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One of the most famous events at Lancaster castle was the Pendle Witch trials of 1612. During the reign of King James I, he passed laws which forbid any act of "building a covenant by having an evil spirit, hurting life or limb, injuring live stock by way of charms or procuring love ".Many of these acts were subject to the death penalty.

The trial was centred on two families in which five of the members were accused (Elizabeth Southern, Anne Whittle, Ann Redfern, Elizabeth Device and Alison and James Device). Another five from exactly the same locality (Jane Bulcock and her son John, Alice Grey, Alice Nutter and Katherine Hewitt) also stood accused. While awaiting trial, 80 year old Elizabeth Southern passed on in her cell.

The trial began in August of exactly the same year and was presided over by Judge Bromley and Judge Altham. Lord Gerard and Sir Richard Hoghton were in assistance.

The prisoners were deprived of any counsel and couldn't call witnesses. On the top of original ten another ten defendants, also accused of witchcraft (The Samlesbury witches, also from Pendle along side Isobel Robey from Windle, near St Helens and Margaret Pearson, the Padiham Witch) were to stand trial.

As a whole, 20 people stood accused and their ages ranged from 9 years old to 80 years. The evidence produced stemmed from idle gossip, false accusations and rumours.

At in conclusion of the three day event, Anne Whittle, Anne Redfern, Elizabeth Device, Alice Nutter, Alison and James Device, Katherine Hewitt, Jane and John Bulcock, in addition to Isobel Robey were all found guilty and sentenced to be hanged on the moor above the Town. Margaret Pearson was sentenced to be pilloried on four successive market days at Padiham, Clitheroe, Whalley and Lancaster. Once this was carried out, Margaret was to pay a further year in prison within her punishment. The Samlesbury witches and Alice Grey weren't found guilty and set free. private girls Adelaide

Public executions took place at Lancaster Castle right up until the 1800's at a spot called Gallows Hill. The prisoners will be taken from their cells in a cart and pass along Moor lane and Moor gate. They'd pause briefly at a local public house where they could take their last drink with family and friends before proceeding to the gallows. Individuals from all over the north west of England would congregate out in Lancaster's streets to view these public hangings. After 1800 the hangings were shifted from the moor to a spot within the castles confines. It was to become referred to as "The Hanging Corner ".

Of all of the executions carried out, an overall total of 265 in all, 43 were for murder and other crimes including burglary, forgery, robbery and cattle stealing. 131 of those hangings were carried out by the main one person - Old Ned Barlow. The final person to be publicly hanged was Stephen Burke in 1865.

Between 1788 and 1868, if you found yourself fortunate to escape the hangman's noose, you may have found yourself being transported to a fresh penal colony called Australia. As a whole 200, 000 people found themselves ship bound to face the uncertainties of a hostile environment in NSW and Tasmania.

As a convict awaiting transportation you're eligible for the "Kings Allowance" of 2s and 6d a week. The government were charged anything from £8 to £12 per prisoner and the escorting jailers received a collection fee per mile for every single prisoner.

If you may not pay your debts and were found guilty you would are finding yourself serving amount of time in the castles debtors'prison. The castle housed between 3 to 400 debtors at any onetime who would be needed to work within the prison.

Life as debtors was quite comfortable compared to the other inmates and you would receive in payment for your work 3 ozs of bread, 4ozs of oatmeal daily and 1oz of salt and 10 lbs of potatoes on a weekly basis.

If you're among the lucky ones who'd use of money from friends or family your remain in prison was even more luxurious. You could choose your own personal type of accommodation from the 22 rooms set aside for just such people. The purchase price ranged from 5s to 30s and included a fire, candles, cutlery and a servant who did the cooking and cleaning. The lifestyle didn't stop there. You could buy beer and wine, purchase tobacco and newspapers, buy meat, groceries, fruit and vegetables from the debtor's market that was held in the castle yard. You could keep on with your profession and have visitors from morning until night.