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 Making of Cley hill

“There once was a man called the Devil,

Who walked a long way with a shovel.

He walked to Devizes,

Which hurted his thighses

So he made a big hill and went home”

Once upon an old road, the devil, while on his travels, paid a visit to the town of Devizes. Upon entering the town he discovered that all the people in the town had converted to Christianity.

‘I can’t have this’ he said ‘I must put a stop to this nonsense before it spreads to the other towns’

He continued on his travels, all the while with the idea of Devizes playing on his mind. It was only upon his arrival in Somerset that he came up with an idea.

‘I will bury the town of Devizes under a pile of earth. That’ll teach everyone a lesson!’

So he stole a huge sack from a nearby farm and got to work filling it with soil.

It was quite a long journey back to Devizes and the Devil wasn’t one for paying too much attention, and so, here’s the thing – he got lost.

Luckily there was a man walking towards him, so he stopped him to ask directions. He was an old looking man with white hair and a long beard.

‘excuse me, sir’ said the Devil. I’m looking for Devizes, am I heading the right way?’

The man looked down at the holes in his boots  and back up at the devil.

‘You know’ he said ‘I’ve been looking for Devizes for quite some time myself. I forget how long, but my beard was black at the time’.

This threw the Devil into a rage and so he dumped his sack at the side of the road, burying the man underneath it.

And thus Cley hill was born. Sometimes in the gloom of the early evening people have been known to catch a glimpse of the Devil, still wandering around and muttering to himself about the whereabouts of the town of Devizes.