Letter from Clement Whitfield to the town clerk

Cousin Convers,

My commendations unto you, and to your wife. For answer of your letter, this much. I have thought good to write unto you: I am come very lately from London, and I cannot be well never since I came home, therefore I can’t possibly come, but I have sent you my mind and the truth.

My wife when she lay sick, did always use the speeches as followeth, that

Goody Bennett and her daughter Annis had bewitched her, and I could not persuade her to the contrary in all her sickness.

For many times she did awake me suddenly in my sleep, and said to me,

“Look, husband, where Anne Bennett stands at my bed’s head. And she hath set me my time how long I shall live.”

And always Master Taylor’s wife hath told my daughters that my wife should not live past that Christmas that she did die the twelvetide then next after. And all that while that my wife lay in her sickness, Master Taylor’s wife and her mother could no sooner see any of my children, but they did enquire in what manner my wife did fare, and in what sort she was in. And they told them as near as they could, and Mistress Taylor and her mother did say, they knew her disease, and that it would cost her her life.

For she was sick a year and a half, and lay pining away. And by that time she had been sick half a year, she and her mo--- would get my children and examine them, to know in what case she lay, and how her sickness took her. And at that [tim-], which was almost a year before her death, they –wo—tell my children that she would not live past the --- following, and no more she did not, for she died in the twelve days h-.

This is as much as I can say- if I were and [in] your court. And this [thus] I cease, written from h--- this third of December, in haste, by your loving cokinsman.

[RYE 47/74/11]