BRITAINS MOST HAUNTED WITCH PRISON | The Cage | S05E01 | Shadow Paranormal

BRITAINS MOST HAUNTED WITCH PRISON | The Cage | S05E01 | Shadow Paranormal

The team travel to St Osyth to explore the history of the witch trials that occured in the village during the 16th century and see if the ghosts of the prisoners accused of witchcraft remain in what is said to be one of the countries most haunted buildings...

Before being renamed to commemorate St Osyth, the village was called Chich (also spelt Chiche or Chick), from an Old English word meaning "bend", in reference to St Osyth Creek. Thomas Darcy, the first Baron Darcy of Chiche was buried in St Osyth.

St Osyth was the subject of an episode of Channel 4's Time Team programme, "Lost Centuries of St Osyth", (series 12 episode 9, first broadcast in February 2005). The programme sought to uncover the early origins of the village, which was presumed to have grown up about the same time as the Priory, in the 12th century. Many of the investigations around the current village centre found little evidence of settlement earlier than the 14th century; it appeared that the early village centre lay some way off, between the Priory and the river.

The village was a focus for the St Osyth witch persecutions in the 16th and 17th centuries. A total of ten local women were hanged as a result. In 1921 the skeletons of two women were discovered in the garden of a house in the village. One was claimed to be the witch Ursley Kempe, who was the first to be prosecuted. The skeletons became a local tourist attraction.

The St Osyth Witches is a common reference to the convictions for witchcraft near Essex in 1582. A village near Brightlingsea in Essex, St Osyth was home to fourteen women who were put on trial for witchcraft, some of whom were duly convicted according to law

The first to be accused was a woman called Ursula Kemp. It was through her reputation of being able to undo curses that had been placed upon people by the means of witchcraft that led to her own accusation of witchcraft by Grace Thurlowe.

The testimony of Ursula Kemp's eight-year-old son helped to secure a conviction: partly because of her son's evidence and partly because of the court's promise to treat her with clemency, she confessed to the art of witchcraft, and in this confession (as was often the case) she implicated others that she knew.

The charges brought against Kemp ranged from preventing beer from brewing to causing a death through the means of sorcery, the punishment for which was execution.

When the trial ended Kemp was executed by hanging along with Elizabeth Bennet, who was found guilty of murdering four people through witchcraft and confessed to having two familiars.
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