Witchcraft near Wisbech

Enid Porter, Cambridgeshire Customs and Folklore

Witch's cauldron
Malcolm Lidbury www.commons.wikimedia.org

In the 19th century an old woman named Mrs Reeve, of Lake’s End near Wisbech, was credited with witchcraft powers. The following account was recorded in 1936 from a man whom she bewitched in 1878 so that he became covered with lice:

Old Mrs Reeve’s darter had done wrong and I spoke the truth about her so the old gal said she’d do I don’t know what to me and my mate. One night I came home all lousy, but I went to work the next day. I was yardman at the time – it were 58 years ago, the year we got married. There were another young chap working with me and when he come up at dinner time I says to him, ‘Don’t you come near me, Twister, ‘cos I’m lousy.’ And I say to him ‘If I don’t get rid of these lice before I git hoom I’ll shake hell over that old gal.

Well, when Twister got home this old gal Reeve was at his mother’s house, and he say to his mother, ‘Mother, Bob Crawford’s lousy’. When he told this to his mother the told her just what I’d said at dinner time so that old Mrs Reeve she heard it, and when she went home she were took bad and by the time I got home my head were as clean as it is now.

See also