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TRADITIONS



LANCASHIRE.



BY



J. ROBY, M.R.S.L.



" I know I have herein made myself subject unto a world of judges, and am
likest to receive most controulment of such as are least able to sentence me.
Well I wote that the works of no writers have appeared to the world in a more
curious age than this ; and that, therefore, the more circumspection and
wariness is required in the publishing of any thing that must endure so many
sharp sights and censures. The consideration whereof, as it hath made me
the more heedy not to displease any, so hath it given me the less hope of
pleasing all." Verstegan, Rest. dec. Ant.



IN TWO VOLUMES.



VOL. II.



LONDON:

LONGMAN, REES, ORME, BROWN, AND GREEN,

PATERNOSTER-ROW.
MDCCCXXIX.



Printed by A. & R. Si)ottiswoode,
Ncw-Street- Square.



V > ^



CONTENTS



THE SECOND VOLUME.



Page

The Seer - - - - - 1

The Earl of Tyrone - - - - 35

HoGHTON Tower - - - - - 81

The Lancashire Witches . _ - - 131

Siege of Lathom . - - - 183

Raven Castle - . . _ . - 231

The Phantom Voice - - - - 2G5

The Bar-Gaist - - - - - 287

The Haunted Manor-House - - - - 303



THE SEER.



VOL. II.



" Petnichio. Pray, have you not a daughter
Call'd Katharina, fair and virtuous ?

" Baptista. I have a daughter, sir, call'd Katharina."

Taming of the Shrew, Act II. Scene 1.



" What sudden chance is this, quoth he,
That I to love must subject be.
Which never thereto would agree,
But still did it defie?"

King Cophetua and the Beggar-maid.



" Yet she was coy, and would not believe
That he did love her so ;
No, nor at any time would she
Any countenance to him show."

The Bailiff's Daughter of Islington.



THE SEER.



The wonderful exploits of Edward Kelly, one of which
is recorded in the following narrative, would, if collected,
fill a volume of no ordinary dimensions. He was for a
considerable time the companion and associate of John
Dee, by courtesy called Doctor, from his great acquire-
ments, — performing for him the office of seer, a faculty
not possessed by Dee, who was, in consequence, obliged
to have recourse to Kelly for the revelations he has pub-
lished respecting the world of spirits. These curious
transactions may be found in Casaubon's work, entitled
" A true and faithful Relation of what passed for many
Years between Dr. John Dee and some Spirits," — opening
out another dark page in the history of imposture and
credulity. Dee says, that he was brought into unison
with Kelly by the mediation of the angel Uriel. After-
wards he found himself deceived by him, in his opinion
that these spirits, which ministered unto him, were mes-
sengers of the Deity. They had several quarrels before-
time ; but when he found Kelly degenerating into the
worst species of the magic art for purposes of avarice
B 2



THE SKER.



and fraud, he broke off all connection with him, and would
never afterwards be seen in his company. Kelly, being
discountenanced by the doctor, betook himself to the
meanest practices of magic, in all which money and the
works of the devil appear to have been his chief aim.
Many wicked and abominable transactions are recorded
of him. Wever, in his Funereal Monuments, records that
Kelly, in company with one Paul Waring, who acted with
him in all his conjurations, went to the churchyard of
Walton-le-Dale, near Preston, where they had information
of a person being interred who was supposed to have
hidden a considerable sum of money, and to have died
without disclosing where it was deposited. They entered
the churchyard exactly at midnight, and, having had the
grave pointed out in the preceding day, they opened it
and the coffin, exorcising the spirit of the deceased until
it again animated the body, which rose out of the grave,
and stood upright before them. It not only satisfied their
wicked desires, it is said, but delivered several strange
predictions concerning persons in the neighbourhood,
which were literally and exactly fulfilled.

In Lilly's Memoirs we have the following account of
him : —

" Kelly outwent the doctor, viz. about the elixir and
philosopher's stone, which neither he nor his master at-
tained by their own labour and industry. It was in this
manner Kelly obtained it, as I had it related from an ancient
minister, who knew the certainty thereof from an old
English merchant resident in Germany, at what time both
Kelly and Dee were there.

" Dee and Kelly being on the confines of the Emperor's
dominions, in a city where resided many English mer-



THE SEER. O

chants, with whom they had much famiharity, there
happened an old friar to come to Dr. Dee's lodging,
knocking at the door. Dee peeped down the stairs : —
' Kelly,' says he, ' tell the old man I am not at home.'
Kelly did so. The friar said, ' I will take another time
to wait on him.' Some few days after, he came again.
Dee ordered Kelly, if it were the same person, to deny
him again. He did so ; at which the friar was very angry .
* Tell thy master, I came to speak with him and to do
him good, because he is a great scholar and famous ; —
but now tell him, he put forth a book, and dedicated it to
the Emperor. It is called Monas Hieroglyphicas. He
understands it not. I wrote it myself. I came to in-
struct him therein, and in some other more profound
things. Do thou, Kelly, come along with me : — I will
make thee more famous than thy master Dee. Kelly was
very apprehensive of what the friar delivered, and there-
upon suddenly retired from Dee, and wholly applied
unto the friar, and of him either had the elixir ready
made, or the perfect method of its preparation and mak-
ing. The poor friar lived a very short time after : —
whether he died a natural death, or was otherwise poisoned
or made away by Kelly, the merchant who related this
did not certainly know."

Kelly was born at Worcester, and had been an apothe-
cary. He had a sister who lived there for some time
after his death, and who used to exhibit some gold
made by her brother's projection. " It was vulgarly re-
ported that he had a compact with the devil, which he
outlived, and was seized at midnight by infernal spirits,
who carried him off in sight of his family, at the instant
he was meditating a mischievous design against the
B 3



6 THE SEER.

minister of the parish, with whom he was greatly at
enmity."

It would have been easy to select a more historical
statement of facts respecting Kelly ; but the following
tale, the events of one day only, will, we hope, be more
interesting to the generality of readers. It exhibits a
curious display of the intrigues and devices by which
these impostors acquired an almost unlimited power over
the minds of their fellow-men. Human credulity once
within their grasp, they could wield this tremendous
engine at their will, directing it either to good or bad
intents, but more often to purposes of fraud and self-
aggrandisement.



THE SEER.




In the ancient and well-thriven town of Manchester
formerly dwelt a merchant of good repute, Cornelius
Ethelstoun by name. Plain dealing, and an honest coun-
tenance withal, had won for him a character of no ordinary
renown. His friezes were the handsomest; his stuftsand
camlets were not to be sampled in the market, or even
throughout the world ; insomuch that the courtly dames
of Venice, and the cumbrous vrows of Amsterdam and
the Hague, might be seen flaunting in goodly attire
gathered from the storehouses of Master Cornelius.
R 4



8 THE SEER.

His coffers glittered with broad ducats, and his cabinets
with the rarest productions of the East. His warehouses
were crammed, even to satiety, and his trestles groaned
under heaps of rich velvets, costly brocades, and other
profitable returns to his foreign adventures. But, alas ! —
and whose heart holdeth not communion with that word ?
— Cornelius was unhappy. He had one daughter, whom
"he loved passing well;" yet, as common report did
acknowledge, the veriest shrew that ever went unbridled.
In vain did his riches and his revenues increase ; in vain was
plenty poured into his lap, and all that wealth could com-
pass accumulate in lavish profusion. Of what avail was
this outward and goodly show against the cruel and way-
ward temper of his daughter?

Kate, — by this name we would distinguish her, as veri-
table historians are silent on her sponsorial appellation, —
Kate was unhappily fair and well-favoured. Her hair was
dark as the raven-plume ; but her skin, white as the purest
statuary marble, grew fairer beneath the black and glossy '
wreaths twining gracefully about her neck. Her cheek was
bright as the first blush of the morning, and ever and anon,
as a deeper hue was thrown upon its rich but softened
radiance, she looked like a vision from Mahomet's para-
dise, — a being nurtured by a warmer sky, and fiercer
suns, than our cold climate can sustain. She had lovers,
but all approach was denied, and, one by one, they stood
afar off and gazed. Her pretty mouth, lovely even in the
proudest glance of petulance and scorn, was so oftentimes
moulded into the same aspect, that it grew puckered and
contemptuous, rendering her disposition but too mani-
fest ; and yet — wouldest thou believe it, gentle reader ?
— she was in love !



THE SEER. 9

Now it SO fell out, that on the very morning from which
we date this first passage of our history, Cornelius awoke
earlier than he was wont. His brow wore an aspect of
more than ordinary care. It was but too evident, that
his pillow had been disturbed. Thoughts, of more than
usual perplexity, had deprived him of his usual measure
of repose. His very beard looked abrupt and agitated ;
his dress bore marks of indifference and haste. A slight,
but tremulous movement of the head, in general but
barely visible, was now advanced into a decided shake.
With a step somewhat nimbler than aforetime, he made,
as custom had long rendered habitual, his first visit to the
counting-house.

The unwearied and indefatigable Timothy Dodge sat
there, with the same crooked spectacles, and, as it might
seem, mending the same pen which the same knife had
nibbed for at least half a century. The tripod on which
rested this grey Sidrophel of accompts looked of the like
hard and impenetrable material, as though it were grown
into his similitude, forming but a lower adjunct to his
person. It was evident they had not parted company
for the last twenty years. Nature had formed him awry.
A boss, or hump of considerable elevation, extended like
a huge promontory on one shoulder : from the other de-
pended an arm, longer by some inches than its fellow.
As it described a greater arc, its activity was propor-
tionate. His grey and restless eyes followed the mer-
chant's track with unwearied fidelity ; yet was he a man
full sparing of words, — the ever ready " Anon, Master,"
being the chief burden of his replications. It was like the
troll of an old ballad, — a sort of inveterate drawl tripping
unwittingly from the tongue.



10 THE SEER.

The sun was just peeping through the long duTi case-
ment as CorneHus stepped over the threshold of his sanc-
tuary. In it lay hidden the mysteries of many a goodly
tome, more precious in his eyes than the rarest and richest
that Dee's library could boast. No mean value, inasmuch
as this celebrated scholar and mathematician, who was
lately appointed warden of the college, had the most
costly store of book-furniture that individual ever pos-
sessed.

" Good morrow. Dodge."

The pen was twice nibbed ere the usual rejoinder.

" Are the camlets arrived from the country?" enquired
the merchant.

" Anon, Master : — this forenoon, may be."

" Is the accompt against Anthony Hardcastle dis-
charged?"

" No," ejaculated the grim fixture.

" And where is the piece of Genoa velvet Dame Mar-
gery looked out yesterday for her mistress's wedding-
suit ? I do bethink me it is a good ell too long at the
measure."

" Six ells, three nails, and an odd inch, besides the
broad thumbs," replied Timothy.

" Right : — she reckoned on a good snip for waste ; but
let no more be sent than the embroiderer calls for."

" Not a thread," grunted Dodge.

A pause ensued. Some question was evidently hesitat-
ing on the merchant's tongue. Twice did his lip move,
but the word fell unuttered. The affair was, however,
finally disposed of as follows : —

" Hast heard of aught, Timothy, touching the private
matter that I unfolded yesterday?" Cornelius put on as



THE SEER. 11

careless an aspect as the disquietude of his brow could
needs carry, but the enquiry was evidently one of no
ordinary interest. He twisted the points of his doublet,
tied and untied the silk cords from his ruff, waiting
Dodge's answer in a posture not much belying the anxiety
he wished to conceal.

" Why, Master, an' it were of woman's humours, the
old seer himself could not unriddle their pranks."

Cornelius sighed, making the following hasty reply : —

" Thinkest thou this same seer could not give me a
lift from out my trouble?"

" This same seer, I wot," replied Dodge, " is sore per-
plexed : some evil and mischievous aspect doth afflict
the horoscope of the nation — Mars being conjunct with
Venus and the Dragon's tail. Now, look to it. Master : it
is no light matter that will move him ; but almost or ere
I showed him the first glimpse of the business, he waxed
furious, and said, that he cared not if all the unwed hus-
sies in Christendom were hung up in a row, like rats on
a string."

" It is Kate's birth-day," answered the merchant, " to-
night being the feast of St. Bartlemy ; but, as thou
knowest well, the astrologer that cast her figure gave no
hope of her amendment, should this day pass and never
a husband. Who would yoke with a colt untamed? Oh,
Timothy, it were well nigh to make an old man weep. I
am a withered trunk. Better had I been childless, than
have this proud wench to trouble mine house."

The old man here wept, and it was a grievous thing
to see his wrinkled cheeks become, as it were, but the
sluices and channels of his tears. Timothy, too, was some-
thing moved from his common posture; and once he



12 THE SEER.

endeavoured to turn, as though he would hide his face
from his master's trouble.

He sought to speak, but an evil and husky sort of
humour settled in his throat, and he waited silently the
subsiding of the sorrow he could not quell.

Cornehus raised his head: a sudden thought seemed
to animate him. A ray had penetrated the gloomy
envelope of his mind ; and he peered through the case-
ment, intently eyeing the cool atmosphere.

" I'll visit the cunning man myself, Timothy. If he
hear me not, then can I but return, weeping as I went."
And with this speech he hastily departed.

Now on this, the morrow of St. Bartlemy, it so hap-
pened that Kate also arose before the usual hour, and in
a mood even more than ordinarily strange and untoward.
Her maiden was like to find it a task of no slight enter-
prise, the attempt to adorn Kate's pretty person. Not a
garment would fit. She threw the whole furniture of her
clothes-press on a heap, and stamped on them for very
rage. She looked hideous in her brown Venice waistcoat ; —
frightful in her orange tiffany farthingale ; — absolutely un-
bearable in her black velvet hood, wire ruff, and taffety
gown. So that in the end she was nigh going to bed
again in the sulks, had not a jacket of crimson satin, with
slashed bodice, embroidered in gold twist, taken her
fancy. Her little steel mirror, not always the object of
such complacency, did, for once, reflect a beam of good
humour, which so bewitched Kate, that for the next five
minutes she found herself settling into the best possible
temper in the world.

" Give me my kerchief, lace scarf, and green silk hood,
and my petticoat with the border newly purfled. — Hark !



THE SEER. IS

'Tis the bell for prayers. Be quick with my pantofles : —
not those, wench — the yellow silk with silver spangles.
Now my rings and crystal bracelets. I would not miss
early matins to-day for the best jewel on an alderman's
thumb."

" Anon, lady," replied her waiting woman, with a sort
of pert affectation of meekness. But what should cause
Kate to be so wonderfully attentive to her devotions was
a matter on which Janet could have no suspicions ; or, at
least, would not dare to show them, if she had.

Kate, being now attired, tripped forth, accompanied by
her maid. As she passed the half-closed door of the
counting-house, Timotiiy, with one of his most leaden
looks, full of unmeaning, stood edgeways in the opening,
his lower side in advance, with the long arm ready for
action.

" Fair Mistress, Master Kelly would fain have a token
to-day. He hath sent you a rare device ! "

" And what the better shall I be of his mummeries?"
hastily replied the lady. Timothy drew from his large
leathern purse a curiously-twisted riband.

" He twined this knot for your comfort. Throw it
over your left shoulder, and it shall write the first letter
of your gallant's name. A cypher of rare workmanship."
Kate, apparently in anger, snatched the magic riband,
and, peradventure it might be from none other design
than to rid herself of the mystical love-knot ; but she
tossed it from her with an air of great contumely ; when,
by some disagreeable and untoward accident, it chanced
to fly over the self-same shoulder to which Timothy had
referred. He made no reply, but followed the token with
his little grey eyes, apparently without any sort of aim or



14 THE SEER.

concernment. Kate's eyes followed too ; but verily it were
a marvellous thing to behold how the riband shaped
itself as it fell; and yet to see how she stamped and
stormed: — quick as the burst of her proud temper, she
kicked aside the bauble, but not until the curl of the letter
had been sufficiently manifest. Timothy drew back into
his den, leaving the fair maid to the indulgence of her
humours. But, in the end, Kate's wrath was not over
difficult to assuage. With an air somewhat dubious and
disturbed, she hastily thrust the token behind her sto-
macher, and departed.

The merchant's house being nigh unto the market-
cross, Kate's prettily-spangled feet were soon safely con-
ducted over the low stepping-stones, placed at convenient
distances for the transit of foot-passengers through the
unpaved streets. Near a sort of stile, guarding the
entrance to the churchyard, rose an immense pile of
buildings, cumbrous and uncouth. These were built some-
thing in the fashion of an inverted pyramid ; to wit, the
smaller area occupying the basement, and the larger
spreading out into the topmost story. As she turned the
corner of this vast hive of habitation, — for many families
were located therein, — a gay cavalier, sumptuously at-
tired, swept round at the same moment. Man and maid
stood still for one instant. With unpropitious courtesy,
an unlucky gust turned aside Kate's veil of real Flanders
point ; and the two innocents, like silly sheep, were staring
into each other's eyes, without either apology or rebuke.
It did seem as though Kate were not without knowledge
of the courtly Ueau : a rich and glowing vermilion came
across her neck and face, like the gorgeous blush of
evening upon the cold bosom of a snow-cloud. But the



THE SEER. 15

youth eyed her with a cool and dehberate glance, stepping
aside carelessly as he passed by. She seemed to writhe
with some concealed anguish ; yet her lip curled proudly,
and her bosom heaved, as though striving to throw off,
with one last and desperate struggle, the oppression that
she endured. In this disturbed and unquiet fi-ame did
Kate pass on to her orisons.

It may be needful to pause, for a brief space, in our
narrative, whilst we give some account of this goodly
spark, who had so unexpectedly, as it might seem, unfitted
the lady for the due exercise of her morning devotions.

His dress was elegant and becoming, and of the most
costly materials. His hat was high and tapering, en-
circled by a rich band of gold and rare stones. It was
further ornamented by a black feather, drooping gently
towards the left shoulder. The brim was rather narrow ;
but then a profusion of curls fell from beneath, partly
hiding his lace collar of beautiful workmanship, and of
the newest device. His beard was small and pointed;
and his whiskers displayed that graceful wave, peculiar to
the high-bred gallants of the age. His neck was long,
and the elegant disposal of his head would have turned
giddy the heads of half the dames in the Queen's court.
He wore a crimson cloak, richly embroidered : this was
lined throughout with blue silk, and thrown negligently
on one side. His doublet was grey, with slit sleeves ; the
arm parts, towards the shoulder, wide and slashed ; — but
who shall convey an adequate idea of the brilliant green
breeches, tied far below the knee with yellow ribands,
red cloth hose, and great shoe-roses ? For ourselves, we
own our incompetence, and proceed, glancing next at his
goodly person. In size, he was not tall nor unwieldy,



16 THE SEER.

but of a reasonable stature, such as denotes health, ac-
tivity, and a frame capable of great endurance. He stepped
proudly along, his very gait indicating superiority.

The town-gallants looked on his person with envy, and
on his light rapier with mistrust. In sooth, he was a
proper man for stealing a lady's heart, either in hall or
bower. Many had been his victims ; — many were then
in the last extremities of love. But of him, it was cur-
rently spoken, that he had never yet been subjected to its
influence.

There be divers modes of falling into love. Some slip
in through means of themselves ; to wit, from sheer
vanity, being never so well pleased as when they are the
objects of admiration. Some, from sheer contradiction,
and from the well-known tendency of extremes to meet.
Some, for very idlesse ; and some for very love. But in
none of these modes had the boy Cupid made arrow-holes
through the heart of our illustrious hero ; for, as we be-
fore intimated, no yielding place did seem visible, as the
common discourse testified. How far this report was true,
the sequel of our history will set forth.

Now this gay gallant being the wonder and admiration
of the whole place, many were the unthrifty hours spent
in such profitless discourse by the wives and daughters
of the townsfolk, to the great discomfort and discredit of
their liege lords. He was at present abiding in the col-
lege, where John Dee had apartments distinct from the
warden's house, along with his former coadjutor and seer,
Edward Kelly. Since the last quarrel between these two
confederates, they had long been estranged; but Kelly had
recently come for a season to visit his old master : when
the Doctor returned from Trebona, in Bohemia, whence



THE SEER. 17

he had been invited back to his own country by Queen
Elizabeth, he having received great honours and emo-
luments from foreign princes. This youth, being son to
the governor of the castle at Trebona, was about to travel
for his improvement and understanding in foreign man-
ners. At the suit of his parents. Dee undertook the
charge of his education and safe return. Since then,
young Rodolf had generally resided under Dr. Dee's roof,
and accompanied him on his accession to the wardenship.
His accent was decidedly foreign, though he had resided
some years in Britain, but not sufficiently so for Man-
cestrian ears to distinguish it from a sort of lisping
euphuism, then fashionable at court, and amongst the
higher ranks of society. An appearance of mystery was
connected with his person. His birthplace and condition
were not generally divulged, and though of an open and
gallant bearing, yet, on this head, he was not very com-
municative. Mystery begets wonder and excitement — a
sort of interest usually attached to subjects not easily
understood. When it emanates from an object capable of
enthralling the affections, this feeling soon kindles ad-
miration, and admiration ripens into love. No wonder,
then, if all tender and compassionate dames were ready to
open upon him their dread artillery of sighs and glances,
and the more especially as it soon began to be manifest
that success was nigh hopeless. Tlie heart entrenched,
the wearer was impenetrable.

Kate's oddly-assorted brain had not failed to run a
rambling at times after the gallant stranger. He had
heard much of her beauty, and likewise of her uncertain
humours. Each fancied the opposite party impregnable ;
and this alone, if none other motive had arisen, formed a


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