" Elenor Jones, Relict of the said David Jones, being sworn and examined in open Court what she knew concerning any practice of Witchcraft by the said Florence Newton upon the said David Jones her Husband, gave in Evidence, That in April last the said David, having been out all Night, came home early in the Morning, and said to her, Where dost thou think I have been all Night ? To which she answered she knew not ; whereupon he replied, I and Frank Beseley have been standing Centinel over the Witch all night. To which the said Elenor said, Why, what hurt is that ? Hurt ? quoth he. Marry I doubt it's never a jot the better for me; for she hath kiss'd my Hand, and I have a great pain in that arm, and I verily believe she hath bewitched me, if ever she bewitched any Man. To which she answered, The Lord forbid ! That all that Night, and continually from that time, he was restless and ill, complaining exceedingly of a great pain in his arm for seven days together, and at the seven days' end he complained that the pain was come from his Arm to his Heart, and then kept his bed Night and Day, grievously afflicted, and crying out against Florence Newton, and about fourteen days after he died.
" Francis Beseley being sworn and examined, saith, That about the time aforementioned meeting with the said David Jones, and discoursing with him of the several reports then stirring concerning the said Florence Newton, that she had several Familiars resorting to her in sundry shapes, the said David Jones told him he had a great mind to watch her one Night to see whether he could observe any Cats or other Creatures resort to her through the Grate, as 'twas suspected they did, and desired the said Francis to go with him, which he did. And that when they came thither David Jones came to Florence, and told her that he heard she could not say the Lord's Prayer ; to which she answered, She could. He then desir'd her to say it, but she excused herself by the decay of Memory through old Age. Then David Jones began to teach her, but she could not or would not say it, though often taught it. Upon which the said Jones and Beseley being withdrawn a little from her, and discoursing of her not being able to learn this Prayer, she called out to David Jones, and said, David, David, come hither, I can say the Lord's Prayer now. Upon which David went towards her, and the said Deponent would have pluckt him back, and persuaded him not to have gone to her, but he would not be persuaded, but went to the Grate to her, and she began to say the Lord's Prayer, but could not say Forgive us our trespasses, so that David again taught her, which she seem'd to take very thankfully, and told him she had a great mind to have kiss'd him, but that the Grate hindered her, but desired she might kiss his Hand ; whereupon he gave her his Hand through the Grate, and she kiss'd it ; and towards break of Day they went away and parted, and soon after the Deponent heard that David Jones was ill. Whereupon he went to visit him, [and was told by him that the Hag] had him by the Hand, and was pulling off his Arm. And he said, Do you not see the old hag How she pulls me ? Well, I lay my Death on her, she has bewitch'd me. About fourteen days languishing he died".
This concludes the account of Florence Newton's trial, as given by Glanvill; the source from which it was taken will be alluded to shortly. It would seem that the witch was indicted upon two separate charges, viz. with bewitching the servant-girl, Mary Longdon, and with causing the death of David Jones. The case must have created considerable commotion in Youghal, and was considered so important that the Attorney-General went down to prosecute, but unfortunately there is no record of the verdict. If found guilty (and we can have little doubt but that she was), she would have been sentenced to death in pursuance of the Elizabethan Statute, section 1.
Many of the actors in the affair were persons of local prominence, and can be identified. The " Mr. Greatrix" was Valentine Greatrakes, the famous healer or " stroker," who also makes his appearance in the tale of the haunted butler (see p. 164). He was born in 1629, and died in 1683. He joined the Parliamentary Army, and when it was disbanded in 1656, became a country magistrate. At the Restoration he was deprived of his offices, and then gave himself up to a life of contemplation. In 1662 the idea seized him that he had the power of healing the king's-evil. He kept the matter quiet for some time, but at last communicated it to his wife, who jokingly bade him try his power on a boy in the neighbourhood. Accordingly he laid his hands on the affected parts with prayer, and within a month the boy was healed. Gradually his fame spread, until patients came to him from various parts of England as well as Ireland. In 1665 he received an invitation from Lord Conway to come to Ragley to cure his wife of perpetual headaches. He stayed at Ragley about three weeks, and while there he entertained his hosts with the story of Florence Newton and her doings ; although he did not succeed in curing Lady Conway, yet many persons in the neighbourhood benefited by his treatment. The form of words he always used was : " God Almighty heal thee for His mercy's sake" ; and if the patient professed to receive any benefit he bade them give God the praise. He took no fees, and rejected cases which were manifestly incurable. In modern times the cures have been reasonably attributed to animal magnetism. He was buried beside his father at Affane, co. Waterford.1 Some of his contemporaries had a very poor opinion of him ; Increase Mather, writing in 1684, alludes contemptuously to "the late miracle-monger or Mirabilian stroaker in Ireland, Valentine Greatrix," whom he accuses of attempting to cure an ague by the use of that " hobgoblin word, Abrodacara".
John Pyne, the employer of the bewitched servant-girl, served as Bailiff of Youghal along with Edward Perry in 1664, the latter becoming Mayor in 1674 ; both struck tradesmen's tokens of the usual type. Richard Myres was Bailiff of Youghal in 1642, and Mayor in 1647 and 1660. The Rev. James Wood was appointed " minister of the gospel" at Youghal, by the Commonwealth Government, at a salary of £120 per annum; in 1654 his stipend was raised to £140, and in the following year he got a further increase of £40. He was sworn in a freeman at large in 1656, and appears to have been presented by the Grand Jury in 1683 as a religious vagrant.1
1 Dict. Nat. Biog.
Furthermore, it seems possible to recover the name of the Judge who tried the case at the Cork Assizes. Glanvill says that he took the Relation from " a copy of an Authentick Record, as I conceive, every half-sheet having W. Aston writ in the Margin, and then again W. Aston at the end of all, who in all likelihood must be some publick Notary or Record-Keeper." This man, who is also mentioned in the narrative, is to be identified with Judge Sir William Aston, who after the establishment of the Commonwealth came to Ireland, and was there practising as a barrister at the time of the Restoration, having previously served in the royalist army. On 3rd November 1660 he was appointed senior puisne Judge of the Chief Place, and died in 1671.2 The story accordingly is based on the notes taken by the Judge before whom the case was brought, and is therefore of considerable value, in that it affords us a picture, drawn by an eye-witness in full possession of all the facts, of a witch-trial in Ireland in the middle of the seventeenth century.
1 Cork Hist, and Arch. Journal, vol. x. (2nd series). 2 Ibid., vol. vii. (2nd series).