The Pendle Witches


It is the most famous witch trial of the 17th century, the case of the Pendle Witches. Twelve women were accused of witchcraft, and while one died, eleven went to trial. One was tried and found guilty at York while ten of the ‘witches’ were tried at Lancaster. Only one woman was found not guilty.

Six of the eleven ‘witches’ on trial came from two rival families in Pendle. Elizabeth Southerns (Old Demdike) and Anne Whittle (Mother Chattox) were the old, poverty stricken matriarchs of the Demdike and Chattox families respectively. For over fifty years, Old Demdike had been known as a witch and in the 17th century, it was an accepted part of village life that some village healers practised magic and dealt in herbs and medicines.

The 17th century was also a time when witchcraft was not only feared but also fascinated. King James I was greatly interested in witchcraft even before he became King of England in 1603. One of King James’s literary works, Daemonologie, instructed readers to condemn and prosecute both supporters and practitioners of witchcraft. As the scepticism of the King was heightened, the feelings of unrest and fear over witchcraft became familiar with his people.

The story of the Pendle Witches began with the altercation between one of the accused ‘witches’, Alizon Device, and John Law, a pedlar. While travelling, Alizon passed John Law on the road and asked for some pins though Law refused her request. It is said that Alizon cursed John Law and a short while after he suffered a stroke, for which he blamed Alizon and her mystical powers. When the incident was brought to trial, Alizon Device confessed that she had instructed the Devil to blame John Law. After further questioning, Alizon divulged that her grandmother, Old Demdike, and members of the rival Chattox family regularly practiced witchcraft. The two families had been feuding for years and for the Chattox family, Alizon’s accusations were just an act of revenge.


The trials of the Pendle Witches were held at Lancaster Castle on 17th and 19th August 1612. The dark, damp and dirty dungeon where the ‘witches’ were held were too much for Old Demdike to bear and she died before she could be brought to trial. One of the most surprising things about the Pendle Witch trials was the principal supplier of evidence. Jennet Device was only nine years old and usually wouldn’t have been allowed to testify in a trial because of her age. Under King James I’s system, all standard rules were suspended when giving evidence in a witch trial. Jennet gave evidence against her mother, sister and brother. It was reported that when the young girl spoke against her mother, Elizabeth, the accused witch had to be dragged from court screaming and cursing her daughter.

Alizon Device, Elizabeth Device, James Device, Anne Whittle, Anne Redferne, Alice Nutter, Katherine Hewitt, John Bulcock and Jane Bulcock were all found guilty at Lancaster. They were hanged at Gallows Hill on 20th August 1612. Elizabeth Southern lost her life while awaiting trial, and Alice Grey was found not guilty.


In the present day, Pendle Hill hosts a Halloween hilltop gathering every year and in the Borough of Pendle, the witches have become the inspiration for its tourism and heritage industries.

So this Halloween, why not pay a visit to Pendle Hill and relive the sorcery and paranormal goings-on that occurred there over 400 years ago. You’re sure to be in for a spooky surprise!

Quit clownin’ around

Over the past several years, I have noticed that there are a lot of – apparently, newsworthy articles about people dressing up as clowns, and deliberately frightening people.

From what I have read (unfortunately, I cannot find the post, as it was a couple of weeks ago), people randomly dressing as clowns, and just “appearing” to frighten people started back in the early 80’s, however, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago when it started to become somewhat of a craze.

I remember seeing a few news articles, about a couple of “clowns” appearing throughout the UK.  These people weren’t doing anything – they just seemed to stand around, and wave at people.  I thought it a bit creepy, to be honest.

Pennington Flash, near Wigan, Gtr. Manchester

Pennington Flash, near Wigan, Gtr. Manchester

In August, this year, there were reports of “clowns” lurking in and around the woods in the town of Greenville, South Carolina.  A young boy told his mum that he saw a couple of people dressed in clown suits, acting suspicious, and making strange noises, so she called the police.

At the time it seemed like one of those weird-story-of-the-week things, however, that was just the catalyst for local news hysteria across the USA.  Since the initial clown incident, there has been a rash of clown sightings, almost certainly due to copycat pranksters who have a bad sense of humour and decided to start celebrating Halloween early.

Just a few examples: a man in Kentucky was arrested for dressing up as a clown, and hiding in the woods.  In Alabama, a woman called the police because she was terrified after seeing a man dressed like a clown in her local shopping centre car park.  A clown in New York chased a teen out of the subway…

There have been sightings throughout the USA, and the craze seems to be starting to rise up within the UK – and I suppose most of Europe, too.  Of course, each sighting brings more attention to the phenomenon.

It’s likely most people really did see a clown lurking in the woods. But we also know that people claim to see things all the time that they probably didn’t, like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster (although the latter still needs to be proven that he doesn’t exist to me).

Seeing a clown wielding a knife would scare anyone and as pranks go, this one isn’t funny.  I’ve heard lots of tales going on throughout the UK of clowns with hammers, cricket bats, knives, and even a shotgun at one point, but I don’t really know what to make of it all.

A warning from the Avon and Somerset Police, in the UK.

A warning from the Avon and Somerset Police, in the UK.

What about being afraid of clowns?  Is that a real phobia?

It is a “real thing” in the sense that there is a word for “fear of clowns,” which is Coulrophobia. But just because there’s a word for it doesn’t mean that it’s legitimate.  The term was made up by adding “phobia” to the word “coulro” (which means “stilt-walking), but the term is not recognised within the mental health and counselling world.

It’s unclear whether being creeped out by Ronald McDonald deserves to be called a clinical “phobia.”  There are very few cases of people who are actually diagnosed with Coulrophobia and it’s unlikely that, except in the most extreme cases, anyone would need diagnosis and treatment.  This current panic notwithstanding, clowns aren’t that common, so you can just avoid them.

They're frightening children

They’re frightening children

I’ve also noticed that there are a lot of pages and groups popping up on the infamous “Facebook”, not only for the clown sightings, but also clown hunting pages too.

When it comes down to it, let’s say that some poor dude is on his way home from a fancy dress party (well, it’s got to be a pathetic one if he’s dressed like a clown, ha ha), and he bumps in to one of these groups of so-called ‘vigilantes’?  Knowing from what I’ve read on a few of these pages, that man who has had to spend the evening from hell, dressed as a clown, would hardly make it home alive.

It get’s closer to home though.  I also noticed on one of these pages, a photograph posted, entitled “on Bewley Drive, Kirkby”.  That’s about a 10 minute drive from me, and if I’m being honest with you, I think if I seen one of those clowns hanging around near my house, I’d freak out, lock the windows and doors, and not come out until morning.  Yeah – I suppose I have Coulrophobia.

This was taken abouts 10 minutes away from where I live...

This was taken abouts 10 minutes away from where I live…

I had to laugh, yesterday, when I read a meme…  “People have been too busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, that no-one ever saw the clown apocalypse coming…”

What worries me now is what these peoples’ intentions are.  Are they doing it just to get laughs by frightening people, or is there something much more sinister behind it?  I’d imagine there are plenty of messed up minds out there who are seeing this as an opportunity to cause more than just mischief.

So, what are your thoughts on the matter?  Do you think this is a ‘thing’, or are people just clowning around?  Have there been any sightings near you?  Are you a fan of clowns?



10 things that made Christmas in the 80’s the best…

I’ve neglected this blog a little recently, so I think it’s about time that I brought a little “Festiveness” (is that even a word?  No?  Oh well…  I like it, so I’m going to use it anyway) to you, in the form of a list!  Afterall, who doesn’t love a good list?  🙂

Christmas just isn’t the same nowadays is it? We find it very difficult to feel that magic we felt as kids. The whole experience has changed so much over the last couple of decades, with Internet shopping, a million TV channels and a whole host of electronic gadgetry available to us, it’s easy to forget the simpler times.

In no particular order, let’s give you my top ten reasons as to why Christmas was so much better in the 80’s.

  1. TV Times / Radio Times


With no internet or smartphones the only way to find out what was coming up on TV was on teletext or in TV listing mags. The TV Times and Radio Times were the go to TV guides and of course, back in the day, you had to buy both to know what was on all the channels. When the bumper Christmas Edition was released no one could stop us sitting and circling everything we were going to watch over the festive period.

2.  Selection boxes


Let’s face it they were just better back then.  The bars were bigger, they tasted better and they had some awesome treats inside!  Oh, you also definitely got your moneys’ worth.

3.  The Argos catalogue


The Argos catalogue, or any other catalogue for that matter (remember Index?!).  We couldn’t browse the internet back then so this is what we used to find things to put on our list for Santa!

4.  The music


At least we had a couple of REAL Christmas N0.1’s in the 80s!  The charts were filled with Christmas classics from Shakin’ Stevens, The Pogues, Band Aid, Paul McCartney and Wham!

5.  The movies


We had some classic Christmas movies in the 80s.  They were that good they are repeated every year on TV!  Santa Claus The Movie was one of my favourites, at the time.  What was yours?

6.  TV Christmas specials


Christmas specials were the business in the 80s.  What ever your favourite TV show was, I bet they did a Christmas special. Some of the Kids Christmas Specials were a little interesting to say the least!

7.  Decorations


They may seem a bit old fashioned and out of style now but back in the day the louder, the shinier, and the brighter, the better!  These decorations were hung all over our house – attached to the ceiling with a drawing pin!

8.  Christmas shopping


Remember when we actually had to leave the house to do our Christmas Shopping?  The high streets were packed at this time of year with people trying to find the perfect gift for their loved ones.  Shops went all out with the Christmas decorations, and you couldn’t carry all of the FREE carrier bags you’d been given to get your purchases home!  Oh, and let’s not forget, that for some reason, it was also much easier to buy gifts to people too!

9.  Christmas present hunt


I’m sure kids all over the world still do this, but do you remember when your parents weren’t looking, you used to dive into the cupboards and wardrobes to try and get a sneak peak at all the gifts they had bought you? You’d have to be quick though before they sent them all off to Santa for him to deliver on Christmas Day!

10.  The toys


Toys in the 80s were just better.  There’s no doubt about it all of the things we had as kids were well…  Just cooler than the toys that are around now!  I never did get that Mr Frosty though (thanks mum) 😦  Ha ha x

Homemade Toad in the Hole

Ooo, you’re in for a treat today, stalkers.  Today I’m making a ‘Toad in the Hole’ from scratch…  No cheating here!  I have even made the batter from scratch today 🙂

If you’re curious as to what a “Toad in the Hole” is, simply keep scrolling…  Or, you can always Google for pictures.  No, it’s not an actual frog in a hole…  It’s pork sausages baked inside a Yorkshire pudding.  And it’s so easy and cheap to make…  It’s also a family favourite.


8 pork link sausages

Oil (vegetable, olive, sunflower…  The choice is yours)

100g plain flour

1 egg

150ml water

150ml milk (full fat / whole milk is best)


  • Preheat your oven to 220C (200C for fan assisted).
  • If required, separate your sausages, and line in the base of an oven proof dish, ensuring enough of a gap in between each sausage.
  • Drizzle about a tablespoon of oil over the sausages.


  • Place in to the oven for about 20 minutes or so, until the sausages have started to brown.
  • Now it’s time to make the batter!  Sieve the flour in to a mixing bowl, and make a ‘well’ in the middle.
  • Crack the egg in to the well, and mix lightly.
  • Add the milk and water slowly to the flour mixture, stirring constantly.  I put the water and milk in to a jug, and poured in to the flour mix whilst using an electric whisk.  The mixture should be of a creamy texture when it’s all combined.


  • When the sausages are cooked, quickly pour the flour mixture over the top of the sausages, and return to the oven for a further 30-40 minutes.



  • The batter mix should be a lovely golden brown colour when done.


  • Serve one its’ own or with a yummy gravy.  Enjoy x


If you’re wondering, ask your 4 year old.

We were just on our way home from a quick Asda run, and a fire engine pulled out of the side road.

Hubby said to me “ahh, you don’t see many of those any more”, to which I agreed.

I pulled the car in to the same road, where the fire engine had turned out from, to see another fire engine, two ambulances and one of the yellow CCTV police vans.  There were loads of people around, but we couldn’t really see anything.

Looking out of the rear window, Gning voiced his idea on what had happend; “I think someone must have been stung by a buzzy bee”.

Yep.  Valid reason for all the attention right there.

A Crafty Parent Interview – Button & Bobbin

I am so pleased to have had two amazing parent crafters to have interviewed.  I do hope that you enjoyed reading my previous post – ‘Humming Bird Gems’ – and that you’ll enjoy this post just as much.


11263062_10206892901746119_3239658561785716974_nHello! I’m Clara Rowland and I currently live in Aylestone, Leicester. I am the owner/creator of Button & Bobbin which started trading in January 2014, which is about the same time I started experimenting with my craft. My children are Thomas, 3 and a half, and Maxwell who is 2.
Up until April 2014, I managed a team of 20+ in a call centre. A very stressful job, but I thoroughly enjoyed it at the time. After having my boys and being spoilt with maternity leave, I realised I wanted to stay at home with my children. So I waved goodbye to office hours and overtime, and started making Christmas cards while my boys slept. In December 2013, we had some fun with salt dough, making handprints and gift tags, and so my clay crafting addiction began! Clay decorations were never my intention, but demand took over, so I’ve rolled with it.
My first creations were Christmas cards, but when my friends spotted my salt dough gift tags they encouraged me to sell them. I’ve come a long way since, and now make custom clay decorations for all sort of occasions. My favourite make is my clay kitchen tags. These were a big turning point for me. I made a set for myself and my Facebook followers went crazy for them. I’ve since made 100’s of them and they’ve remained a firm favourite with my lovely customers.
As a Work At Home Mum, I am able to keep some control over my working hours, and work around my children. I am Tommy and Maxwell’s mummy first, and Button & Bobbin is all about me. It’s taken a long time, but with the help of my boys starting pre-school in September, I’m now finding my work/life balance. Although, I have to admit, I do pull a fair few very late nights when Button & Bobbin gets busy.
My children are fascinated when they watch me at work. They love to make their own creations with the help of play dough and little rolling pins. We make decorations together every Christmas now. I love that we now have this little tradition. Since the children are still very young, most of our creative play is messy play. A day with the paints out means I’m likely to end up with a mini Incredible Hulk as Maxwell likes to cover himself head to toe in paint which is seemingly always green!
If I were to host a dinner party, I’d definitely invite Nigella Lawson and Kirstie Allsopp. When I grow up, I want to have their apparent grace and elegance, and seemingly never ending talent to be able to make the most beautiful of things! I’ve always admired their passion and skills in their “crafts”. My third guest would be Tom Hardy…. Do I need to supply a reason for him?!
I’d serve goats cheese to start as it’s easy but delicious. I do an awesome Christmas lunch, so it’d be turkey and all the trimmings for our main course. I love to bake when I get the chance. I’d dish up a nice big fat chocolate fudge cake for dessert. I’m guessing they’ll be staying the night, as they won’t be able to move after that menu!
My top three pieces of advice for a new crafting business would be, patience, perseverance and confidence. It takes time to build up and retain your custom base. There are some very lucky crafters who just take off with what seems like little effort. This doesn’t happen for the majority of us, and that’s ok. Just have a clear plan in mind and go with it. Don’t give up! Keep chipping away, keep on crafting and showing off your skills. Confidence is a big one. Fake it until you make it, as they say. Don’t doubt yourself, don’t think you’re not good enough. Customer’s are  buying into you as well as your craft, so being confident and proud of your creations/pricing/brand is so important. Every order placed is still a massive boost of confidence for me. I am both humbled and filled with pride when I see a new liker join my Facebook page, or when I hear the Etsy “kerching!”.
You can visit Button & Bobbin here:

The 10 Most Hated Foods in the UK

A survey by Save the Children has uncovered the 10 most hated foods in the country.

10.  Marzipan.  The super sweet cake topper came in at 10th place, with 26% of people saying that they can’t stand it.  Here’s a tip for you…  If you hate marzipan, like I do, you can cover your cakes with a simple buttercream instead.

9.  Liquorice.  This is clearly not a nationwide favourite, as 28% of people voted it as their worst food.  I happen to agree.

8.  Olives.  The salty texture of olives saw them get a whopping 33% of the vote.  I would love to say that I do like olives, but after several attempts at both the green and black variety, I find the flavour too much.

7.  Blue cheese.  34% of the people asked said they could not stand the strong flavours of blue cheese.  I agree.

6.  Sushi.  It may be the idea more than the actual flavour, but raw fish dish sushi got a whopping 37% of the vote.  However, sushi is the type of rice used…  I have often bought a “vegetarian” sushi box from my local Tesco, and have found it quite enjoyable.  I wouldn’t eat the fish though…

5.  Black Pudding.  Again, the idea of this one may actually be worse than the taste.  Black pudding may be made with blood, but the taste is quite similar to sausages.  Why not try a little of someone elses’ black pudding before you write off the idea completely?  You may be surprised and quite like it.  For me, a fully cooked breakfast wouldn’t be complete without a big slab of black pudding.

4.  Tofu.  It’s a food that you don’t often come across unless you are a vegetarian, but tofu is divisive enough to make it to the fourth spot with 42% of the vote.  I cannot comment on this one…  I’ve actually never tried it, and if I am being hones, I don’t really want to.

3.  Anchovies.  These little fish are packed with a deep salty flavour so it’s not a surprise that not everyone is a fan – 45% of people said they can’t stand these little fishy fellas.  Me included.

2.  Liver.  It may be packed full of nutrients, but it’s clearly not the top of everyones’ shopping list.  46% of people said they don’t like the old fashioned food.  Well, although I don’t eat it often, I can always tell if my iron levels are running a little low, because I have a craving for liver every now and again.  Plus it’s just delicious in an onion gravy, served with mashed potatoes.

And coming in at number 1…

Oysters.  The most hated food in the country, 47% of people said they hated the posh treat.  Again, I cannot comment, and I intend to keep it that way.  My dad has eaten oysters on several occasions, and he has said it’s ‘just like swallowing snot…’.  Not something I’d like to attempt to agree or disagree.

So, do you love or hate any of these foods? Are there some foods missed out that should definitely be on the list? Comment below