Nutters

"Greenhead is a good example of early domestic architecture. The great fire-place, the moulded plaster ceilings, and the frontdoor bolt—a solid oak beam—are particularly noteworthy. Christopher Nutter and his son Robert, of Greenhead, are among the first men of 'Fence' whom we can speak in any detail. They died about. 1594, and a story is attached to their deaths.

Robert was in the service of Sir James Shuttleworth, of Gawthorpe Hall, and spent a good deal of his time at Greenhead, his grandfather's house; he had made advances to one Anne Redferne, who lived on his grandfather's land. With Anne lived her aged mother, Anne Whittle, generally known as Old Chattox, because her lips chattered incessantly.

From Greenhead Maor more towards Chattox's hovel

When Anne rejected him, Robert Nutter threatened that when the property came to him he would turn her and her mother off his land, remarking that he would lay them ' where they shall be glad to bite lice in two with their teeth.

There were at this time in Pendle Forest some twenty people, mostly women, who seem to have believed that they were gifted with supernatural powers derived from the Devil, to injure and even destroy by witchcraft. These powers were exerted chiefly upon cattle; yet it was said that amongst them they accounted for the deaths of no less than sixteen human beings.

A few days later, Chattox and Anne Redferne were seen making clay figures of Robert Nutter and his father; they buried the figures in a ditch, and shortly afterwards Robert fell sick and died. Christopher also died after a lingering illness.

An image from Agnes Sampson's trial in 1591 depicting the devil giving magic dolls to a group of witches. She is said to haunt Holyrood Palace and is believed by some to be the inspiration behind the Weird Sisters in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

In 1612 Old Chattox and Anne Redferne, with ten other men and women, were arrested on a charge of witchcraft. After an examination at Ashlar House, they were removed to Lancaster Castle, and there put on trial of their lives. Their various misdeeds, and their meetings or sabbats at Malkin Tower, were brought forward as evidence against them. These ignorant people little knew how to defend themselves; in fact, out of their own mouths they condemned each other. All except two (of whom one had already died) were sentenced to death.

The learned judge, who followed after his King in his fear and abhorrence of witchcraft, told them that they might account themselves fortunate that so much labour and expense had been devoted to the trial of such ignorant persons, and duly committed their souls to God. They were hanged at the common place of execution near Lancaster. So ended the most notorious incident in the history of Pendle Forest."

From "History of the Parish of Fence" Question? Does anybody know if these Nutters were related with Alice Nutter of Roughlee who was hung as a witch (see later)? Nutter is still a common name in the are.