The Oundle Witches
The fullest details of the compact with the Devil, of the work of the familiars, and of the pranks played by the witches, as well as of the way in which evidence was obtained for their prosecution, are given in two old tracts dealing with the trial of Elinor Shaw, of Cotterstock, and Mary Phillips, of Oundle. These two women of evil repute were a by-word in the mouths of their neighbours, and to be revenged therefor entered into agreement with the devil, pawning their souls to him in return for certain powers of ill. In the course of nine months, "they had Kil'd by their Inchantments and Witchcraft ... 15 Children, eight Men, and six Women, tho' none was suspected of being Bewitch'd but those two Children and the Woman that they Dy'd for." In the same period, they also killed by witchcraft "40 Hoggs of several poor People, besides 100 Sheep, 18 Horses, and 30 Cows, even to the utter Ruin of several Families." Many "waggish tricks" are recorded of them, and much curious lore may be gleaned from the two tracts named, which were reprinted about twenty-five years ago.
These two women were condemned to a horrible death, "To be Hang'd till they are almost Dead, and then surrounded with Faggots, Pitch, and other Combustable matter, which being set on Fire, their Bodies are to be consumed to Ashes."
This appears to be the last execution for the crime in the county, or, indeed, in the country.
Bygone Northamptonshire, William Andrews, F.R.H.S., 1891