A-Z of the Accused: Anne Maidenhead

Name: Anne Cade, alias Maidenhead

Location: Great Holland, Essex

Date: 1645

Accusations: According to her confession, around 1623, Anne had been initiated into witchcraft when she received four imps or familiars from her mother. Three of these were like mice, and called James, Prickeare and Robin. The fourth, in the form of a sparrow, was, fittingly, named Sparrow.

 At this time, Anne agreed to deny God and Christ to seal the deal. She then set out to torment those she disliked. One mouse was sent to Robert Freeman of Little Clapton – it nipped his knee and drove him lame, the man dying before six months had passed. 
Anne sent Prickeare to kill John Rowlinson’s daughter in Little Clapton, and John Tillet. Sparrow got revenge when the wife of George Parks refused Anne milk; their child was dead soon after. Samuel Ray’s wife and child also died at Sparrow’s hand over refusal to settle a debt of two pence.

Outcome: Anne was indicted for bewitching to death John Rowlinson’s daughter Susan, and Grace Ray at the Essex Summer Sessions held at Chelmsford on 17 July. Despite pleading not guilty, she was found guilty on the first count and hanged – sadly an unsurprising outcome during the period Matthew Hopkins and his associates were operating in the locality.

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