The last 3 witches of Bideford

They say the last 3 witches of England were hung on a sunny June day in 1682, in the little town of Bideford. They were wrong.

3 innocent ladies – Temperance Lloyd, Mary Trembles and Susanna Edwards were their names. Their crimes? Causing people to fall ill, causing the deaths of several others and blinding a women in 1 eye.

They were innocent of course, but someone had to take the fall, or else someone would have eventually got suspicious of me.

I’m ok with it. I have made my peace. It’s been over 300 years, after all. They weren’t the first to fall victim to wrong accusations and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

Temperance Lloyd, that was a funny one. I put rumours out about her having unnatural teats on her body for the Devil to suckle. Luckily, the stupid locals never thought to check. Probably too scared of getting close to a ‘real’ witch.

The local shop keeper, Thomas Eastchurch was the first to accuse her of witchcraft. He said she caused Grace Thomas to fall ill. Of course it was all my doing, well, with a little help from the Devil.

He nearly got caught, don’t you know. Taking too many chances sneaking about looking like a cat, but the blame fell, yet again, on poor Temperance.

People were much less tolerant in those days, some might say racist. Temperance was the only women kind enough to talk to a black man who visited the area, yet people just assumed he was the devil.

She used to talk to the homeless too, poor Mary Trembles and Susanna Edwards, that was their only crime. Conversing with a so called witch.

Their final parting words before their hanging were: “For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so I am not able to look, they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me”

People stopped believing in witchcraft after that. It became much safer for me to perform my work in the years that followed. The devil continued to visit for many years, on his travels around old England. I still catch a glimpse of him every now and then. We no longer talk, it’s safer for us both that way.

The Battle of Appledore

The year was 878. King Alfred the great was the ruler of Wessex, and not a lot else. He was pinned down to the Isle of Athelney in Somerset, battling the hairy and brutal Viking armies on a daily basis.
Another Viking army had made a base in South-west Wales, under the leadership of a fiercesome Chieftain named Ubba, son of the infamous Ragnar Lothbrok.

They formed a plan to trap King Alfred and attack from another side. They sailed across to North Devon with 1200 men on 23 ships.
Upon arrival in Devon, in a field now known as ‘the bloody corner’ a large battle took place against a defending party, under the leadership of Odda, Ealdorman of Devon.

The Vikings had pinned Odda and his men into a fortress, known as Cynuit. All seemed lost for the Saxens, so they made one final charge at Ubba and his men.

The Danes managed victory over Odda, but after losing 840 men, including their leader, Ubba, the Danes could not continue with the campaign to defeat Alfred the great.

Ubba’s men retreated to Lundy island before burrying him in a place near the river, at Appledore, now known as Hubbastone, under a cairn made from Lundy granite. No longer visible, either washed away or built over, a memorial has been installed by the river in his honour

King Alfred went on to successfully defend Wessex, and his decendents eventually ruled over England. And Odda, for his efforts, got a street named after him in Appledore, now called ‘Odun road’