A-Z of the Accused: Margaret Ellnore

Name: Margaret Ellnore

Date: 1694

Location: Ipswich

Accusations: Francis Hutchinson recorded in his Historical Essay Concerning Witchcraft that when a man named Rudge refused to let Margaret Ellnore a house, his wife fell ill soon afterwards and Margaret was blamed. The woman remained unwell for three years, only improving during the periods when Margaret was arrested and chained up; as soon as Margaret was released, Mistress Rudge once again fell ill. Further accusations were made against her by others, who said they had fallen ill after likewise quarelling with Margaret. To make matters worse, it was said that Margaret’s Grandmother and aunt had previously been hanged for witches, (the grandmother having passed her own imps on to her children) something that made her guilt all the more believable as witchcraft was known to run in families.

Outcome: One of the later witchcraft trials to take place in England, Margaret Ellnore had the good luck to be tried by Sir John Holt, a judge who was responsible for acquitting several accused witches during his career and had a reputation for leniency where this particular crime was concerned. Margaret was accordingly found innocent of the crimes of which she was accused. It seems that Holt’s leniency only bought Margaret a few more years; a burial record for Maragret Elmore in Ipswich suggests she died in 1697.

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