Jane Kent was charged with Witchcraft and using Diabolick Arts after the death of a 6 year old girl, Elizabeth Chamblet. Elizabeth’s father said that his daughter was killed due to a pig Jane Kent bewitched after a bargain they made feel through. The father also said that his wife was bewitched and that a doctor gave him remedy to help her. The other evidence against her was a woman saying she had a mammary glad on her back and hole behind her ear while another man said when he refused to give her a ride home in his  coach it was overturned. She defended herself by presenting evidence that she lived honestly , was a great pain-taker and that she went to church. The jury found her not guilty. This case relates to John Aubrey’s idea in Witchcraft and Magic in Europe: The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. He states, “The supernatural and natural were, for him, two faces of a single coin—‘Why should one think the Intellectual World less peopled than the material?”  I think the verdict in this case goes along with the idea that the magical or supernatural forces in the world are no less than those of nature. Jane Kent was able to escape a guilty plea due to her religious affiliations and her lifestyle choices which goes to show that people could accept that things happened they could not understand but it doesn’t make the people involved a witch or acting in the dark arts. In the trail of Susanna Martin in the Burr Trials, there was talk of her conjuring demons and having them take people to places and that she was breaking into people’s houses at night and I think that these acts made people feel that she was truly a witch. I think people only could be convinced someone was a witch if they could not associate the events surrounding them with those of God or natural events. In the case of Jane Kent, it could have been possible that the daughter was sick from the pig and that her unnatural body parts were just natural occurring deformities. Her relation with the church could show that God still blessed her even with her impurities. The Susanna trial however displayed and association with the devil and demons which I think convinced people she was a witch. I think everything people couldn’t justify as something god did or something that didn’t occur in nature made it witchcraft and associated with the devil.

Witch Trial: http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t16820601a-11&div=t16820601a-11&terms=witcraft|witch|magic#highlight

Witchcraft and Magic in Europe: The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries: https://engl382fall2013.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/witchcraftmagiceurope1819.pdf

Burr Trials: https://engl382fall2013.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/narratives_witchcraftcases.pdf




One thought on “Witches

  1. Good job analyzing the Old Bailey trial using the readings from this week. I think you hit the nail on the head when you talked about religious affiliation and how witch trials resulted from the inability to understand natural events.

    Grade: S

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