The History of Leith

May 29, 2012

Katherine Oswald, a generally reputed witch

In 1629 the “Judicial Records” tell us of
certain cases of witchcraft and sorcery as occurring
in the little villages of Niddrie and Edmonstone.
Among them was that of Katherine Oswald, a
generally reputed witch, who acknowledged that,
with others at the Pans, she used devilish charms
to raise a great storm during the borrowing days of
1625, and owned to having, with other witches and
warlocks, had meetings with the devil between
Niddrie and Edmonstone for laying diseases both
on men and cattle.
She was also accused of ” bewitching John
Nisbett’s cow, so that she gave blood instead of
milk. Also threatening those who disobliged her,
after which some lost their cows by running mad,
and others had their kilns burnt. Also her numerous
cures, particularly one of a lad whom she
cured of the trembling fever, by plucking up a
nettle by the root, throwing it on the hie gate, and
passing on the cross of it, and returning home, all
which must be done before sun-rising; to repeat
this for three several mornings, which being done,
he recovered.
” Convicted, worried at a stake, and burnt.”
A companion of this Katherine Oswald, Alexander
Hamilton, who confessed to meeting the devil
in Saltoun Wood, being batooned by him for failing
to keep a certain appointment, and bewitching
to death Lady Ormiston and her daughter, was also
“worried at a stake, and burnt.” (“Spottiswoode

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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