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Mother Redcap of Horseheath


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#1 froglover

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 03:33 AM

I have a question, does anyone know the personal name of the reputed witch known as "Mother Redcap" who died in Horseheath near Cambridge UK in 1926? The folklorist Enid Porter has written that her death was covered in the Sunday papers at the time but here in Australia those are just the papers my local research library doesn't keep!

She seems to have been an interesting character, although certainly feared even the extremely hostile Montague Summers records that she was sought after as a healer.

There seems to have been a very high witch-density in the area of England around Cambridge....it is also one of the few areas where there is a reasonably strong tradition of "social witches". This potentially has some histroical importance as some interesting people went to Cambridge, Aleister Crowley of course, and Jane E Harrison who has been credited with launching the Triple Goddess into modern culture

Susan Cooper (c1796 -1878) of Whittlesford was another witch from the area, she was described in some detail under the pseudonym "Mrs Smith" in the 1905 edition of Folklore. (I was the one who though the magic of the internet was able to join the dots and identify "Mrs Smith" as Susan Cooper.)It was an interesting article from a comparatively friendly viewpoint. Whittlesford is well known for the sheela-na-gig on the local church. Then there is Jabez Few from nearby Willingham, who died in the late 1920s and there are others on record, an area of high witch-density like I say.

But anyway, getting back to Mother Redcap, it would be interesting to know her personal name. And...... can anyone tell me why "Mother Redcap" is such a common nick-name for witches?


#2 Jason

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 05:15 AM

It is indeed an interesting subject. I came across many references to Mother Redcap when I was looking into Horseheath.

Obviously the title Mother Redcap was a generic one for ale-wives and witches. Redcap is a malevolent goblin, elf, fairy, imp. And obviously as im sure you will already know, she commanded imps and one has the name of redcap.

Also redcap is one of the many regional slang terms for for fly agaric, so I also think that its not a stretch to say that Mother Redcap could also be another generic term for one who crosses the hegde, a true hedge witch. It is a term I have come across before in this context. Redcap was used in an old rhyme said before setting out on a journey and also a flying spell in some case :

'Mullein and Rue and Redcap too, hie me over to........'

So again the connection of flying, the metaphor for transvection or astral travel. So its not a great leap to say the Term Mother Redcap was another slang term for a witch / hedge witch. But then there is the definition of Redcap as Fairies, elf, golbins etc. As always with these things there are a multitude of possibilities and very much dependent on who you talk to, where your source material comes from and what region its from.

I dont really know any more than that. Hope it may of some help.

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#3 Grimr

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 06:40 PM

Nigel Pennick sees a "Red Cap" as a magical garment worn by East Anglian practitioners of the Nameless Art - that being said it could explain why so many witches in the area claim the title of Mother Red Cap. As far as I have seen there are two Mother Red Caps connected with Witchcraft in the East Anglian area - one was a rather long time ago and the other was in the 1920's(?) I believe.
"Nothing is truly forgotten about the Arte, for within it's own domain - The Circle - the spirits will speak to those with ears to hear." - Andrew D. Chumbley

"And thus the Flesh of Clay was flayed, and from Earth's greenery, a New Flesh made!"

#4 froglover

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 06:40 AM


Also redcap is one of the many regional slang terms for for fly agaric,


Now that I suspected but did not know.

I've read that the juice of a fly agaric squeezed into a shot of whisky is/was a traditional drink for Scottish poachers, I'm wondering if this may help explain the otherwise puzzling connection between "ale-wives" and witches. I notice that there are a number of pubs in England that use the name "Mother Redcap", at least one of them was a well-known smugglers' base.

Grimr, you mention two other East Anglian "Mother Redcaps", off -hand I can only think of one, she of Wallasea Island...


#5 SeaPriestess

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 12:46 PM

The colour red was associated with the underworld - and so wearing red would connect you to Witchcraft. Most commonly British Witches were described wearing red and green, which were seen as faerie colours, and particularly dangerous when combined together - from a Christian perspective.

#6 mcdee2005

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 04:35 PM

there is also a saying that goes back a bit
"Red and Green should never be seen, except for on the head of an Irish Queen"

It was mentioned earlier that the Sunday papers covered here death, having gone through a few from 1926 i have yet to find any mention of Mother Redcap but that is not to say that it was reported as so.

I have however found this if it is of any intrest

"Horseheath, Cambridgeshire
Renowned for its witches well into the 20th Century, Horseheath was the home of the most famous Daddy Witch who lived in a hut by the sheep-pond in Garret’s Close, and was said to have gained her knowledge from a book called “The Devil’s Plantation”. Local tradition has it that when she died in 1860, she was buried in the middle of the road which leads to Horseheath Green and that her grave remains dry when it rains because of the heat given off by her body.

Mother Red Cap who died in 1926 was the last of the well-known Horseheath witches. She inherited her imps from her predecessor and named them Bonnie, Red Cap, Blue Cap and Jupiter and Venus. In 1928 one villager claimed that Mother Red Cap was often seen accompanied by various animals, by custom no witch can die until she has given her imps to a successor and a man is alleged to have delivered Mother Red Cap’s imps to another living in the village."

Edited by mcdee2005, 17 October 2009 - 05:07 PM.
More Info


#7 Michele

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 05:15 PM

I am not overly well-read, but I'd always assumed that Mother Red Cap was the red-topped mushroom used for flying....

I tried mushrooms once as a teenager, the walls breathed a bit but nothing else. Was probably the wrong type, though (and the wrong intention, lol).

M


#8 Grimr

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 06:27 AM

"Horseheath, Cambridgeshire
Renowned for its witches well into the 20th Century, Horseheath was the home of the most famous Daddy Witch who lived in a hut by the sheep-pond in Garret’s Close, and was said to have gained her knowledge from a book called “The Devil’s Plantation”. Local tradition has it that when she died in 1860, she was buried in the middle of the road which leads to Horseheath Green and that her grave remains dry when it rains because of the heat given off by her body.

Mother Red Cap who died in 1926 was the last of the well-known Horseheath witches. She inherited her imps from her predecessor and named them Bonnie, Red Cap, Blue Cap and Jupiter and Venus. In 1928 one villager claimed that Mother Red Cap was often seen accompanied by various animals, by custom no witch can die until she has given her imps to a successor and a man is alleged to have delivered Mother Red Cap’s imps to another living in the village."


These are the two Mother Red Caps I was referring too. Thank you :)
I can see the reference to Fly Agaric however as well.

"Nothing is truly forgotten about the Arte, for within it's own domain - The Circle - the spirits will speak to those with ears to hear." - Andrew D. Chumbley

"And thus the Flesh of Clay was flayed, and from Earth's greenery, a New Flesh made!"

#9 owlblink

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 02:06 PM

Interesting thread, thanks Froglover!
Do not do what you desire - do what is necessary

#10 mcdee2005

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 08:01 PM

The title "Mother Red Cap" was used as a generic title for ale-wives and witches alike. Of the women called by this title, the first well-known Mother Red Cap had a child at 15 by a man called Gipsy George. George was hanged at Tyburn for stealing sheep. (Tyburn was an extreme western suburb of London, and executions took place there for many centuries. As such some 50,000 people were put to death here over the 600 or so years that it served as a place of execution from the 12th century. The form of execution was often the ritual torture of being hanged, drawn and quartered.)

Mother Red Cap then took up with a man called Darby, who disappeared after a few months of drunken quarrelling and was never seen again. Then her parents were convicted of killing a girl by black magic and were hanged. She took up with a third lover call Picher, who before long was found in her oven, burnt to a cinder. She was tried for his murder but was acquitted, after a witness declared that he often took refuge in the oven to escape her cruel tongue, and could well have been burnt by accident. She then became something of a recluse, but was occasionally seen in the lanes and hedgerows, collecting herbs and berries.

The night she died, people declared that they saw the devil walk into her cottage, but no one saw him come out. She was found the next morning, sitting by a pot on the fire, her cat beside her. When the cat was given some of the contents to drink, it's hair fell off in two hours, and the cat died soon after.

A old rhyme, said to be used by cunning folk when they set out on journeys "Mullein and rue, and red- cap too, hie me over to ______ ." (The blank being the place you are bound to.) Sometimes it is given as "Yarrow and rue." In several tales, it is presented as a flying spell.


#11 froglover

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 01:01 AM

there is also a saying that goes back a bit
"Red and Green should never be seen, except for on the head of an Irish Queen"

It was mentioned earlier that the Sunday papers covered here death, having gone through a few from 1926 i have yet to find any mention of Mother Redcap but that is not to say that it was reported as so.


Looking back at Enid Porter's book "Cambridgeshire Customs and Folklore" she says the article was in the Sunday Press of 1926, this may be the name of a paper rather than a generic reference, I'll check. In this book she doesn't name the "witch of Horseheath" as Mother Recap although she does so in her book on East Anglian folklore.

The lovely Montague Summers (in Witchcraft and Black Magic) repeats that Mother Redcap died in 1926 but says there was an article on her in the Sunday Chronicle 9 September 1926. ( It is possible that Enid Porter was confused but she seems to be fairly reliable)

Enid Porter quotes the local folklorist Catherine Parsons for her information on Mother Redcap, to the effect that she came from the nearby small village of Castle Camps and inherited her imps from her sister....but a name would be good to find, that would enable birth and death and census reords to be searched.......

Edited by froglover, 19 October 2009 - 01:01 AM.
His for her, typo.


#12 mcdee2005

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 04:13 PM

A bit more info for those who are intrested : this also contains some names


She was a well-known shrew of Kentish Town, daughter of one Jacob Bingham, a local brick-maker, who had married the daughter of a Scotch pedlar manifestly not of any high moral character as shown by her later acts and the general mistrust which attended them. They had one daughter, Jinny, who in wickedness outdid her parents. She was naturally warm-blooded and had a child when she was sixteen by a man of no account, George Coulter, known as Gipsy George. Whatever affection may have existed between them was cut short by his arrest — and subsequent execution at Tyburn for sheepstealing. In her second quasi-matri- monial venture Jinny lived a cat-and-dog life with a man called Darby who spent his time in getting drunk and trying to get over it. Number Two'send was also tragic. After a violent quarrel with his companion he disappeared. Then there was domestic calm for a while, possibly due to the fact that Bingham and his wife were being tried also on a charge of witchcraft, complicated with another capital charge of procuring the death of a young woman. They were both hanged and thereafter Jinny found time for another episode of love-mak-
ing and took up with a man called Pitcher. He too disappeared, but his body, burned almost to a cinder, was discovered in a neighbouring oven. Jinny was tried for murder, but escaped on the plea that the man often took refuge in the oven when he wished to get beyond reach of the woman's venomous tongue, to which fact witness was borne by certain staunch companions of Miss Bingham.Jinny's third venture towards happy companionship, though it lasted much longer, was attended with endless bitter quarrelling, and came to an equally tragic end, had at the beginning a spice of romance. This individual, whose name has seemingly not been recorded, being pursued in Commonwealth times for some unknown offence, had sought her aid in attempting to escape. This she had graciously accorded, with the consequence that they lived together some years in the greatest unhappiness.

At length he died — of poison, but by whom administered did not transpire at the inquest. For the rest of her life Miss Bingham, who was now old, lived under the suspicion of being a witch. Her ostensible occupation was as a teller of fortunes and a healer of odd diseases — occupations which singly or together make neither for personal esteem or general confidence. Her public appearances were usually attended by hounding and baiting by the rabble; and whenever anything went wrong in her neighbourhood the blame was, with overt violence of demeanour, attributed to her. She did not even receive any of the respect usually shown to a freeholder — which she was, having by her father's death become owner of a house which he had built for himself with his own hands on waste ground. Her only protector was that usual favourite of witches, a black cat, whose devotion to her and whose savage nature, accompanied by the public fear shown for an animal which was deemed her "familiar," caused the mob to flee before its appearance.

The tragedy and mystery of her life were even exceeded by those of her death. When, having been missed for some time, her house was entered she, attended only by her cat and with her crutch by her side, was found crouching beside the cold ashes of her extinct fire. In the tea-pot beside her was some liquid, seemingly brewed from herbs.

Willing hands administered some of this to the black cat, whose hair, within a very short time, fell off. The cat forthwith died. Then the clamour began. Very many people suddenly remembered having seen, after her last appearance in public, the Devil entering her house. No one, however, had seen him come out again. What a pity it was that no veracious scribe or draughtsman was present in the crowd which had noticed the Devil's entry to the house. In such case we might have got a real likeness of His Satanic Majesty — a thing which has long been wanted — and the opportunities of
obtaining which are few.

One peculiar fact is recorded of Madame Damnable's burial; her body was so stiff from the rigormortis, or from some other cause, that the undertakers had to break her limbs before they could put her body in the coffin.


#13 froglover

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 01:31 AM


The lovely Montague Summers (in Witchcraft and Black Magic) repeats that Mother Redcap died in 1926 but says there was an article on her in the Sunday Chronicle 9 September 1926. ( It is possible that Enid Porter was confused but she seems to be fairly reliable)


Oh nuts, a typo of the most annoying sort. "9 September 1928" not 1926. Died in 1926, Sunday Chronicle article in 1928. "Sunday Press" article in 1926, maybe, Enid Porter says.

This isn't just idle curiosity, it would be very interesting to know if Mother Redcap was buried according to the rites of the Established Church, in consecrated ground. This is not a silly question, the well-known witch Susan Cooper of nearby Whittlesford apparently was. On the face of it, at least, so was Old George Pickingill of southern Essex. The attitude of the Church of England to operative witches needs further examination.....there are cases on record of the local vicar protecting old women who were apparently falsely accused of witchcraft by their neighbours, and that needs no explanation. But a willingness to give Susan Cooper and Goerge Pickingill and company Christian burial is another matter and does need explanation.

I stand open to correction by a local but my understanding is that East Anglia is or at least was in the 19th century something of a dissenting protestant stronghold, the Established Church was in a minority there although the gentry and aspirants to the gentry adhered to it. Gipsies also professed the Established Church, and the gipsy presence was (and I believe is) significant in East Anglia. But the farmers and shopkeepers were chapel not church and in England at least it was chapel more than church which had the form as witch-hunters.

I am suspecting that some of the the sophisticated classicists who could be found in the Established clergy were willing to see the powers the witches dealt with as pagan rather than demonic.....to for example see Dionysus where the less sophisticated protestant could only see Satan; and Dionysus as the classicist would know was a foerunner of Christ. It really is worthy of remark that the church of Whittlesford, not in some obscure location but in walking distance from a major university, displayed on its wall a sexually explicit sheela-na-gig right through the supposedly repressed Victorian era.

Also, the very fact that Mother Redcap's personal name is avoided makes me feel that a piece of the jigsaw would fall into place if it was known. She seems to have been part of a family tradition, (she inherited her familiars from her sister and passed them on to an un-named person) exactly what for example Ronald Hutton has argued was unknown among English cunning folk....


#14 Maypole

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 07:27 PM

Interesting stuff! I didn`t know anything about her until now.

xx


#15 froglover

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Posted 25 October 2009 - 06:36 AM

Interesting stuff!


Yes, isn't it.....just reading over old Folklore issues I was quickly struck by how many people openly practising as traditional witches there apparently were in 19th century England.....

I was much struck by the following snippet from a paper of the day commenting on a case of apparent witchcraft in Norfolk. A man had attempted to assault a Mrs Martins who he accused of attempting to bewitch him with a walking toad (or natterjack). The news item is reproduced on the web ina variety of places ; an intersting commentary on the item in another newspaper is I think a discovery of my own (preen). The writer of the article clearly implies that Mrs Martins was well known as a local witch and goes on to make the following general commnets:

"Now, in English villages, women of bad temper and a certain originality of
character deliberately give themselves out to be witches. They win some respect, and exercise some influence. One woman has at this moment a reputation for keeping seven little familiar spirits, which leap out of her mouth, like the red mouse between the lips of the fair witch from Faust. A witch often lowers the rent of the adjacent cottages and demoralises a whole neighbourhood. As she to a certain extent believes in herself, it is not easy to know how to deal with her."
Daily News (London, England), Saturday, April 12, 1879; Issue 10290

Despite the tone of easy familiarity, the author was not that well-informed, being unaware what a "walking toad" was.....but the article suggests that the ubiquity of people who might be described as witches in English villages was a matter of simple observation. That is also the impression one often gets from the folkore collectors; but generally not so much from the newspapers; witchcraft generally gets in the 19th century papers when an accused witch is assaulted.

The story of Mrs Martin and her toad can be found in: Reynolds's Newspaper (London, England), Sunday, April 13, 1879; Issue 1496. it had been pickedup from an unknown local paper. The orginal scan can be found on the files of the "Pickingill" email list at

http://groups.yahoo....oup/pickingill/


#16 froglover

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 02:47 AM

I'm quoting Jason in full because I've just found something on Sacred-Texts which seems to throw light ....

It is indeed an interesting subject. I came across many references to Mother Redcap when I was looking into Horseheath.

Obviously the title Mother Redcap was a generic one for ale-wives and witches. Redcap is a malevolent goblin, elf, fairy, imp. And obviously as im sure you will already know, she commanded imps and one has the name of redcap.

Also redcap is one of the many regional slang terms for for fly agaric, so I also think that its not a stretch to say that Mother Redcap could also be another generic term for one who crosses the hegde, a true hedge witch. It is a term I have come across before in this context. Redcap was used in an old rhyme said before setting out on a journey and also a flying spell in some case :

'Mullein and Rue and Redcap too, hie me over to........'

So again the connection of flying, the metaphor for transvection or astral travel. So its not a great leap to say the Term Mother Redcap was another slang term for a witch / hedge witch. But then there is the definition of Redcap as Fairies, elf, golbins etc. As always with these things there are a multitude of possibilities and very much dependent on who you talk to, where your source material comes from and what region its from.

I dont really know any more than that. Hope it may of some help.


From Irish Witchcraft and Demonology, by St. John D. Seymour, [1913],
online at http://sacred-texts....g/iwd/iwd10.htm comes the following:

" The following tale comes from an article in the Dublin University Magazine, vol. lxiv.; it has rather a Cross-Channel appearance, but may have been picked up locally in Ireland. A man named Shamus Rua (Red James) was awakened one night by a noise in the kitchen. He stole down, and found his old housekeeper, Madge, with half a dozen of her kidney, sitting by the fire drinking his whisky. When the bottle was finished one of them cried, "It's time to be off," and at the same moment she put on a peculiar red cap, and added
"By yarrow and rue,
And my red cap, too,
Hie over to England!"

p. 234
And seizing a twig she soared up the chimney, whither she was followed by all save Madge. As the latter was making her preparations Shamus rushed into the kitchen, snatched the cap from her, and placing himself astride of her twig uttered the magic formula. He speedily found himself high in the air over the Irish Sea, and swooping through the empyrean at a rate unequalled by the fastest aeroplane. They rapidly neared the Welsh coast, and espied a castle afar off, towards the door of which they rushed with frightful velocity; Shamus closed his eyes and awaited the shock, but found to his delight that he had slipped through the keyhole without hurt. The party made their way to the cellar, where they caroused heartily, but the wine proved too heady, and somehow Shamus was captured and dragged before the lord of the castle, who sentenced him to be hanged. On his way to the gallows an old woman in the crowd called out in Irish "Ah, Shamus alanna! Is it going to die you are in a strange place without your little red cap?" He craved, and obtained, permission to put it on. On reaching the
p. 235
place of execution he was allowed to address the spectators, and did so in the usual ready-made speech, beginning,
"Good people all, a warning take by me."
But when he reached the last line,
"My parents reared me tenderly"
instead of stopping be unexpectedly added,
"By yarrow and rue," &c.,
with the result that he shot up through the air, to the great dismay of all beholders."

I will get back to this. :bolt:


#17 froglover

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 05:06 AM


I will get back to this. :bolt:


And here I am back.....it does look (doesn't it ?) as if this story is elaborated around the rhyme "By yarrow and rue/And my red cap, too..." using any number of popular tales (like "The Tinder Box" etc for the gallows escape) as a model.

The fly agaric is reported as giving flying sensations among its symptoms....and if the red cap is a synonym for the fly agaric this strongly supports the theory that we have here the ingredients of a flying potion; and a merry tale invented to mis-explain it. Note that the story is witch-friendly; whether Shamus' adventures are seen as hallucinatory or literal, in either case it is apparently a witch who intervenes to see him safe.

Of course, I am not necessarily concluding from this that witches didn't wear actual red caps.........

Getting back to my original question, "what was Mother Redcap's real name?", there is apparently an active local history community in he Horseheath area, I will now attempt to direct my enquiries there.
There are apparently numbers


#18 froglover

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 01:08 AM


Of course, I am not necessarily concluding from this that witches didn't wear actual red caps.........


Just as well, as I've stumbled on this piece of evidence from

"Witch Stories" (1863) collected by Elizabeth Lynn Linton
(its on Internet Archive)

The author's source for a number of stories is a 1603 book by a preacher called George Giffard. The booki is interesting I'll have a further look, but meanwhile on the topic of why "Mother Redcap might be a nick-name for witch:

"Seven miles hence, at W. B., a man in good health
suddenly fell sick, pined for half a year, and then died.
His wife, suspecting evil doings, went to a cunning
woman, who showed her in a glass the likeness of the
witch who had destroyed him, wearing an old red cap
with corners, such as women were used to wear. The
old red-capped woman was taken, tried, soon brought
to confess to the bewitching of the man, and executed."

The implication here is that the red cap was associated with witches just because it was once associated with old women, much like the reductive account of why the pointy hat would later be associated with witches (ie the pointy hat was fashionable in the early 1600s and was still being worn by some of the last victims of the witch trials in the late 1600s and early 1700s).


#19 Guest_twistedbee_*

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 09:49 PM

In some Witch Families the head of the Family was, and still is in some, a female, who was sometimes known in Family as Mother, she was the lynchpin of the Family.

During the persecusion of witches by the church, the Mother of the Family was protected by anonimity, the name Mother Red Cap was a cover used by some Families for the Mother, or head, of Family, this is why her given birth name is rarely found in written accounts, not many knew who she really was.

Anybody not in the know would know her as Mother Red Cap, village witch or wise woman without really knowing what lay behind the title. Family members didnt betray their Family, the penalty would have been severe for anyone who did, in this way they kept their Family safe.

Mother Red Cap is a theme running through folklore, songs, poems and stories, an interesting one is the connection of the selkie to the red cap, depicted as the skin of the selkie, which, when removed, allowed the selkie to come ashore, dance on the sand and even take a lover.

This story is much older than the persecusions of the church, leading to the conclusion that although Mother Red Cap was used to protect the Mother of a Witch Family, it has even more history to it that might be uncovered.

Edited by twistedbee, 14 December 2009 - 09:52 PM.


#20 froglover

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 11:53 PM

In some Witch Families the head of the Family was, and still is in some, a female, who was sometimes known in Family as Mother, she was the lynchpin of the Family.


Thanks twistedbee.............you know I've made a somewhat surprising discovery going through old newspaper files (online through GALE); "Mother Redcap" was a stock character of the 19th century Christmas pantomime appearing with Mother Shipton and "others of the maternal tribe" as a newspaper review put it (Mother Bunch and others) in a variety of different pantomime stories. I've just seen the notices not read the script but in at least one (Harleqin Beauty and the Beast) it is clear from the notice that the witches are benign characters, , and in the others one can't tell from the newspaper report. But Mother Shipton is usually thought of as a benign character isn't she? I've also come across the phrase "ugly as Mother Redcap" in the context of a theatre review, supporting the impresion that she was well-known in the theatre.

So, in early 20th century Horseheath it would seem that nick-naming a witch "Mother Redcap" would be as likley to show familiarity and affection as the fear and respect reported by Catherine Parsons. Maybe it depended who you were.

Bill the Exile, who has been researching the genealogical records on particularly Essex witches took the time to check out what was known about Mother Redcap against these records.....he has found a Susannah Pearson nee Housden who died in the Linton district (which includes Horseheath) in 1926 at the age of about 72, and was living in Horseheath in 1901. She was born in nearby Hildersham, nothing about Castle Camps where Mother Redcap is said to have come from also nothing about Mother Redcap's sister. His posts on the subject are on the archive at : pickingill@yahoogroups.com

I don't think, myself, that Susannah Pearson will turn out to be Mother Redcap; but Bill has now supplied a theory that can be tested with further research. I have my own intuitions in the matter but they are too insubstantial to be worth recounting. A manageable number of "old" women are recorded as having died in Linton in 1926, presumably one of them will turn out to be Mother Redcap.

If, as twistedbee has implicitly reminded me, she wants to be found.