Pendle Witches

Dennis Hartley, Nelson

She dwelt in the Forest of Pendle
A woman of four score year,
She was accused of practising witchcraft
An indictment that would cost her dear.
Her name was Elizabeth Southerns
Although better known as Demdike.
She was to stand trial at Lancaster Assizes
With eleven more of her like.
The Witches of Pendle Forest
Is how they became to be known,
And in 1612 the charges
Were brought against them one and all.
Tales of spells and incantations
Did not help their cause;
Nor unexplained deaths of their enemies
And the crippling of John Laws.
The failure of crops and milk yield,
Laming of cattle and sheep,
Led to Potts and Roger Nowell
Incarcerating them in Lancaster Castle Keep
Elizabeth cheated the hangman
By dying in custody.
But the others were duly executed
For practising devilry.
Elizabeth, Alizon and James Device
Met their maker on Lancaster Moor.
Alice Nutter, Anne Redfearn, Isabel Robey
And Old Chattox (Anne Whittle) were a further four.
Jane Bulcock and son John
Also met with death;
And Katherine Hewitt (Old Mould Heels)
Finally made up the set.
Four hundred years on and the legend
Refuses to go away.
Ten Pendle folk hanged for witchcraft
That would not happen today.
Perhaps a pardon is long overdue
For this persecuted throng;
But whether or not this is given,
Their fame will forever live on.