The History of Leith

April 4, 2012

The Witches of Broughton

Like other barons, the feudal superior of
Broughton had powers of ” pit and gallows ” over
his vassals—so-called from the manner in which
criminals were executed—hanging the men upon a
gibbet, and drowning women in a pit as it was not
deemed decent to hang them. Sir Lewis Bellenden
and his successors had the power of appointing
bailies and holding courts within the limits of the
barony. Sir Lewis, a noted trafficker with wizards,
died on the 3rd of November, 1606, and was succeeded
by his son Sir William Bellenden, as Baron
of Broughton, whteh in those days was notorious
as the haunt of reputed witches and war! ocks, who
were frequently incarcerated in its old tolbooth.
An execution of some of these wretched creatures is
thus recorded in the minutes of the Privy Council:
” 1608, December i. The Earl of Mar declared
to the Council that some women were taken in
Broughton as witches, and being put to an assize
and convicted, albeit they persevered in their
denial to the end, yet they were burned quick
(alive) after such a cruel manner that some of them
died in despair, renouncing and blaspheming (God) ;
and others,half burned,
brak out of the fire,
but were cast alive in
it again, till they were
burned to the death.”

source-Old and new Edinburgh

Some Text