10 Malkin Tower
Straight out of Roughlee towards Blacko..A mile up to the T junction on bad bend, right on to Blacko Road, Right then left at pub (name...free beer) and a few hundred yards along to track on left. Private footpath to Malkin Tower - where Farm claims it is where the meeting took place.. 'Malkin' means noun British Dialect 1.an untidy woman; slattern.2. a scarecrow, ragged puppet, or grotesque effigy. Malkin Tower was the home of Elizabeth Southerns, also known as Demdike, and her granddaughter Alizon Device .
Many of the 'witches' claimed in court to have 'familiars'. 'Familiars' were manifestations of the spirit of evil. Alizon Device confessed that she had been persuaded by her grandmother to allow a 'devil or familiar' in the shape of a black dog to come and suck on her breast. Elizabeth Demdike claimed the devil came to her as a boy, wearing a brown/black' coat and calling himself 'Tibb' - an image of which is in quarry near Newchurch. Anne Redfearn also had a familiar in the shape of a man, called 'Fansy'. If she called 'Fancy' the evil powers were supposed to come to her. James Device also claimed to have a familiar familiar in the form of a brown dog. James' Confession tells how 'with the helpe of his spirit would kill or destroy the said mistris towneley' after she accused him and his mother of stealing some turves (peat) from Carr Hall.
'Familiars' pop up in Macbeth. The familiar of the First Witch takes the form of a cat - a grey cat - 'Grimalkin or Greymalkin'. Cats in general were connected with witchcraft. The familiar of the Second Witch takes the form of a toad (called 'Paddock'). The familiar of the Third Witch is not mentioned until Act 4.1, and is a 'harpy', a nasty creature in Greek mythology with the head and body of a woman and the talons of a bird. On stage we should hear one Familiar mewing and one croaking, which the Witches are supposed to answer. Macbeth Act 1. Scene 1
What DID go on at Malkin Tower? Was this a meeting of like minded souls to see what could be done about the four unfortunates sent to Lancaster Prison? If so, we could imagine lots of suggestions, including some revolutionary suggestions - from turf digging, to what? There was also some talk of witches brews as a way of defending them. And then there were Catholic overtones too.
From Frank Hird; "The evidence that this great meeting of witches ever took place was based solely upon the testimony of a child of nine, Jennet Device, the granddaughter of Mother Demdike. The child was intelligent and cunning and there is an ugly suspicion that she glibly repeated a lesson she had been taught. Who taught her the lesson can never be known, but the activity which Roger Nowell displayed in arresting all those who were said to have attended the witches' convention on Good Friday, casts considerable doubts upon his motives.
Jennet's influence went far beyond Lancashire. Thomas Potts' writings and Jennet's evidence were included in a reference handbook for magistrates, 'The Country Justice'. The book was used by all magistrates, including those in the colonies in America, and led them to seek the testimony of children in trials of witchcraft. At the notorious Salem witch trials in 1692, most of the evidence was given by children. Nineteen people were hanged.
Remains of a building at Malkin Tower Farm are rumoured to be Malkin Tower, the home of witch Old Demdike. An archaelogical group started the first ever dig here in 2011 with children from Blacko Primary School. The first dig revealed nothing but a further site has been identified and this will be explored in 2012. If you’d like to join the dig.Tel: (01282) 451129.
Malkin Towers was allegedly the home of Old Demdike and this is located on the Ordnace Survey Map Number 41 of the Outdoor Leisure series at Map Reference 867422 just east of Blacko Hill and just over threequarters of a mile east of Lower Aedmergill. Research via the 1:50000 scale maps of Britain show that the place-name, "Aedmer" only occurs just north of Blacko village. Namely, Lower Aedmergill, Aedmergill Water and Higher Aedmer 500 yards north of them. Blacko Hill is only 650 yards from Lower Admergill. The significance of Old Mother Demdike alleged home being within 650 yards of a unique Aedmer place-name, is when we realise that, "Aedmer", was allegedly the founding father of Druids. By a Guy from Barlick
Good Friday Feast.
Lamb was one of the better known contents of the feast as it was recorded that James Device, the grandson of Demdike, stole a sheep from a farm in Barley. It is also thought that the Malkin coven feasted on beef, bacon, and wicca dumplings made of suet and herbs. Cooked locally it can be served hot or cold and was traditionally served with red cabbage.
Launched in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Feast of Malkin Tower, a local company now offers Malkin Pie' (see below) that copies (or is that 'conjures'?) what they may have eaten that Good Friday. Look out for them at local markets and shows.