Category Archives: Murder

Crime Murder Playwrights Underworld

All ayre and fire

This portrait, believed to be of Marlowe, was discovered in 1953 at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

The life of the Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe.

Christopher Marlowe (bap.1564, d.1593) was born in Canterbury, the second of nine children to John Marlowe (c.1536-1605), a shoemaker, and his wife Kate (d.1605). Like their immediate contemporaries the Shakespeares, the Marlowes were not a rich family, but John succeeded to the role of inspector of leather in 1581, and became warden of the Shoemakers’ Company in 1589, and the family belonged to an artisan class which was both respectable and financially comfortable.

Over Christmas 1578, Christopher enrolled at King’s School, Canterbury. The archives show that he was in receipt of a scholarship worth £4 a year. These scholarships were paid to ‘fifty poor boys … endowed with minds apt for learning’. By 1578 he would have been fourteen, so he may have previously attended the school as a fee-paying scholar until the family fell on temporary hard times. Two years later, Marlowe left King’s School and went up to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. This too was on a scholarship. Archbishop Matthew Walker, a former master of the college, provided scholarships for promising students, one of which was to be awarded to a King’s scholar born in Canterbury; a scholar who was expected to be of the ‘best and aptest schollers, well instructed in the gramer, and if it may be such as can make a verse’; he should also be ‘so entred into the skill of song that they shall at the first sight solf and sing plaine song’.

By 1587, Marlowe had slipped away from academic pursuits into the shadowy recesses of political intrigue. On 29th June, the privy council was called to investigate the case of a Cambridge student named Christopher ‘Morley’, who was the subject of some damning reports and whose Master’s degree ‘which he was to take at this next Commencement’ was under scrutiny. (Spelling of the family name, as is so often the case, was not exact. John Marlowe was often called Marley and sometimes Marle. Christopher appears as Marlowe, Marlow, or Marlo on his title-pages, Marley in his only extant signature, Marlin or Merling in Cambridge University records, and Morley in the coroner’s inquest on his death.). The minutes of this meeting report that:

Christopher Morley was determined to have gone beyond the seas to Reames [Rheims] and there to remaine, their Lps thought good to certefie that he had no such intent, but that in all his accions he had behaved himself orderlie and discreetlie, wherebie he had done her Majestie good service, & deserved to be rewarded for his faithfull dealinge. Their Lps request was that the rumor thereof should be allaied by all possible meanes, and that he should be furthered in the degree he was to take at this next Commencement, because it was not Her Majesties pleasure that any imployed as he had been in matters touching the benefit of his country should be defamed by those who are ignorant in th’affaires he went about.

This report suggests there were two conflicting accounts circulating about Marlowe. One, popular in Cambridge, warned he was planning to defect to the English Seminary at Rheims in France. During the reign of Elizabeth I and subsequently that of James I, it was illegal for Catholic parents to educate their children within the Catholic religion at home. As a result, many Catholic families sent their offspring overseas. It was also necessary for those wishing to become Catholic priests to study abroad, and Rheims, in the north of France, was a major centre for Catholics wishing to train in the priesthood. However the conflicting report suggested Marlowe was occupied on government business, ‘for the benefit of his country’. The truth is, Marlowe had been employed as a spy, or ‘intelligencer’ for Sir Francis Walsingham since coming up to Cambridge. Spying, or simply moving in Catholic circles and passing on pertinent information regarding seditious activity, such as the recruitment of students into the Catholic church, was a common activity. Ben Jonson, for example, acted as an intelligencer for the Earl of Salisbury, perhaps to supplement his income, perhaps in order to guarantee patronage of his work. That Marlowe was engaged in similar activity does not necessarily mark him out as a Catholic activist. 

Tamburlaine (1590)

Marlowe was variously absent from Cambridge during 1585-7, probably travelling overseas on government business, since he could have easily passed on information to Walsingham about local Catholic activity without ever leaving the city. Four men who would later come to be associated with Marlowe; Richard Baines, Robery Poley, Thomas Watson, and Thomas Walsingham, were also involved in passing on information to the authorities from France in the 1580s, and Francis Walsingham’s secretary, Nicholas Faunt, was both a Canterbury man, and engaged in a government mission to Paris in 1587, the year Marlowe was reported absent from the university.

Tamburlaine the Great, based on tales of the fourteenth century warlord Timur-i-leng, was Marlowe’s first theatrical success. Dating the play is problematic, but it was probably first performed by the Admiral’s Men in 1587. The success of the play encouraged Marlowe to write a sequel, The Second Part of the Bloody Conquests of Mighty Tamburlaine. A letter dated November 16th provides some fascinating detail about this play’s staging: ‘My L. Admyrall his men and players having a devyse in ther playe to tye one of their fellowes to a poste and so to shoote him to death’, one of the ‘callyvers’ (muskets) proved to be loaded; the player ‘swerved his peece being charged with bullet, missed the fellowe he aymed at, and killed a chyld and a woman great with chyld forthwith’. This account corresponds with a scene in Act Five of the play when the governor of Babylon is executed by firing squad, and perhaps demonstrates the potentially dangerous lengths to which the Elizabethan theatre could go in order to achieve realism.

In 1589. Marlowe was living in Shoreditch with fellow intelligencer Thomas Watson.  During the afternoon of September 18th, Marlowe was involved in a dagger fight with William Bradley, son of the landlord of a pub on Gray’s Inn Road. Bradley was killed, and both Marlowe and Watson were sent before the JP and committed to Newgate. The inquest the next day returned a verdict of self-defence and Marlowe was released on bail. Nothing is known of his activities for the next three years. However in 1592, he was arrested in the Netherlands for ‘coynage’, that is, counterfeiting money, and deported back to England to stand trial. The man who alerted the authorities to Marlowe’s coynage was Richard Baines, fellow Cambridge spy and author of the ‘Note’-  a list of Marlowe’s seditious views, which was delivered to the authorities in the days before the playwright’s death. Coining was a treasonous offence which carried the death penalty, and in addition, Baines accused Marlowe of ‘intent to go to the Ennemy or to Rome’. Despite this he was freed in May of the same year, perhaps after the intervention of Walsingham.


Dr Faustus (1663)

Only days after his release, Marlowe was bound over to keep the peace towards Allen Nicholls and Nicholas Helliott, constable and beadle of Shoreditch respectively. He was ordered to appear at court in Finsbury at the beginning of October, but failed to appear, due to yet another court case involving a street fight with a tailor in Canterbury. By the beginning of the following year Marlowe was again in the theatre, this time with The Massacre of Paris, based on the infamous St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 1572, in which thousands of French Protestants were slaughtered on the streets of Paris and elsewhere by the Guise faction, under the command of Catherine De Medici. The play was performed by Lord Strange’s Men in late January 1589 and is the most political of Marlowe’s works. A version of it survives in an undated octavo edition of 1200 lines. Other plays by Marlowe performed in this year include The Jew of Malta and Doctor Faustus. His next play, regarded by many as his last, Edward II, followed shortly afterwards. The first printed edition of 1594 records it as acted by Pembroke’s Men but no account of its performance survives.

The Massacre at Paris (1594)

Another late work is Marlowe’s narrative poem Hero and Leander, which is unfinished. It was one of several of his manuscripts copyrighted by John Wolfe shortly after Marlowe’s death, and a first edition was printed in 1598. The poem, which would subsequently go on to influence Shakespeare, is dedicated to Sir Thomas Walsingham, and there is evidence that Marlowe lived at Walsingham’s house in Kent in the last weeks of his life, perhaps even composing Hero and Leander during this time.

In May 1593, Marlowe was under government surveillance, having been appeared before the privy council and been ordered to report daily until further notice. On Wednesday May 30th, he was stabbed to death in Deptford. Usually described as a ‘tavern brawl,’ the circumstances under which he died were reconstructed during the inquest held on June 1st. At 10am, Nicholas Skeres, Robert Poley, Ingram Frizer, and Marlowe, met at a house in Deptford belonging to a widow, Eleanor Bull. The men ate together and walked in the garden in the afternoon, in a ‘quiet’ mood. They had supper in the house at 6pm, after which Marlowe lazed on a bed while the others remained seated round the table. What followed began with an argument about the bill. Frizer and Marlowe ‘uttered one to the other divers malicious words’ because they ‘could not agree about the sum of pence, that is, ‘le recknynge’. Marlowe was so ‘moved with anger’ that he jumped off the bed, grabbed Fritzer’s dagger and stabbed him twice in the head.  The wounds, which were measured at the inquest, were not deep. A tussle ensued, and ‘so it befell, in that affray, that the said Ingram, in defence of his life, with the dagger aforesaid of the value of twelve pence, gave the said Christopher a mortal wound above his right eye, of the depth of two inches and of the width of one inch.’ Marlowe died instantly. Fritzer was charged with self-defence and received a royal pardon on June 28th.

Marlowe was buried on June 1st at St Nicholas’ Deptford, in an unknown grave. His fellow dramatist Thomas Kyd described him as a man ‘intemporate and of a cruel heart’. The earliest epitaph, calling Marlowe ‘Marley the Muses darling’, is in Peele’s Honour of the Garter, dedicated to the earl of Northumberland, dating to mid-June 1593.

In 1627 Michael Drayton wrote of him:

neat Marlow …
Had in him those brave translunary things
That the first poets had; his raptures were
All ayre and fire.

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Monarchy Murder

As sore a heart as I have

These fragments come from a contemporaneous account of the death of David Rizzio, favourite to Mary, Queen of Scots. Rizzio was an Italian courtier who had come to Mary’s court in the early 1560s.  An accomplished musician, he soon found favour with the queen, who appointed him her secretary to French affairs in 1564. The nature of their relationship was close, and there were rumours of an adulterous affair, despite the fact the queen was pregnant with James VI by 1566.  On 9th March of the same year, prompted by jealousy, Rizzio was brutally murdered by Mary’s husband, Henry, Lord Darnley, and his courtiers.  The queen was horrified by the ordeal. It is said Rizzio was stabbed over 56 times.

Upon Saturday the 9th day of March, as is conform to the King’s Ordenance and Device, the said Earl Morton, Lords Ruthen and Lindsey, having their Men and Friends in readiness, abiding for the King’s Advertisement; the King having supped, and the sooner for that Cause, and the Queen’s Majesty being in her Cabinet within her inner Chamber at the Supper, the King sent to the said Earl and Lords, and their Complices; and desired them to make haste and come into the Palace, for he should have the door of the Privy Passage open, and should be speaking with the Queen before their coming. Then the said Earl of Morton, Lord Ruthen and Lord Lindsey, with their Complices, passed up to the Queen’s Chamber; and the said Lord Ruthen passed in through the King’s Chamber, and up through the privy way to the Queen’s Chamber, as the King had learned him, and through the Chamber to the Cabinet, where he found the Queen’s Majesty sitting at her Supper at the middes of a little Table, the Lady Argile sitting at one end, and Davie at the head of the Table with his Cap on his head.

The King speaking with the Queen’s Majesty, and his hand about her Waiste, the said Lord Ruthen at his coming in said to the Queen’s Majesty, It would please your Majesty to let yonder Man Davie come forth of your presence, for he hath been over-long here. Her Majesty answered, What Offence hath he made? The said Lord replied again, that he had made great Offence to her Majesty’s Honour, the King her Husband, the Nobility and Commonweal of the Realm. And how? saith she. It will please your Majesty, said the said Lord, he hath offended your Majesty’s Honour, which I dare not be so bold to speak of.  As to the King your Husband’s Honour, he hath hindred him of the Crown Matrimonial, which your Grace promised him, besides many other things which are not necessary to be expressed.  And as to the Nobility, he hath caused your Majesty to banish a great part, and most chief thereof, and forefault them at this present Parliament, that he might be made a Lord.  And as to your Common-weal, he hath been a common destroyer thereof, in so far as he suffered not your Majesty to grant or give any thing but that which passed through his hands, by taking of Bribes and Goods for the same.

Then her Majesty rose on her feet and stood before Davie, he holding her Majesty by the plates of the Gown, leaning back over in the window, his Whiniard drawn in his hand. Arthur Erskin and the Abbot of Holyrood-house, with the French Apothecary, and one of the Grooms of the Chamber, began to lay hands upon the said Lord Ruthen, none of the King’s Party being present. Then the said Lord pulled out his Whiniard, and freed himself while more came in, and said to them, Lay not hands on me, for I will not be handled; and at the incoming of others into the Cabinet, the said Lord Ruthen put up his Whiniard.  And with the rushing in of Men the Board [table] fell to the wallwards, with Meat and Candles being thereon; and the Lady of Argile took up one of the Candles in her hand: and in the same instant the said Lord Ruthen took the Queen in his arms, and put her into the King’s arms, beseeching her Majesty not to be afraid; for there was no Man there that would do her Majesty’s Body more harm than their own Hearts; and assured her Majesty, all that was done was the King’s own Deed and Action.

Then the Gentlemen being in the Cabinet, took Davie out of the Window; and after that they had him out in the Queen’s Chamber, the said Lord Ruthen followed.  But the press of the People hurl’d him forth,where there was a great number standing, who were so vehemently moved against the said Davie, that they could not abide any longer, but slew him at the Queen’s far Door in the Chamber.

 Murder of Rizzio (Sir William Allen, 1833.  NPG)

In this mean time the Queen’s Majesty and the King came forth of the Cabinet to the Queen’s Chamber, where her Majesty began to reason with the King, saying, My Lord, Why have you caused to do this wicked Deed to me, considering I took you from a base Estate, and made you my Husband?  What Offence have I made you that ye should have done me such shame? The King answered and said, I have good reason for me; for since you Fellow Davie fell in credit and familiarity with your Majesty, ye regarded me not, neither treated me nor entertained me after your wonted Fashion; for every day before Dinner, and after Dinner, ye would come to my Chamber and pass time with me, and thus long time ye have not done so; and when I come to your Majesty’s Chamber, ye bear me little company, except Davie had been the third Marrow: and after Supper your Majesty hath a use to set at the Cards with the said Davie till one or two of the Clock after midnight; and this is the entertainment that I have had of you this long time.

 Rizzio (painted c.1620)

Her Majesty’s answer was, It was not Gentlewomens duty to come to their Husbands Chamber, but rather the Husband to come to the Wive’s Chamber, if he had any thing to do with her.  The King answered, How came ye to my Chamber at the beginning, and ever, till within these few Months past that Davie fell in familiarity with you?  Or am I failed in any sort of my Body? Or what disdain have you at me? Or what Offence have I made you, that you should not use me at all time alike?  Sseeing that I am willing to do all things that becometh a good Husband to do to his Wife. For since you have chose me to be your Husband, suppose I be of the baser degree, yet I am your Head, and ye promised Obedience at the day of our Marriage, and that I should be equal with you, and participant in all things. I suppose you have used me otherwise by the perswasions of Davie.  Her Majesty answered and said, that all the shame that was done to her, that my Lord, ye have the weight thereof; for the which I shall never be your Wife, nor lie with you; nor shall never like well, till I gar you have as sore a Heart as I have presently.

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Crime Execution Family Murder

A most unnatural father

These fragments come from an account of a murder committed by John Rowse in 1621. The killing of children was, as ever, regarded with abject horror, but what I find interesting about this particular account is the genuine sympathy extended to Mr Rowse, perhaps marking a move in this period towards attempts to understand mitigating circumstances and psychological torment in certain criminal cases.

This John Rowse being a Fishmonger in London, gave over his trade, and lived altogether in the Towne of Ewell, neere Nonesuch, in the County of Surry, ten miles from London, where he had Land of his owne for himselfe and his heires for ever to the value of fifty pounds a yeere, with which hee lived in good and honest fashion, being well reputed of all his neighbours, and in good estimation with Gentlemen and others that dwelt in the adjoyning Villages.

Untill at the last he married a very honest and comely woman, with whom hee lived quietly and in good fashion some six months, till the Divell sent an instrument of his, to disturbe their Matrimoniall happinesse: for they wanting a Maidservant, did entertain into their house a Wench, whose name was Jane Blundell, who in short time was better acquainted with her Masters bed than honesty required, which in time was found out and knowne by her Mistris, and brake the peace, in such sort, betweene the said Rowse and his Wife, that in the end, after two yeeres continuance, it brake the poore womans heart, that she dyed & left her Husband a widdower, where he and his Whore were the more free to use their cursed contentments, and ungodly embracements.

Yet that estate of being unmarried was displeasing to him, so that he tooke to wife another woman, who for her outward feature, and inward qualities was every way fit for a very honest man, although it were her hard fortune to match otherwise.

With this last Wife of his he lived much discontented, by reason of his keeping his lewd Trollop in his house, so that by his dayly Riot, excessive drinking, & unproportionable spending, his estate began to be much impoverished, much of his Land morgag’d and forfeited, himselfe above two hundred pounds indebted, and in processe of time to be (as a lewd liver) of all his honest neighbours rejected and contemned.

His estate and credit being almost past recoverie wasted and impaired, he forsooke his Wife, came up to London with his Wench, where he fell in league with a corrupted friend; who (as he said) did most courteously coozen him of all that ever he had, & whom at this time I forbeare to name; because it was John Rowse his request before his execution, that he should not be named in any Booke or Ballad. This false friend of his (as he said) did perswade him to leave his Wife for altogether, and did lodge and boord him and his paramore certaine weekes in his house, and afterward caused him and her to be lodged (having chang’d his name) as Man and Wife in an honest mans house neere Bishopsgate, at Bevis Marks, where they continued so long, till his money was gone, (as indeede he never had much, but now and then small petty summes from his secret friend aforesaid) and he being fearefull to bee smoak’d out by his Creditors, was counselled to leave his Country, and depart for Ireland; and before his going over-Sea, his friend wrought so, that all his Land was made ouer in trust to him, and Bonds, Covenants, and Leases made, as fully bought and sold for a summe of two hundred and threescore pounds.

In Ireland he stayd not long, but came over againe, and was by his friend perswaded to goe into the Low Countries: which he did, never minding his Wife and two small Children which he had by her, having likewise a brace of bastards by his Whore (as some say) but he said that but one of them was of his begetting. He came over againe into England to his too deare friend, demanding of him his Bonds and Leases of his Land which hee had put him in trust withall.  But then his friend did manifest himselfe what he was, and told him plainly, that he had no writings, not any Land of his, but what hee had dearely bought and paid for. All which (Rowse replyed unto him) was false, as his owne Conscience knew.

These (or the like) words, in effect passed betwixt Rowse and his Friend (Trusty Roger) which entring at his eares, pierced his heart like Daggers; and beeing out of money and Credit, a man much infamous for his bad life, indebted beyond all possible meanes of paiment; a perjured wretch to coozen himselfe, having no place or meanes to feede or lodge, and fearefull of being arrested, having so much abused his Wife, and so little regarded his Children, being now brought to the pits brim of desperation, not knowing amongst these calamities which way to turne himselfe, hee resolved at last to goe home to Ewell againe to his much wronged Wife, for his last refuge in extremitie.

The poore Woman received him with joy, and his Children with all gladnesse welcomed home the prodigall Father, with whom he remained in much discontentment and perplexitie of minde: the Divell still tempting him to mischiefe and despaire; putting him in minde of his better estate, comparing pleasures past with present miseries, and hee resolving that hee had beene a man in that Townem had beene a Gentlemans companion, of good Reputation and Calling, that hee had Friends, Lands, Money, Apparell, and Credit, with meanes sufficient to have left for the maintenance of his Family, and that now he had nothing left him but poverty and beggery, and that his two Children were like to be left to go from doore to doore for their living.

Being thus tormented and tost with restlesse imaginations; hee seeing dayly to his further griefe, the poore case of his children, and fearing that worse would befall them hereafter, hee resolved to worke some meanes to take away their languishing lies, by a speedy & untimely death, the which practise of his (by the Divels instigation and assistance) he effected as followeth.

To bee sure that no body should stop or prevent his divellish enterprise; hee sent his Wife to London in a frivolous errand, for a riding Coate: and she being gone somewhat timely, and too soone in the morning, both her Children being in bed and fast asleepe, beeing two very pretty Girles, one of the age of sixe yeeres, and the other foure yeeres old, none being in the house but themselves, their unfortunate Father, and his ghostly Counsellor, the dores being fast locked, hee having an excellent Spring of water in the Cellar of his house in which hee purposed to drowne his poore innocent children sleeping: for he going into the Chamber where they lay, took the yongest of them named Elizabeth forth of her bed, and carried her down the Stayres into his Cellar, and there put her in the Spring of Water, holding downe her head under that pure Element with his hands, till at last the poore harmelesse soule and body parted one from another.

Which first Act of this his inhumane Tragedy being ended, hee carried the dead corps up three payre of stayres, and laying it downe on the floore, left it, and went down into the Chamber where his other Daughter, named Mary, was in bed; being newly awaked, and seeing her father, demanded of him where her Sister was? To whom he made answer that he would bring her where she was. So taking her in his armes, hee carried her downe towards the Cellar: and as hee was on the Cellar stayres, shee asked him what he would doe, and whither he would carry her? Feare nothing, my Child (quoth hee) I will bring thee up againe presently: and being come to the Spring, as before hee had done with the other, so hee performed his last unfatherly deed upon her, & to be as good as his word, carried her up the stayres & laid her by her sister; that done, he laid them out, and covered them both with a sheete, walking up and downe his house, weeping and lamenting his owne misery.

The miserable Mother of the murdered Children said that her heart throbbed all day, as fore-boading some heavy mischance to come: and having done her businesse that shee came about to London, as soone as shee came home, she asked for her Children, to whom her Husband answered that they were at a neighbours house in the Towne. Then said she, I will goe thither to fetch them home. No quoth he, I will goe my selfe presently for them. Then said his wife, let the poore woman that is heere goe and bring them home. Then her Husband told her that hee had sent them to a Kinsmans of his at a Village called Sutton, foure miles from Ewell, and that hee had provided well for them, and prayd her to bee contented and feare nothing, for they were well. These double tales of his, made her to doubt somwhat was amisse: therefore shee intreated him for Gods sake to tell her truely where they were. Whereupon he said, If you will needs know where they are, goe but up the staires into such a Chamber, and there you shall finde them. But in what a lamentable perplexity of mind the poore woman was when shee perceived how and which way they lost their lives, any Christian that hath an heart of flesh may imagine.

Presently the Constable was sent for, who tooke him into his custody, who amongst other talke, demanded of him why and how hee could commit so unnaturall a fact, as to murder his Children? To whom he answered, that he did it, because he was not able to keepe them, and that hee was loth they should goe about the Towne a begging: and moreover, that they were his owne, and being so, that hee might doe what hee would with them, and that they had their lives from him, and therefore he had taken their lives from them, and was contented to lose his life for them: for he was sure that their miseries were past, and for his part, he had an assured hope to goe to them, though they could not come to him.

So being had before a Justice, his Examination was very briefe; for he confest all the whole circumstances of the matter freely; so that he was sent to the common Prison of Surry, cal’d the White Lyon, where hee remained fourteene or fifteene weekes a wonderfull penitent Prisoner, never, or very seldome, being without a Bible or some other good booke meditating upon; and when any one did but mention his Children, he would fetch a deep sigh, and weepe, desiring every one to pray for him and upon his owne earnest request, he was praide for at Pauls Crosse, and at most of the Churches in London, and at many in the Country, and at the Sessions holden at Croydon, the latter end of June last, he made such free confession at the Barre, declaring the manner of his life, his odious Drinking, his abominable Whoring, his cruell Murther, and the false dealing of his deceitfull friend, which was the cause of his finall wracke: with which Relations of his pronounced, with such vehemency and protestations, he moved all that heard him to commiseration and pitie.

So, according to Law and Justice, he was there condemned and judged (for the murthering of his two Children) to be hang’d; which Judgement was executed on him at the common Gallowes at Croydon, on Munday the second day of June.’

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Crime Curiosities Death Murder

The haunting of Isabel Binnington

These fragments come from a pamphlet entitled A Strange and wonderfull discovery of a horrid and cruel murther committed fourteen years since upon the person of Robert Eliot, of London, at Great Driffield in the East-Riding of the county of York (1662). The murder was discovered, ‘in September last by the frequent Apparitions of a Spirit in several shapes and habits unto Isabel Binnington, the Wife of William Binnington, the now Inhabitants in the house where this most execrable murther was committed,’ and the pamphlet includes details of the conversations which passed between the ghost and Isabel Binnington, recorded under oath before two Justices of the Peace.

The Examinant sworn and examined, saith, That she and her Husband William Bennington came to the house where she now dwells (being the house of one Mr. Belt of Hull) about the beginning of June last, And saith, that in that house on the 23 of August last, as she was sitting by her fire-side, having also a Candle lighted by her, betwixt the hours of 8 and 9 at night there appeared unto her a Spirit having long flaxen hair in green cloaths, and bare-footed, and without a hat; she conceived that it was some wandering person that might have come for Lodging, and thereupon asked it, saying, What art thou? Thereupon it removed somewhat nearer unto her: then she begun to be sore affrighted, and said, In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy-Ghost, If thou wouldest have any thing, speak, Then it said, Fourteen years have I wandered in this place, suffering wrong three times, and seven years I have to wander, twenty one years is my time. Then it went into the parlour, and came again about a quarter of an hour after and said, Be thou not afraid of me, I will never hurt thee, and thou shalt never want. Then it vanished, glideing away without any motion of steps. It had appeared to her three times before, First resembling a man, and secondly resembling a boy about twelve years old.’

‘On Sunday August the 24 (which was the fifth time that it appeared) it said nothing, nor she to it, it was about eight or nine of the clock at night on Wednesday following, being the 27 at the usual time it appeared to her again in white, like a winding sheet, then she said, If thou wouldest have any thing, speak: then it began, My life was taken from me betwixt eight and nine of the clock at night in this place, she asked what place, it answered, In the Chamber, & I received my Grave betwixt twelve and one. And so it went away. On Friday following it appeared to her again about the usual time, and she said to it, I pray thee tell me thy name.  It said My name is Robert Elliot. Then she said, I desire thee to tell me who took thy life. It replied, I was knock’d in the head fourteen years since in my bed by three women, Mary Burton, Alice Colson the elder, and Anne Harrison. On the Saturday next it appeared to her again in white, and then desired that there might be made a bright fire of Coles in the place where she pulled up the stakes and found the bones, then she desired it to tell its Fathers name? To which it replied My Father’s name was Jacob Elliot and my Mother’s Rebecca, and my Father was a Hackney-Coachman in London.’

‘On Sunday the 31, about five of the clock in the afternoon it appeared to her again in white, and said, Blessed be the time that ever this fire was made, and blessed be they that gave consent to the making of it, for the Stake is now as warm at the root in my heart, as my heart was when the Stake was striken through it. On Monday the first of September about ten of the clock in the forenoon it appeared to her again, in the same likeness, and spoke to her to this effect. That he was an Apprentice to a Raft-man, and that he came into the Countrey about his Masters business, and that he came to this house for lodging, and that Mary Burton was very unwilling to lodge him, and that he demanded of her three and twenty pounds, which he had lent her three years before; and that they had some cross words about it, and that he was killed that very night in his bed, by the said three Women, and that the said Mary Burton took out of his pocket three and twenty shillings in monies, which she gave to her Maid, and two Gold Rings which were his Grandmothers, and one Silver Rings which was his Mothers, and some Writings which concerned his business, which shortly after she carried with her near to London, and by vertue of them she demanded certain things of his Sister which belonged to him, viz. a Rug, worth about four and twenty shillings, and a silver Tankerd, worth about five nobles, which they gave her, and she sold them in London: his eldest sister Kate delivered them, It said no more at that time, She observed that it spake altogether the Southern speech.’

‘This Examinant also saith, That at one time she desired it that it would speak to others, and it said that until seven years were expired it could not speak with any other, but it would be seen by divers in its own likeness. The Examinant being further questioned concerning the digging in the place where the murthered Person is supposed to have been buryed, saith, That sweeping in the room, she perceived some loose mold in the floor, and thereupon said to some of her neighbours with her, that there might possibly be some money hid there, but made no further search at that time, but at another time finding a hole in the place she begun to digg in it with her knife, which casually fell out of her hand into the hole, thereupon she took a piece of a broken dish wherewith she cast up the earth, and made a hole till she came at a Stake of wood, which she pulled up by the half (for it was so rotten that it broke) and burnt it, and digged further til she came at a great stone under which she found certain bones (viz.) A scalp or head; some of the teeth, and other bones, which she supposeth might be of a man. Before the digging in this place she never saw the Spirit, she never knew any of the persons which the Spirit named, nor ever heard of them before.’

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