Newbury Witch (?–1763) An old woman, probably harmless, who was executed as a witch in 1763 by Cromwell’s soldiers, near Newbury in Berkshire. The soldiers reportedly saw the old woman sailing on a plank down the river kennet—by some accounts, the soldiers claimed she was walking on the water—and captured her as a witch and tried to shoot her.
According to a 17th-century pamphlet, “with a deriding and loud laughter at them, she caught their bullets in her hands and chewed them.” The soldiers then “blooded” her, a custom of the times in which a witch’s forehead was slashed in the belief that the bleeding would drain out her power. One of the men put his pistol under her ear and shot her, “at which she straight sank down and died.”
- Maple, Eric. The Dark World of Witches. New York: A.S. Barnes & Co., 1962.