Anne Greene – The Gargrave Witch

Research by RE Kirkbright.
Extract from “Witchcraft in Yorkshire” by Patricia Crowther

One case in Yorkshire shows how a white witch, or wise woman, tried to do good and landed herself into trouble.

This was Anne Greene of Gargrave who was examined by John Asheton and Roger Coats in 1853.

John Tatterson testified, and this is how the clerk of the court reported it.

Being disabled in body he, was troubled with ill spirits. He asked Anne’s advice for pain in the ear. She told him that black wool was good for it, whereupon she crossed his left ear three times with her garter and got some hair out of his neck without his consent. When he got home he suffered more pain than before, and returned to her and said “ to look to it or he would look to her”.

Having crossed his ear three times again, she said it would mend, and, with corruptible matter running out, it did.

The accused herself explained that she, knowing a charm for curing earache, twice used it on Tatterson by crossing her garter over his ear and saying *Boate help” (this was the name of an old god). For a pain in the head she required the patients water and a lock of hair, which she boiled together, and threw into the fire.

The verdict of the jury of life and death was not guilty.


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