Wednesday, 28 February 2018

A-Z of the Accused: Margaret Flower

Name: Margaret Flower

Date: 1619

Location: Bottesford, Vale of Belvoir, Leicestershire

Accusations: After Margaret was dismissed from service at Belvoir Castle by the wife of the Earl of Rutland, she was accused along with her mother Joan and sister Philippa of bewitching two of the Earl's sons to death in revenge. The magic was worked against them in turn using a glove belonging to each boy, items Margaret was responsible for procuring. An unsuccessful attempt was likewise made on the life of Katherine, the Earl's daughter, and it was believed that the Flower women had also made sure the Earl and his wife would have no further children.

Outcome: The three women were arrested, and after her mother died on the way to Lincoln, Margaret and her sister made the rest of the journey to Lincoln Castle where they were imprisoned and tried. Margaret related how spirits and devils had appeared to her in her gaol cell; it was only then that she realised her own guilt in the matter and had not before that point thought herself a witch. No doubt terrified and confused, the two sisters incriminated themselves and each other, and Margaret and Philippa were found guilty and hanged.