Skip to main content

Johanna Beverly


 In 1481, London, a woman by the name of Johanna Beverly was brought to court on charges that she used witchcraft to compel two other witches to win the love of two different men -- one of whom was named Robert Stanton. The court documents from the time state that one of the two witches associated with Johanna nearly killed the other -- though specific details on this aren't entirely known. 

Johanna Beverly was accused of being a "common harlot," and a vicious woman who resorted to use of poisons when her magical incantations failed her. Her husband, who is not named in court documents, reportedly "lived in terror" of Johanna, and wanted to live apart from her. It seemed that her conviction in court allowed him the opportunity to escape from their marriage. 

Little else is known about this witch trial, but given the time and location of the trial -- as well as the severe charges hurled against her -- it is likely that Joanna Beverly was put to death or imprisoned for life. The most common means of executing a witch during the late 1400s involved hanging and burning, but not all people convicted of witchcraft were executed. The court document from this time is scant and does not mention any means of sentencing.

Genealogy of Johanna Beverly

As of now there doesn't appear to be any efforts to trace the genealogy of Johanna Beverly, and so no genealogical profiles of her exist. Furthermore, the one document detailing her witch trial does not allude to her age, so confirming her identity in any other documents (i.e. birth, death or christening records) is proving difficult. However, a document search of the era surrounding her trial does show that a woman named Johane Beverly was buried upon her death in October 1559 -- in Norfolk, England. This was 78 years following the witch trial of Johanna Beverly, who was already a married woman of unknown age. It's not completely unlikely for these two women to be the same person, but it would imply that Johanna Beverly lived into her 80s or 90s -- if she was a younger woman at the time of her trial.

Since no other documents appear to exist that could further identify Johanna Beverly, it is unlikely for her name to be traced as an ancestor at this time. However, this could change -- and if it does, any new information will be updated in this post.

References

Norfolk, England, Church of England Baptism, Marriages, and Burials, 1535-1812

Witchcraft in Old and New England; Humphrey Millford University Press; George Lyman Kittredge; 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Sir Robert Tresilian: The Secret Witch of King's Bench

Sir Robert Tresilian was a chief justice of the King's Bench in England during the late 1300s. During the height of his life he was a wealthy banker, lawman and fierce loyalist to King Richard II. He was notably executed due to his allegiance to the abdicated king, and his involvement in conflicts with the Lords Appellant. However, few know that his execution was carried out in a particularly violent way due to a discovery made after his conviction in court. It turned out, to the surprise of the King's Bench, Sir Robert was a witch . On February 19, 1388, Sir Robert Tresilian was led to the Tower of London by armed guards to be executed by hanging -- a standard mode of execution, which was usually quick and efficient. However, once he was knelt before his captors, Tresilian is said to have uttered a brazen confession as his final words. “While I carry a certain something around me, I am not able to die.”  This piqued the suspicion of those around him, and he was immediately he

Grace Sherwood of Colonial Virginia

Grace Sherwood is a name that many Americans haven't heard -- outside the state of Virginia, at least. That's because, when most people think about witchcraft in early American history, they more-often-than-not think of the Salem Witch Trials, which took place in 1692. However, there were quite a few other isolated witch trials throughout the United States following the iconic Salem Trials -- some of which ended in the deaths of the accused. Grace Sherwood escaped death, but she was convicted and imprisoned in the year 1706. She spent eight years in jail for practicing witchcraft, before she was ultimately released. She died at the age of 80, on her property in Princess Anne County, Virginia.  Prior to her 1706 conviction, Grace Sherwood was accused of witchcraft multiple times. First, she was accused of causing a bull's death by use of supernatural enchantment. This 1697 case ended in a dismissal, but she was again accused the following year by her neighbors, who accused h

Marigje Arriens: The Mysterious Genealogy of a Dutch Witch

Marigje Arriens is noted as among the last woman to be executed for witchcraft in Holland (although this is a highly contested "fact"). She was, at one point in her life, a respected practitioner of medicine during the 1500s, before she was executed in 1591. Little is actually recorded of this woman, considering she continues such an historic place in the history of witch trials. Even though she was a noted medical practitioner, she fell from grace when she was allegedly accused of bewitching a child. It's also been written that a so-called "unsatisfied customer" accused her of witchcraft. At any rate, she was executed by strangulation, and then her body was burned -- as was the custom way of "disposing of witches" in Holland at the time.  The genealogy of Marigje Arriens is incredibly vague and difficult to trace -- and nothing is written about a husband or children. However, This woman lived into her 70s -- which makes it highly likely that she marri