Update
Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD REFERENCE (www.oxfordreference.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single entry from a reference work in OR for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 03 March 2024

Berkeley, the witch of. 

Source:
A Dictionary of English Folklore
Author(s):
Jacqueline SimpsonJacqueline Simpson, Steve RoudSteve Roud

The medieval chronicler William of Malmesbury, writing in the 1120s, tells how, in 1065, a woman living at Berkeley (Gloucestershire) who was skilled in witchcraft was warned by her pet jackdaw that death was at hand. She begged her family to protect her body by sewing it up in a stag's hide and laying it in a stone coffin fastened with three chains, which must stand in the church for three nights, after which it could be buried. But the plan failed; each night one chain was broken by demons, till finally the Devil dragged her out of the church and set her on ‘a black horse… with iron hooks projecting over the whole of his back’; she vanished, but ‘her pitiable cries… were heard for nearly the space of four miles’.... ...

Access to the complete content on Oxford Reference requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.