Extract from: “Witchcraft and Demonianism” by C. L’Estrange Ewen. 1618/19. THE LEICESTERSHIRE

Among the retainers of the Earl of Rutland at Belvoir Castle were Joan Flower and her daughters, Margaret and Phillip, of whom Margaret, being in charge of the poultry and the laundry, dwelt within the Castle.

Complaints began to be circulated regarding the character and actions of the three women, and according to the anonymous narrator, “the Mother was a monstrous malicious woman, full of oaths, curses, and imprecations, irreligious, and for anything they saw by her, a plain atheist, besides of late days her very countenance was estranged, her eyes were fiery and hollow, her speech fell and envious, her demeanour strange and exotic, and her conversation sequestered; so that the whole course of her life gave grave suspicion that she was a notorious witch”, etc., moreover reports alleged Margaret to be purloining and carrying provisions out of the Castle, and Phillip to be “lewdly transported with the love of one Thomas Simpson, who said he was bewitched by her”!.

 After years of supposed misconduct, about I6I9., Margaret was dismissed, cursing “all that were the cause of this discontentment”. The Devil having suggested revenge and offered his services, the usual compact was made, and various enchantments carried out.

Soon afterwards, the Earl’s eldest son, Henry, Lord Roos, sickened strangely and died, the second son, Francis, Lord Roos, suffered severe torments, and Lady Katherine fell into a dangerous illness. About Christmas I6I7 [I6I8 ?] the three witches were apprehended, but on the way to Lincoln gaol, the Mother, calling for bread and butter, and wishing “it might never go through her if she were guilty”, fell down and died, being buried at Ancaster. (see footnote – Ivan).

1618/9, 11 March. Margaret Flower, daughter of Joan Flower, of near Belvoir Castle. Assizes and General Gaol Delivery holden at Lincoln Castle, before Sir Henry Hobart, L.C.J” of the Common Pleas, and Sir Edward Bromley, B.E. Confession before Sir William Pelham, and Mr Butler, justices of the peace, 22 Jan. I6I8/9.

About four or five years since, her mother asked for a glove of Henry, Lord Roos, which she provided, Her mother stroked her cat Rutterkin with it, dipped it in hot water, and pricked it often, and, within a week, Henry, Lord Roos, fell sick, being much tormented. A glove of Francis, Lord Roos, was successfully treated in similar fashion.

Her mother, sister, and herself, bearing malice against the Earl and Countess for her dismissal, agreed to be revenged, and, moreover, her mother having lodged a complaint against one Peake, and not receiving the satisfaction expected from the Earl, became further incensed.

The gloves, with wool from a Castle mattress, were accordingly put into warm water and blood, and thereafter rubbed on the belly of the useful Rutterkin, the old Witch expressing the wish that ” The Lord and the Lady should have more children, but it should be long first ” (According to Cockayne’s Peerage they had no more children).

A “piece of a handkercher” of the Lady Katherine being likewise treated and wiped on the long-suffering Rutterkin, he was bidden to ” fly and go “, but almost like a natural cat, he whined and said ” Mew “, signifying that he had no power over the young lady. Examinate had “two familiar spirits, sucking on her, one white, the other black spotted; the white sucked under her left breast, and the black-spotted within the inward parts of her secrets.

When she first entertained them she promised them her soul, and they covenanted to do all things which she commanded them “.

About 30 January, at eleven or twelve o’clock at night, four devils appeared to her in Lincoln gaol. “One stood at her bed’s feet, with a black head like an ape, and spake unto her, but what, she cannot well remember, at which she was very angry because he would speak no plainer. The other three were Rutterkin, Little Robin, and Spirit, but she never mistrusted them, nor suspected herself till then”.