Burn the Witch: the Forfar witch hunts of the 1660’s

Original Witch Confessions

Confession of Janet Howat, 17 December 1661

Jonnet howat daughter to the said helen guthrie about the age of threitine years confest that about the beginning of the last eit seid tyme Isobell shyrie now deceist and Mary Rhynd did carry her to the insch within the Loch of forfar and then (the divell being all in black) the said Isobell shyrie did present her to him and he said what hade he to doe with such a young barine as shee and thae the said Isobell replyed she is my maiden take her to yew And that thr wes present with the divell besyde herself whom hee called the prettie dancer The said Isobell shyrie Mary Rhind Helen alexander Isobell dorward and others whom she knew not to the number of threitine of all and besyde that meiting she was at severall other meitings with the devill qr they did eat, drink and she filled the Cupe and eat with thembut her bellie was not filled and that the divell at one of theise meitings did kiss nad nip her on the shoulder wherof she haid great paine whill six weikes thereafter the divell meet with her againe and called her his bonie bird and kissed her and straiked her shoulder where wes nipped and hereafter she was eased of her former paine And that at one of theise meitings the divell desyred her renunce her god and that she anssred Mary shall I


Bond granted by Helen Alexander on being set at liberty, 27 April 1663

I helen alexander now prisoner in the wardhouse of forfar on suspitione of the guilt of witchcraft in relatione and obediance to ane act & warrand of the Lordis of his Maj. privie counsell grantit be

them to the Majestratis of the burghe of forfar for putting of me to libertie forth of thr prisone Doe heirby bind inact and obleige me that at what tyme I shall happen to be legallie called to appear befor the Judge compitent Then I shall reddilie anssr and obey the samen

Subt at forfar the 27 apryle 1663

Mandate dicte helene


Judgement upon Helen Guthrie, 13 November 1662

The assyse forsd be the mouth of Johne wr[i]ght in dr[TORN] all in ane voyce but warriance ffind be [TORN] guthrie maid befor them & the judges the ssd h[TORN] death and tht she aucht & meritis death for [TORN] craft and ded condemne her thrunto And I [TORN] maner & tyme of her death to the judges

The judges abo’e named ordanes the sd h[TORN] & threfter brunt to ashes the morr[TORN]


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