Harrowing story of executed ‘witches’ sells for £7,000

A Tryal of Witches at the Assizes held at Bury St Edmonds was auctioned by Sworders. Picture: SWORDE

A Tryal of Witches at the Assizes held at Bury St Edmonds was auctioned by Sworders. Picture: SWORDERS - Credit: Archant

A rare book which details how two innocent women were found guilty of witchcraft at a Suffolk court has sold at auction for £7,020.

The rare 180-page book sold for �7,020. Picture: SWORDERS

The rare 180-page book sold for �7,020. Picture: SWORDERS - Credit: Archant

A Tryal of Witches at the Assizes held at Bury St Edmonds for the country of Suffolk; on the tenth day of March, 1664 recounts what is probably one of the worst miscarriages of justice in the county's history, when Rose Cullendar and Amy Duny were accused of bewitching young children in Lowestoft.

Even though they were brought before eminent judge Sir Matthew Hale at a court in Bury St Edmunds in 1662, it did not save them - as jurors heard the elderly pair had aroused the suspicions of their neighbours because children reportedly had "violent fits" when Cullendar and Duny were close by.

The jury took just 30mins to reach a guilty verdict and the pair were "urged to confess - but would not", meaning they were executed a few days later.

The rare 180-page book, which reports what happened at the trial, was sold as part of Sworders' Out of the Ordinary auction in Stansted Mountfitchet on February 11 - earning far in excess of its original £500 to £800 estimate.

Mark Wilkinson, head of Out of the Ordinary sales at Sworders, said: "There was this fear, frenzy and hearsay over witches at the time.

"It was just people accusing each other and you ask yourself: 'Where is the proof?'"

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