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Original Article

Jane Frizzle was a seventeenth century witch living in the Derwent Valley near Edmundbyers.

In this part of the upper dales, tales of witches abound.

Many were the sinister tales of witches flying about the Derwent Valley on dark stormy nights upon their broomsticks, and meeting in the woodland clearings, dancing around the cauldrons and casting spells.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth (and even nineteenth) century there were many cases of people facing the courts and then being burned as witches.

So it is no surprise to come upon the tale of Jane Frizzle.

There are little or no facts about her, but she lived in nearby Crooked Oak, a farm cottage situated to the north of “The Sneep”, the cottage probably getting its name from the fact that there was a gnarled Oak Tree in the vicinity.

The cottage was antiquated, of Jacobean origin, with an ornamental doorway, surmounted by a stone lintel, carved into which was “1684” and “T” and “I.R.”, being the date the cottage was built and the initials of the owners/builders[1].

Jane is said to have travelled the Derwent Valley by night on her broomstick, casting evil spells on men, maidens and cattle.

Rumour has it that she lies buried in a lonely field at Greenhead, near Carterway Heads.

No one knows when she died, and the only “definite?” fact is that she lived in the seventeenth century.

Also around that time they seemed to burn every old woman who had a wrinkled face. In fact, the wise traveller in these parts always carried a crooked silver sixpence to safeguard them against evil.

She is mentioned in “Ode to the River Derwent”, a poem of some 40 verses by John Carr which appears in The Bishoprick Garland of 1834 by Sir Cuthbert Sharp[2].

The verse reads :-

Ghosts and witches come in for a share,
Though poor Frizzle has long breath’d her last,
On broomstick who rode in the air,
And scatter’d her pins as she past.

See also


  1. J W Fawcett (1902). Robert Jackson, Front Street, Consett. Tales of Derwentdale. 
  2. The Bishoprick Garland page 39.

External links

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Jane Frizzle, that was deleted or is being discussed for deletion, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Author(s): Alan Liefting Search for "Jane Frizzle" on Google
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