Tag Archives: #GeraldNeal

…’twas tough being a witch in 1600s England… as Author Gerald Neal reveals…

…my good friend, Author Gerald Neal, is no stranger to this ‘ere blog… and my page is the more blessed for that… however blessings are usually never far from curses… and his insightful piece below is witness to that… enjoy…



The first case on the Sessions Book in Harwich concerned five women accused of witchcraft in 1601 – all were found guilty and hanged, not burnt alive as myth would have it. This did not occur until 1645 when Matthew Hopkins, the Witchfinder General from nearby Manningtree bought over fifty suspected witches for torture and subsequent trial at Chelmsford court.

In 1605 Mary Hart was found not guilty of bewitching 7lb of meat that had gone putrid, but her luck ran out the following year when she was found guilty and hanged on another charge.

In 1609, Thos Barneby, Peter and Cecelia Wigborough were accused but found not guilty of witchcraft and wizardery. Also in 1611 and 1612 Peter faced further charges and was again adjudged innocent of all charges.

Most witches though were elderly widows or spinsters with a strong belief that witchcraft was hereditary. Indeed three generations of witches were accused in Harwich; Elizabeth Hanby (hanged), her daughter, Jane Prentice in1634 and 1638 plus her granddaughter Susan Prentice 1638.

Margaret Buller and her sister Anne was found guilty of murder and witchcraft at Dovercourt. John Camper’s father William Camper, a yeoman of Dovercourt, testified that; “John my son aged 13, fell ill with stomach pains and awoke during the night much frightened and scared with a thing fluttering on his face in his sleep like a bird and he said; pray God mother Buller did not send me something unto me this night”. Two days later John was dead. Both sisters were hanged.

Others were accused of making threats then sending their imps, familiars (often cats) or even birds to bring about their victims downfall; either sickness, loss of money or even their demise. One such woman (Jane Wiggins) went to Harwich docks to beg some fish from a fisherman Anthony Payne – he denied her so she cursed him and his ship. He, his ship with 16 other persons were all lost at sea on their following voyage. Also after the loss, strange rat-like imps and birds were seen to torment his surviving family and animal herd, Jane Wiggins was hanged for her perceived crimes.

The Essex witches though were not believed to fly or sail the sea in sieves, also they did not meet in witches’ Sabbaths, indulge in orgies or sleep with the Devil. A mark of guilt though could be ‘Witches Marks’ that were found upon the body of an accused woman, showing where she had suckled her imps with milk or blood.

Sarah Barton charged with witchcraft at Harwich 1645 gave evidence against her sister, Marion Hockett saying; “she had cut off her bigs (nipples) so she could suckle her three imps who she called; Littleman, Prettyman and Dainty.

After 1647 presentments for witchcraft decreased in number and there were no more executions, although Bridget Weaver the last Harwich witch was heard at the Essex Assizes in 1675.

…thanks for sharing, Gerald… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…Author Gerald Neal’s take on ‘Fake News’… oh, and a relaunch of his ‘ONE LAST SUMMER’…


…a while back, in May 2014, I read Gerald Neal‘s excellent ONE LAST SUMMER, and recall I rendered the following review on it on the Auntie Amazon review pages:

…intriguing story, spun well… after a slowish start, well worth staying the course, with excellent surprising twists… one man’s journey simultaneously away from and toward his own life… leaves readers asking the question of themselves, ‘how much of our own lives are lived in the dark recesses of the mind and how much in the real world?’… a thinking man’s read… well done, Mister Neal….

…now, I see the re-edited version has relaunched, and I would highly recommend yeez grab a copy…


Available now as Kindle or Paperback worldwide…
UK link https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007R4UA0W/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb

USA Link…. https://www.amazon.com/One-Last-Summer-Gerald-Neal-ebook/dp/B007R4UA0W/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1481232269&sr=1-1&keywords=gerald+neal+one+last+summer

…however, Master Neal is no one-book-wonder… as a wee glance at his Amazon Author page will reveal, he’s been a busy scribbler:


…in the meantime, some further thoughts from the man himself have arrived on my laptop’s lap:

…from the mind of GERALD NEAL:

Hi, and my name is Gerald Neal and I’ve recently been intrigued with the fake news issue that has come about. I was for thirty years a Graphic Artist working for many independent artwork studios and large advertising agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi London, so I’m rather used to Fake News. I’m now retired from advertising and trying my hand as an author of fiction, so again this could be construed as also Fake News.

Fake News has been around a long time, especially during wartime when it’s called propaganda. Take Hitler’s comment; “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” True up to a point. So for news we’d rather depend on reputable independent sources such as the BBC or mainstream newspapers but even they might have their own hidden agenda.

On April 1st (Fools Day) some newspapers often included bogus news stories such as a London Bus found on the moon, but these are just jokes and easily recognised as such. Now though we have social media and everyone can have a go. In Southend, Essex, my hometown there is a company dedicated to Fake News that they release onto social media… “A spoof news website Southend News Network has been recognised as an official media outlet by Southend County Council after it gained thousands of followers on social media.” – BBC. Politicos spout all sorts of stories some true, some maybe not so true. They all need a story to stay in business.

So this begs the question what is “Real News?” I guess we’ll all just have to make up our own minds on that like everything else and best of luck.


…always a bloke with interesting points of view, our lad, Gerald… thanks, that man… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff