Cursed Through the Generations – Excerpt 2
During the trial that followed, Hopkins charged Elizabeth Clarke with the Charge of ‘Entertaining’ evil spirits and on the 25th of March 1645 gave the following deposition to the Court;
‘ The said, Elizabeth Clarke forthwith told this informant, and one Master Stearne, there present, if they would stay and do her no harm, she would call forth one of her white imps and play with it on her lap. She was told this would not be allowed, and they staying a while longer the said Elizabeth admitted that she had been having Carnal Copulation with the Devil, himself over a period of six or seven years; And he would appear to her three or four times a week, at her bedside, and go to bed with her and lie with her for half the night. And he would say to her, ‘Bessie, I must lie with thee!’ and she never refused him, not once.
After a mish-mash of charges and counter-charges, the trials of the accused were held at Chelmsford, on the 29th of July 1645. Robert Rich, the Earl of Warwick, presided over the Court. In those troubled times of rebellion the ordinary Assizes had been suspended and Special Courts were set up to deal with the growing Witchcraft hysteria.
The Chelmsford Trials resulted in 29 people being condemned to death as being practising Witches. During this period, The Headquarters of Matthew Hopkins and his associates, was the Thorn Inn at Oulton. This was where he selected his victims and interrogated them.
As she was led to the gallows to be hung, Elizabeth Clarke, though still protesting her innocence of any crime, cursed Matthew Hopkins and his progeny. But worst of all she cursed the Thorn Inn, wherein she had been tortured and humiliated, she cursed the building and the very earth it stood on, in the most malignant way she knew. Her curses were ignored at the time, but who knows how long a Witch’s curse may endure, through the passing of time.
(C) Damian Grange 2018