The witch trial of Goody Turner
In the year 1657 the town of Basingstoke had a witch trial. The accused
witch in question was a woman by the name of Goody Turner. Turner had been
accused of killing a young boy and bewitching a girl, but the evidence was
dubious to say the least.
The boy was called James Searle and he was aged
eight when he died. He had been going to play with a neighbours children when he
had seen Turner. The boy was afraid of Turner and because of this fear he turned
to run away over a stile. When he turned he felt a blow to his leg and was
unable to walk after the blow. Searle lay in bed for the next twenty weeks and
became more and more feverish before finally dying.
The case against Turner regarding the girl was even
more precarious. The
girl suffered from hysterical fits and Turner was the only person who could calm
her down when no one else could even hold her.
By the year of the witch trial, 1657, the practice
of burning witches was no longer in use. If found guilty, Turner would probably
have been transported. Unfortunately there is no surviving record as to the
verdict of the trial, and Turners guilt or innocence.