ANNE GREENE – THE GARGRAVE WITCH – GARGRAVE TIMES PAST
Anne Greene – The Gargrave Witch
Extract from “Witchcraft in Yorkshire” by Patricia Crowther
One case in Yorkshire shows how a white witch, or wise woman, tried to do good and landed herself into trouble.
This was Anne Greene of Gargrave who was examined by John Asheton and Roger Coats in 1853.
John Tatterson testified, and this is how the clerk of the court reported it.
Being disabled in body he, was troubled with ill spirits. He asked Anne’s advice for pain in the ear. She told him that black wool was good for it, whereupon she crossed his left ear three times with her garter and got some hair out of his neck without his consent. When he got home he suffered more pain than before, and returned to her and said “ to look to it or he would look to her”.
Having crossed his ear three times again, she said it would mend, and, with corruptible matter running out, it did.
The accused herself explained that she, knowing a charm for curing earache, twice used it on Tatterson by crossing her garter over his ear and saying *Boate help” (this was the name of an old god). For a pain in the head she required the patients water and a lock of hair, which she boiled together, and threw into the fire.
The verdict of the jury of life and death was not guilty.
Research by RE Kirkbright.
The following quote is taken from
THE CASTLE OF YORK
Relating to Offences Committed in
THE NORTHERN COUNTIES
in the Seventeenth Century’
Published by the Surtees Society in 1861.
(The spelling is that used in the document.)
Feb. 16, 1653-4. Before John Assheton and Roger Coats, Esqrs. John Tatterson, of Gargreave, saith, that, about a forthnight after Christmas last, he was disabled in body; and one night in his father’s house hee was troubled with ill spiretts, who would have advised him to worshippt the enemye. Whereof all were invisable, saveinge Ann Greene. Butt this informant replied, “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh awaye, blessed bee His name.” For he would give noe waye to their perswasions, though they tormented him att least foure times. Whereuppon this informant went to the said Ann, tellinge her that hee was perswaded that she could helpe him, beeinge pained in his eare. The which disease shee told him that blacke wooll was good for itt, but he said that that was not the matter. Whcreuppon she loosed the garter from her legg, and crossed his left eare 3 times therewith, and gott some heire outt of his necke, without his consent. And he askeinge her what she would doe therewith, shee tould him what matter was that to him, shee would use it att her pleasure; goe his waye home and care nott. But, goeinge home, hee was more pained then beefore, and returneinge to her he told her to looke to itt or hee would looke to her. Where uppon shee crost his eare 3 times againe, and promised hee should mend. And, accordingely, hee did, some corruptible matter runinge outt of his eare as itt did amend.
Jenett Hudson, of Gargreave, saith, that Ann Greene told her that Thomas Tatterson was overgone with ill tongues, and that hee should have one side taken from him.
Margaret Wade saith, that her doughter Elizabeth, beeinge laid uppon her bedd, fell a loughinge, and this informant runeinge to her took her upp, and she said that she saw a great bitch with a dish in her mouth, haveinge two feete, and that she sate one the bedstoope. And afterwards she said shee saw three doggs that came and scrapt aboute her bed, and said that Ann Greene was one of them, and Mary Nunweeke the other.
Ann Greene saith, that she sometimes useth a charme for cureing the heart each, and used itt twice in one night unto John Tatterson of Gargreave, by crosseinge a garter over his eare and sayeinge these words, “Boate, a God’s name,” 9 times over. Likewise for paines in the head she requires their water and a locke of their heire, the which she boyles together, and afterwards throwes them in the fire and burnes them ; and medles nott with any other diseases.
Anne Greene was not the first woman from the North of England to be accused of witch craft. Jennet Preston of Gisburne is allegedly the first unfortunate. One of the well known Pendle Witches, she was the only one to be held in York Castle and tried in York. At the time Gisburne was in the county of Yorkshire. The rest of the so called witches were tried in Lancaster. Of the twelve who were accused of practising witchcraft one died in prison, ten were hanged and only one found not guilty.
For a detailed account of the Pendle Witches trial, consult “Thomas Potts’s DISCOVERY OF WITCHES in the County of Lancashire….” Thomas Potts was was an associate clerk on the Northern Assize Circuit in the summer of 1612, when the Lancashire witch trials took place. A digital copy of Potts’s pamphlet can be accessed here.