2 Ashlar House

View of Ashlar House from the road. You wouldn't believe the secrets this house holds


Back up Greenhead Lane, back to the By Pass A6068

Turn left for a few hundred yards and you will go past Ashlar House (5pt) on your left. (53"49'45.76N 2"16'15.24W).. Park up in Fence if you want to stop and have a closer look.


Roger Nowell the JP at Read Hall (see Stage 5) questioned Chattox, Demdike and Anne Redfearn at here at Ashlar House, Fence.

One question often raised is why didnt Shuttleworth -the more local JP, not do the questioning?

Old Demdike freely admitted to witchcraft, claiming that the devil had appeared to her 20 years earlier. She said she had seen Chattox and Anne Redfearn making images of Christopher, Robert and Marie Nutter, shortly before Robert's death. Chattox, when questioned, admitted using witchcraft to take revenge on Robert Nutter, whom she alleged tried to seduce her daughter. These three - along with Alizon Davies (also Devices), were sent from here to Lancaster for trial .

Ashlar rear

Ashlar rear

This house also featured in the second set of witch trials in 1612. There were two meetings here concerned with the prosecution of these 'witches'

Roger Nowell lived in Read Hall and prayed in a incredible carved pew in Whalley Church.

Nicholas Bannister is the same family to produce Roger Bannister - the first runner under 4 minute mile. More recently Tom set up Boundary Mill. Their family home was Park Hall, Pendle Heritage Centre at the finish of our Trail.

1612 (Timeline)

18th March

Alizon Device, on her way to Trawden to beg, nr Colne, she met one John Law, a pedlar from Halifax and asked him for some pins from his pack.

(A friend is looking into this, tracing the meeting point near where Colne running track is today, with a hunch that her journey may not have been quite so innocent.We'll keep you posted.)

He refused to unpack and the pair argued, whereupon Law collapsed with a stroke that struck him dumb and paralysed his left side. He, like the others, blamed his ills on her witchcraft. The story had reached Nowell who felt it was his official duty to follow it up. Alison had named the two old women as witches - those from whom she had learnt her skills.

2nd April

Alison has accused her grandmother, Elizabeth Southern (Demdike) and Anne Whittle (Chattox) of practising witchcraft and they are examined here at Ashlar House in Fence by Nowell. Also present are John Nutter, Margaret Crook (nee Nutter) and James Robinson. Accusations of witchcraft fly thick and fast and more local people are brought into the fray.

4th April

Ann Whittle (Chattox), Anne Redfearn (daughter of Chattox) and Alison Device are packed off to the Well Tower at Lancaster Castle to await trial in the coming August.

27 April

Nowell is joined by Nicholas Bannister to interrogate the Device family of Elizabeth and her children, James and Jennet. Another bout of apparent confession, recrimination and accusation breaks out – James and Jennet spill the beans about their party at Malkin Tower.

18 August Ann Whittle’s daughter, Ann Redfearn, is found not guilty at Lancaster of murdering Robert Nutter of Greenhead.

19th August Ann Redfearn is tried for the murder of Robert Nutter’s father, Christopher Nutter of Greenhead, and this time is found guilty.

The Chattoxes and Demdikes did not get on.- they were in competition with each other for customers, begging & herbal remedies and the like, and the two families were often accusing each other of various crimes. They would have been happty to be called 'witches' as that would bestow on them powers, they would not otherwise enjoy.