A-Z of the Accused: Alice Noakes

Name: Alice Nokes or Noakes

Location: Lambourne, Essex

Accusations: When a servant of Thomas Spycer snatched and refused to return a glove from the pocket of Alice’s twenty-eight year old daughter, Alice vowed revenge on the man. Although he insisted it was only a bit of fun, as she declared “I will bounce him well enough,” the servant found himself suddenly unable to move his limbs, and, despite returning the glove, he was wheeled home in a wheelbarrow, remaining bedridden for just over a week.

Alice was also said to have accused her husband of sleeping with the wife of a man named Tailer or Taylor. Furthermore, she declared that the child of the woman would not live for long, a predicition that, unfortunately for Alice, came true. 

When spoken to in church by a local man about her behaviour and disagreement with Tailer’s wife, Alice declared that she “cared for none of them all as long as Tom held on her side.” It was taken that Alice was referring to her familiar demon, whom helped her with her terrible deeds. When a horse at plough belonging to the same man fell down dead after Alice felt slighted by his servant, fingers again pointed at Alice, despite the initial suspicion that the servant had whipped the horse too hard. 

Outcome: Alice was indicted for murder by witchcraft and found guilty of bewitching Elizabeth Barfott to death. She was sentenced to hang.

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