The witch connection goes right back to the beginning of the 17th Century during the reign of James I. He lived in fear of rebellion and his suspicious nature led to an obsession with witchcraft. In 1612, two rival families led by two old women called Demdike and Chattox, were feared by local families who believed them to have special powers. In March 1612 Demdike's grand-daughter Alizon Device, whilst begging on the road to Colne, cursed a pedlar for refusing her some pins and rendered him paralysed. Later that month she was brought before the "Powers" and confessed to witchcraft. She also incriminated Demdike and Chattox, her daughter Ann and they were ordered to give evidence. In April 1612 Demdike confessed to evil deeds, claiming that the devil came into her and sucked out her blood leaving her "stark mad". The three women were sent to Lancaster to await trial along with ten other ‘witches’. Demdike died in prison whilst awaiting trial.
The Trial began on August 17th 1612 at Lancaster Castle were all the women were found guilty and executed
The story of the Pendle Witches is the best known example of alleged witchcraft in English history and can be followed by going on the Pendle Witches Trails, one by road, one by foot.
The Witches Trail
Newchurch-is home to St Mary's church with its mysterious 'Eye of God' a carving on the tower which was said to protect villagers from the local witches.
Faugh's Quarry - is a short walk from Newchurch and is where Demdike is said to have met the devil
Roughlee - was home to one of the witches, Alice Nutter. From the centre of the village is a short walk to Roughlee Old Hall(now a private residence) were there are spectacular scenic views of Blacko Tower.
Ashlar House - is where Demdike, Chattox and Anne Redfearn were interrogated on the 2nd april 1612 and sent for trial.
For full details click on the Witches car trail
Pendle Hill continues to be associated with witchcraft and, every Hallowe'en, large numbers of visitors climb it. It takes approximately one hour of steady climbing to reach the summit. On clear days the Lake District and the Isle of Man can be seen.
The Leeds-Liverpool Canal runs through Pendle and is one of the most scenic waterways in England. The canal is over 200 years old and 127 miles long and snakes its way through the valley alongside Colne, Foulridge and along to Salterforth, providing beautiful scenic walks along the towpath.
One of the most scenic parts of the canal is from Barrowford to Barnoldswick also featuring the Georgian 'Mile Tunnel' or the 'Foulridge Tunnel'. At one end of the tunnel is Foulridge Wharf, with its historic Lime Kiln. The wharf is also the boarding point for a popular canal trip "The Marton Emperor" run by Foulridge Canal Cruises
The countryside to the east of Colne takes the visitor to contrasting moorland scenery, offering excellent habitats for a variety of wildlife, including curlew, grouse, golden plover, lapwing, snipe, and kestrels and many more, along the hillsides towards Haworth and Bronte Country.
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015