginning of the 17th century-it was held in such terror by law-abiding folks' that they scarcely dared to approach it. They imagined it to be the haunt of witches and demons, the scene of all sorts of frightful orgies and diaboli¬cal rites. So that when Roger Nowel, a country magistrate, hit upon the plan of routing the witches out of their den, and thus ridding the district of their malevolent influence, he fancied he would be doing a public-spirited and laudable action. He promptly began by seizing Elizabeth Demdike and Ann Chattox, two women of eighty years of age, one of them blind, and the other threatened with blindness, both of them living in squalor and abject poverty. Demdike's daughter, Elizabeth Device, and her grandchildren, James and Alison Device, were included in the accusation, and Ann Redferne, daughter of Chattox was apprehended with her mother. Others were seized in quick succession-Jane Bulcock and her son John, Alice Nutter, Catherine Hewitt, and Isabel Roby. All of them were induced-by what means it were better not to enquire too closely-to make a more or less detailed confession of their communication with the Devil. When this had been extorted from them, they were sent to prison in Lancaster Castle, some fifty miles away, there to await trial for their misdeeds.

They had not lain in prison very long when the authorities were informed that about twenty witches had assembled on Good Friday, at Malkin's Tower, the home of Elizabeth Device, in order to compass the death of one Covel, to blow up the castle in which their companions were confined, and rescue the prisoners, and also to kill a man called Lister, which last purpose they accomplished by means of diabolical agency. In the summer assizes of 1612 the prisoners were tried for witchcraft, and were all found guilty. The woman Demdike had died in prison, and thus escaped a more ignominious death at the gallows. The principal witnesses who appeared against Elizabeth Device were her grandchildren, James and Jennet Device. Directly the latter entered the witness-box her grandmother set up a terrible yelling punctuated by bitter execrations. The child, who was only nine years of age, begged that the prisoner might be removed as she could not otherwise proceed with her evidence. Her request was granted, and she and her brother swore that the Devil had visited their grandmother in the shape of a black dog, and asked what were her wishes. She had intimated that she desired the death of one John Robinson, whereupon the fiend told her to make a clay image of Robinson and gradually crumble it to pieces, saying that as she did so the man's life would decay and finally perish. On such evidence ten persons were hanged, including the aged Ann Chattox.

It is shocking to reflect that, at a period when literature and learning were at their height; such cruelty could be tolerated, not only by the vulgar and uneducated, but by the learned judges who pronounced the sentence. The women were old and ignorant and probably weak-minded. No doubt they began in time to invest themselves with those powers, which their neighbours credited to them, and to believe themselves fit objects for the awe and terror of the people. It is even possible that they may have seen some sort of visions, or hallucinations, which they persuaded themselves were evil spirits attending on them, thus their own cunning and ignorance may have hastened their downfall.

Twenty-two years later a similar outrage, on the same spot, was narrowly avoided, by the shrewdness of the judge who tried the case. A certain misguided man, by name Edmund Robinson, thought to profit by the general belief in witchcraft. To this end he taught his young son, a boy of eleven to say that one day he encountered in the fields two dogs, with which he tried to catch a hare. But the animals would not obey his bidding, and at length he tied them to a post and whipped them, when they immediately turned into a witch and her imp. This monstrous story gained such credence that when Robinson declared that his son possessed a sort of second-sight, which enabled him to distinguish a witch at a glance, no one thought of denying his statement. Accordingly, he took the boy to the neigh¬bouring churches, set him on a bench, and bade him point out the witches. No less than seventeen persons were thus accused and might have been hanged had not the judge's suspicions been aroused by the story, for the jury did not hesitate to convict them. However, the doubts of the worthy judge gained a respite for the prisoners, some of whom were sent to London for examination by the King's physician and by the king himself. The boy's story was in¬vestigated and found to be merely a tissue of lies, as, indeed, the child himself confessed it to be. (See Whitaker, The History of Whalley, p. 215.)

(Extract from The Encyclopaedia of the Occult by Lewis Spence Bracken Books 1988 ISBN 1 85170 183 4)

Lancashire Witches:
In the early years of the 17th century Lancashire lay under a religious despotism, with an overwhelmingly Roman Catholic population dominated by a hostile and punitive Protestant government. lithe parish churches were well attended it was only because absence from the service incurred a heavy fine, for the cure of souls lay almost entirely in the hands of Jesuit priests who were harried from priest-hole to priest-hole under threat of the most cruel punishments. The fires of the Reformation had as yet failed to cleanse this rebellious countryside of its so-called Popish superstitions. The pre¬valence of witches must also have strongly occupied the minds of the magistrates, for the Elizabethan Witchcraft Act of 1563 had been reinforced in 1604 by a further Act of Parliament and the air was alive with rumours of magic, white and black.

There were at this time two rival families living in the Pendle Forest in East Lanca¬shire, who were widely reputed to have sold their souls to the Devil. They were an unkempt woodland folk, beggars and poachers in the main, and regarded with apprehension by the country folk for miles around. At the head of each family was an old crone, spiteful and hideous in appear¬ance: Elizabeth Sowthern, an 80-year-old blind beggar, known locally as Old Dem¬dike, and Anne Whittle, equally ancient and decrepit, known as Old Chattox. Both of them looked the very picture of a witch.

There is reason to believe each woman had attempted to exploit her reputation for casting lethal spells, in order to boost her trade in simples. The result was that they had both come under strong suspicion of causing most, if not all, of the unexplained deaths in the district.

The story begins in the early months of 1612 with a theft carried out by Elizabeth Whittle, daughter of Chattox, at the home of Old Demdike, as the result of which Elizabeth was sent to prison in Lancaster Castle. She had in the meantime branded her accuser, the 11-year-old Alizon Device, and Demdike’s granddaughter, as a witch. The latter, in attempting to defend herself, revealed that her grandmother had in fact tried to initiate her into witchcraft. At this point it is fairly certain that nothing more coercive than words was employed to extract a series of confessions in which each individual was led into the betrayal of the other, until finally both families were compromised up to the hilt.

Shortly after this young Alizon had the misfortune to quarrel with a pedlar, whom she roundly cursed. To her horror the man collapsed within minutes, complaining that he had been pierced with knives and sickles. Once again Alizon found herself under interrogation by a local magistrate, Roger Nowell, together with her mother and simple-minded brother James. Between them they blackened not only the reputations of each other but also those of Old Demdike and Old Chattox who, early in April, were summoned for interrogation. Demdike appears to have admitted freely that she was a witch. Many years earlier she had been approached by an evil spirit dressed in a brown and black coat and having the appearance of a boy. This demon, who bore the name of Tibb, negotiated with her for her soul, promising that in return she could have her heart's desire. Tibb manifested himself at a later date as a brown dog, in which shape he sucked blood from beneath her left arm and aided her in killing by witchcraft the child of Richard Baldwyn. Baldwyn had previously threatened to have both Demdike and her granddaughter, Alizon Device, executed as witches and whores, in the following terms: 'Get out of my ground, whores and witches. I will burn the one of you and hang the other.'

Chattox, in her feverish struggle to extricate herself from her difficulties, attempted to cast the blame for her initiation into witchcraft upon Demdike. Only because of Demdike's wicked persuasions had she ever consented to become a witch and acquired her familiar, which in the likeness of a spotted bitch 'promised her worldly wealth'. To make certain of Dem¬dike's downfall she accused her of murdering by sorcery Robert Nutter, a local landowner. At the same time she implicated several others.

The magistrate, satisfied that these con¬fessions supplied all the evidence needed for a conviction, dispatched Alizon, Old Demdike and Old Chattox to Lancaster Castle together with a fourth prisoner, Anne Redfearne, the daughter of Chattox, who was apparently also involved in the death of Robert Nutter. The families of the imprisoned women were reduced by their mutual calamity to a state of utter con¬sternation but, setting aside their hostility for once, they called a conference at Malk¬ing Tower, the house of Demdike's daughter Elizabeth Device. It took place on Good Friday, 10 April, exactly eight days after the arrests. Those present consisted of about 20 persons, of whom only two were men. From subsequent confessions it would appear that the gathering, while feasting on stolen mutton, considered for a time the possibility of blowing up Lan¬caster Castle and killing the jailer in an attempt to rescue their kinsfolk. They also utilized the occasion to plan various murders and even attempted to summon up an evil spirit, the familiar of Alizon, for the purpose of giving it a name.

Present also on this occasion was Jennet Preston, a Yorkshire witch who had attended the conference in order to secure the aid of her fellow hags for the des¬truction of one who had caused her to be prosecuted for witchcraft at York. Finally the assembly adjourned for a twelvemonth, agreeing to meet again on Good Friday 1613 if there was no occasion for an earlier meeting. This would suggest that by the time the banquet had reached its conclusion the revellers were far too overcome by liquor to remember either the purpose for which the conference had been convened or the hopeless situation of their relatives imprisoned in Lancaster Castle.

Once apprised of this latest threat to public order Nowell struck again. He arrested a number of the former revellers, including Elizabeth Device, the convener of the meeting, her son James Device, the simple¬minded labourer, and his nine-year-old sister Jennet, although many others appear to have escaped the net. Despite suggestions to the contrary there is no reason to believe that those in authority regarded the events at Malking Tower as a witches' sabbath, for even in the official report of the trial the assembly was described as a 'special meeting' of 'children and friends'.

The fresh batch of prisoners was inter¬rogated and sent to join their fellows in the dismal, airless cells of Lancaster Castle, together with eight other suspects from Salmesbury who had been charged with bewitching a farmer's daughter to death. The examination of the Pendle suspects produced the anticipated crop of bizarre revelations, extracted 'by the skilled questioning of Roger Nowell and a fellow magistrate, Nicholas Banister. Elizabeth Device confessed to murdering three per¬sons by witchcraft and making a clay image at the instigation of her familiar, a dog named Ball, but she strenuously denied the existence of any plot to blow up Lan¬caster Castle. It was unfortunate for her, however, that she should have been cursed with a personal defect that longstanding superstition had decreed to be the hall¬mark of the witch: for she had one eye looking down and the other up, a feature then regarded as an infallible sign of the Evil Eye.

The trial of the Pendle witches at the summer assizes of 1612 was preceded by the death in jail of Old Demdike, a not unexpected occurrence in the unsanitary and noisome holes in which the 17th century prisoner was left to rot. It was interrupted by the trial of the witches of Salmesbury who, after satisfying the court that they were the victims of a Jesuit plot, were found not guilty and discharged.

The court with its judge, Sir Edward Bromley then considered the evidence against the prisoners, most of which con¬sisted of written confessions and mutual denunciations made before the Justices of the Peace during the preliminary examina¬tions. Those from Pendle who were brought to trial at Lancaster Castle were 11 in number and consisted of: Anne Whittle, (Old Chattox) and her daughter, Anne Redfearne; Old Demdike's daughter, Elizabeth Device, and her son and daughter, Alizon and James Device; Katherine Hewit, alias Mould-heels; John and Jane Bulcock, Isabel Robey, Margaret Pearson and Alice Nutter (described as a gentle¬woman). Jennet Preston was tried at York, where she was found guilty and hanged.

The prisoners were foredoomed by their own admissions and severely prejudiced by the evidence given against them by James Device's nine-year-old sister Jennet, who also incriminated her own mother Elizabeth Device. Anne Redfearne was found not guilty of bewitching Robert Nutter to death but the court then declared her guilty of the murder by witchcraft of his father, Chris¬topher Nutter, who had died railing against witches. Her old mother, the equally doomed Chattox, pleaded upon her knees in vain for her daughter's life. James Device was far too ill even to stand; now in open court he withdrew the confessions he had made to the magistrates and entered a plea of not guilty, but was sentenced to death.

Alizon Device was indicted for bewitch¬ing John Law, the pedlar who had become crippled after her quarrel with him. 'Transformed beyond the course of Nature', the pedlar was led into court while the accused girl with guilty tears begged for¬giveness for a crime for which she obviously believed herself responsible. The cripple, it was said, 'had the left side lamed all save his eye', which suggests that he must have suffered a stroke.

John and Jane Bulcock, despite a plea of not guilty, were sentenced to death for 'bewitching to madness' Jennet Deane; the evidence against them was given by James, Elizabeth and Jennet Device. Katherine Hewit, alias Mould-heels, who ~ had also been betrayed by the Devices, was charged with being present at the Malking Tower meeting and with bewitching to death Anne Foulds, described as 'a child of Colne'.

One of the unsolved mysteries of the Lancashire witch trials was the indictment of Alice Nutter, a wealthy property owner and the mother of the fatally bewitched Robert Nutter, for the murder by witchcraft of Henry Mitton. She had been named by Jennet Device as having attended the Good Friday meeting and despite her plea of innocence was sentenced to death. Isabel Robey pleaded not guilty to bewitching Jane Wilkinson and Peter Chaddock. The latter had become 'sore pained' in his bones and for this he held Isabel responsible, while Jane Wilkinson complained of being 'suddenly pinched in her thigh'. For these crimes the accused was sentenced to death.

All but one of the prisoners died on the gallows on 20 August 1612. The exception was Margaret Pearson, accused of killing a mare by witchcraft, who was sentenced to stand in the pillory at Clitheroe, Padiham, Whalley and Lancaster on four market days with a paper describing her offence upon her head, and then to re¬main in prison for a year; this in itself was almost the equivalent of a death sentence. The child Jennet Device did not escape the odium of witchcraft, for 22 years later she was one of the accused in the second great trial of Lancashire witches in 1634.

From the records which were carefully noted by Thomas Potts, a lawyer, and sub¬sequently approved by Sir Edward Bromley and published as a chapbook in 1613, under the title of The Wonderful Discovery of Witches in the County of Lancaster, it is evident that in the fury of the witch hunts the unsupported testimonies of children, of senile women and of a half-witted labourer were considered to be sufficient evidence for a sentence of death. In this part of Lancashire the suspicion lingered on for many years that the rich Alice Nutter had been implicated in the case by those who stood to gain possession of her property in the event of her being executed.

The story of the Lancashire witches gives valuable insight into some of the more eccentric beliefs that dominated the minds of rich and poor alike when the witch-mania was at its height. In the records of the trial we read of familiar spirits in the forms of human beings and diabolical dogs, and of a mysterious 'thing like a hare' which begged sacramental bread from James Device; we also hear of the cries of witches in a night made hideous by 'a foul yelling like unto a great number of cats'. It is obvious from the nature of some of the 'popish charms' referred to in court that the accused had remained quite unaffected by the Reform¬ation and had continued to employ Roman Catholic terminology, which was of itself highly suspicious to Protestant ears.

A witch could injure an enemy by sending her familiar against him. Even now, the idea has not entirely died out, and recently a witch admitted that she had taught a gossiping neighbour a lesson by 'sending her cat to him', which made him impotent for a month.

We learn also here that to be in 'hanck' meant in the language of Lancashire witch¬craft to be caught in the grip of a witch; and that butter could be manufactured magically without the milk being the least reduced in quantity. Of the more grisly charms we have the revelation by James Device that Old Chattox took 'three scalps (skulls) from Pendle Churchyard', the teeth of which were extracted and then buried with a clay image of the intended victim of their deadly attentions.

There are still families in the Pendle witch country who claim descent from the Lancashire witches, sometimes with a degree of pride, while the more commercially minded commemorate the dark events of 1612 with organized tours of the area.

(Extract from The Encyclopaedia of Witchcraft and Demonology by Hans Holzer Cathay Books 1970 ISBN 0 86178 121 X)

The Pendle Witches
With the ascension of James VI of Scotland to the English throne as King James I, came a new wave of persecution against those who practised witchcraft. Although many in Britain believed in witches, they were more often or not indifferent to them, believing them to be neither good or bad. However, James was a great believer in witchcraft, believing all those who practised it were evil, and he vowed to destroy the practice. With the zealousness of the king, came the this new chance for magistrates to make their name by exposing witchcraft in their area. One such case was in the Pendle area.
The trial came about as a result of an incident concerning Alizon Device. She refused to buy some pins off a beggar and is alleged to have cursed him, after which he collapsed almost immediately as a result of a stroke. However, the peddlers son accused Alizon of being a witch and setting a curse on him. The investigations into the allegations were led by the local magistrate Roger Nowell, and the accusations and counter accusations ended up involving three local families, the Demdikes, the Devices and the Chattox family.

Alizon's family had been involved in a long standing feud with another in the area, the Chattox's. The two families had quarrelled when Alizon's grandmother's home had been broken into, and some goods were stolen. The following Sunday, Alizon saw Bessie Chattox wearing one of the items which had been stolen. It was decided that the Chattox family would pay a yearly tribute to the Devices to make up for the act. The tribute soon stopped being paid, and when John Device died, the Demdikes were reduced to a life of poverty, with John blaming the Chattox family for the situation. It is possible that these events led to the problems which later occurred.
After the incident with the beggar, under interrogation, Alizon confessed that it was her who had caused the beggar to collapse, and then went on to claim that her grandmother had often asked her to allow a familiar demon to come to her. On hearing this, Nowell asked to hear some accounts of witchcraft, and Alizon went on to describe how Elizabeth had killed the daughter of Richard Baldwin the miller by using witchcraft.
Alizon then went on to claim that Chattox had been accused by John Moore of turning his milk sour, and as a result, she had bewitched his son to death by making a clay image of the child. She also accused her of killing the daughter of Anthony Nutter by witchcraft.
Alizon was detained in prison, while Chattox, Demdike and Anne Redfearn were ordered to meet with Nowell. Demdike confessed of the crime of witchcraft also immediately, and also indicted Chattox and Anne Redfearn. Norwell imprisoned the four of them at Lancaster castle, and thought to begin with that the case was finished with. However, more rumours of witchcraft were beginning to emerge in the area.
Nowell enlisted the help of the forest constable Henry Hargreaves in order to investigate the claims, and with the help of James Device, he unearthed some human teeth, and a clay image at the Demdikes home. He also heard that there had been a meeting of witches in the house on Good Friday. Nowell called for James, Jennet and Elizabeth Device, and listened to Jennet's claim that 20 witches had gathered at the house to plot murder. Amongst those accused by Jennet were members of the Device, Demdike and even the Hargreaves families. And amongst those accused was Alice Nutter, a gentlewoman who lived in the area whose family had also fallen out with the Chattox family. The main aim of the meeting it was claimed, was to plot to blow up Lancaster Castle, kill the governor, and rescue the women held there.
Nowell acted quickly by imprisoning those who had been accused who had not had the chance to escape. The trials began on Monday August 17th, and mainly depended on the testimony of Jennet Device, who accused her own mother of witchcraft as well as others. Elizabeth on hearing her daughter's accusations pleaded guilty to the claims. At the trials, all of the people accused were claimed to have taken part in several murders as a result of practising witchcraft. After the trial, those who had been on trial were urged to confess their sins, and then all were sentenced to be hung. They were all taken out and hanged on Thursday August 20th, the entire trial taking only three days.
Jennet escaped accusation at the time of this trial, but returned to Lancaster Castle 21 years later facing accusations of witchcraft.
One of the main problems with looking at this kind of trial, is the obvious animosity which the families involved had against each other. The local magistrate would have been aware of these feelings, and it is possible now, to look back and accuse him of having ulterior motives in ignoring what might have been an obvious chance of revenge. However, with the evidence given, and the confessions obtained, it seems that there is little he could have actually done to ignore the situation. This kind of trial was not unusual for this period, as it was a time of great distrust of the unknown, fuelled by the beliefs of the king.

In conclusion
It seems that Alice Nutter probably trying to find out who killed Robert Nutter, and was arbitrating at the unsanctioned meeting at Malking Tower between the two poor families who had been feuding for nearly twenty years and had been roped into the feud but the courts of the time disregarded the evidence and convicted Alice Nutter with the same hand as the families involved (by the way you can see Alice Nutter’s bed in Townley Hall (undoubtedly haunted) at Burnley).

These people were not evil nor necessarily witches but poor simple folk living in a harsh world and did whatever they could to survive even if it means spreading false accusations like confetti to bring down people in opposition.

There are no direct descendants of Alice Nutter as she had only one child and his fate is mentioned above and did not sire a child (mind you a lot of people try to lay claim to be relatives but these after careful scrutiny have proved false, East Lancastrian people are predisposed to try to relate themselves to the witches of Pendle.

Books of interest “The History of Burnley” (seven volumes) and “The History of Pendle” (twelve volumes) from Lancashire County Library

Does anyone know how I can get a job as a researcher on the show to put Derek, Yvette and the crew on track?

Spirits won’t put up with the type of language, foul mouthed Yvette came out with on the show.


Thanks for reading
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PostPosted: 31-10-2011 15:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very long, but I did read it all. You need a little punctuation coaching!
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PostPosted: 31-10-2011 16:32    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got friends who live near Pendle and climb the hill every Halloween. They certainly did it the last two years, and plan to this year.

Admittedly the police and local authorities aren't exactly encouraging people to turn up, but the only actual ban I can find on the net is mention of a restriction on fairground rides, mobile catering units and parked cars - which isn't the same as a ban on walking up Pendle Hill. To be honest, I would have thought that a purist would see dodgems, hot-dogs and badly parked Ford Fiestas as spoiling the atmosphere anyway.
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PostPosted: 31-10-2011 23:15    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ghostwatch was an absolute classic - Ill not hear a word said against it...
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PostPosted: 01-11-2011 00:23    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a book The Trials of the Lancashire Witches by Edgar Peel and Pat Southern David & Charles 3rd Edition 1985, which gives a well researched and very readable account of the Lancashire Witches.

There's also William Harrison Ainsworth's The Lancashire Witches, a wildly melodramatic version of the story. Ainsworth was a contemporary of Dickens, if he was alive today he'd be giving Dan Brown a run for his money on factual accuracy and believability.
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PostPosted: 01-11-2011 22:44    Post subject: Pendle Hill festivities Reply with quote

All the information in the original post has been retrieved from local newspapers and various books including "The Lancashire Witch Conspiracy "A History of Pendle Forrest and the Pendle Witch Trials "by John A Clayton" www.barrowfordopress.co.uk ISBN 978-0-9553821-2-3


Quite right. its not as if the police have put road blocks or anything but the police and other local authorities are trying to encourage people not to go up Pendle Hill saying that it is dangerous or saying that no help would be available if you get into trouble and if you get ripped off by unscroupulous vender you'll get no help fron the authorities etc basically "enter at your own risk", it is a crock as there is a well lit tarmac road and it is well travelled, it even has a picnic site.

It's just the authorities don't want people celebrating halloween and promoting witchcraft without the councils being fully involved but they don't want the expence of organising a halloween event yet all towns south of Pendle use the black siloette witch as a motive from beer to yarrow stick its very hypocritical.
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PostPosted: 02-11-2011 07:55    Post subject: Re: Pendle Hill festivities Reply with quote

thealien2000uk wrote:
...It's just the authorities don't want people celebrating halloween and promoting witchcraft without the councils being fully involved but they don't want the expence of organising a halloween event yet all towns south of Pendle use the black siloette witch as a motive from beer to yarrow stick its very hypocritical.


I suspect that the authorities know that people are going to celebrate Halloween on Pendle Hill come what may, and want to stop it getting unwieldy. I've worked on outdoor events all over the UK and Europe (had to turn down the Rugby World Cup for personal reasons - what a bugger!!!) - by far the most enjoyable are those that are pretty low key and niche, patronised by those people who are there because they really want to be and are truly interested and involved in what's going on. These often get more and more popular as time goes on, until they reach a tipping point where they change from their original purpose into just another piss-up - at which point they become a bit of a nightmare for all involved.

To my mind - and I accept it's a matter of personal taste - I think too much council involvement and organisation in an event like this would detract from the atmosphere of the tradition - as would food concessions, too much traffic and fairground rides.
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PostPosted: 08-12-2011 10:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pendle witches pogrom haunts water workers after find of mummified cat
Jacobean era's infamous witchcraft trials recalled after reservoir repairs at Pendle Hill dig out cottage with bricked-up feline
Martin Wainwright guardian.co.uk, Thursday 8 December 2011 07.00 GMT

Forlorn traces of England's most notorious pogrom against witches appear to have been unearthed by water engineers engaged in humdrum improvements to a Pennine reservoir.
A buried cottage with a sealed room and a mummified cat bricked up in a wall has been discovered in the heart of the "witching country" of Pendle in Lancashire.

The gruesome tomb had been hidden for at least a century under a grassy mound at Lower Black Moss, whose catchments provide water for homes and businesses across north-west England.
The site is close to the supposed location of Malkin Tower, a ruin whose name echoes the spectral witches' cat Graymalkin in Macbeth. Three wizards and 17 witches were alleged to have plotted there to blow up Lancaster castle in 1612, to free an 85-year-old woman and her daughter accused of selling themselves to the devil.

History has never decided whether there was a genuine occult conspiracy or if terrified village herbalists were set upon for religious reasons or because of feuds.
The latest find could provide evidence for the kinder explanation, if forensic archaeology directed at cooking traces and domestic rubbish yields more information.

The practice of walling up a cat, with the animal sometimes still alive, is known to have been a medieval precaution against evil spirits. The tradition survived into later centuries in remote areas such as the high Pennines.

Carl Sanders, project manager for United Utilities, which routinely commissions archaeological surveys on its construction sites, said: "The building is in remarkable condition. You can walk through it and get a real sense that you're peering into the past.
"Pendle Hill has a real aura about it, and it's hard not to be affected by the place. Even before we discovered the building, there were lots of jokes from the lads about broomsticks and black cats. The find has really stunned us all."

Simon Entwistle, a historian of the Pendle witches, said that the discovery was "like Tutankhamun's tomb" for enthusiasts – and also very well-timed for Lancashire's specialist tourism market based upon the Pendle witches.
Entwistle said: "We are just a few months away from the 400th anniversary of the 1612 trials which ended with 10 hangings, and here we have an incredibly rare find, right in the heart of witching country.
"This could even be the famous Malkin Tower, which has been a source of speculation and rumour for centuries. Cats also feature prominently in folklore about witches. It's an absolutely spellbinding discovery."

Frank Giecco, who led the excavation team from NP Archaeology, said: "It's like discovering your own little Pompeii. We rarely get the opportunity to work with something so well preserved. As soon as we started digging we found the tops of doors, and knew we were onto something special.
"The building is a microcosm for the rise and fall of this area, from the time of the Pendle witches to the industrial age. There are layers of local history right before your eyes."

Items discovered at the site include indications of the building's gentler use, between the witches' time and the late 19th century, when the cottage appears to have been abandoned, buried and forgotten. The finds include 19th century crockery, a bedstead, tin bath, and a Victorian cookery range still in its original position – and without any nasty surprises.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/dec/08/pendle-witches-water-mummified-cat
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PostPosted: 08-12-2011 10:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mummified cats aren't all that unusual. There's one in the cellar of an old building near here. The place is currently a dentist's surgery and the cat is mentioned in the deeds as part of the property. I haven't seen it but a friend has. Took the sting out of her root canal! Laughing
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PostPosted: 08-12-2011 10:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Took the sting out of her root canal!"

That encounter in greater detail:

"Allergic to Novocaine? I'll just put this mummified cat's bottom on your face for a moment. Take a deep breath!" Shocked
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PostPosted: 12-03-2012 15:01    Post subject: Spells in't mist Reply with quote

Further to this, local (well funded) Pendle Hospice is organising a Pendle witch walk to commemorate 400 years since the travasty of the Lancashire Witch Trials to raise money for the Hospice on 18th August 2012.

Again and again the locals talk in whispers regarding witchcraft but openly exploit the history (albeit completely fabricated and rewriting history to fit thier own ends) and icons for proffitable gain, this same hospice slammed the Medical lottery for taking funding away from local hospices rightfully due to come to them as they see it.

This sponsered walk is more about raising funds for the hospice, than to help in any way regarding the poor unfortunate souls who lost thier lives due to a corrupt judicial system of the time and the Queen's inaptitude to give pardons to 10 innocent people 400 years after the fact.
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PostPosted: 12-03-2012 15:16    Post subject: Re: Spells in't mist Reply with quote

thealien2000uk wrote:
...This sponsered walk is more about raising funds for the hospice, than to help in any way regarding the poor unfortunate souls who lost thier lives due to a corrupt judicial system of the time and the Queen's inaptitude to give pardons to 10 innocent people 400 years after the fact.


And this is a problem?

With all due respect to the victims of historical injustice, surely it would be a bit small-minded to criticise funding for those who are terminally ill in the here and now because an apology for those who have been dead for centuries - and which can never be anything but symbolic - is not forthcoming.
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