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Survey of Scottish Witchcraft Database

Survey of Scottish Witchcraft
Scottish History, School of History and Classics, The University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Woodcut of a witch trial

Beatrix Leslie (3/8/1661)

Case details

The accused Leslie, Beatrix
Start date20/7/1661
End date3/8/1661
Characterisation Demonic
Folk healing
Implicated by another witch
Neighbourhood dispute
Notes on characterisationHer charges seem to have stemmed from disputes about her pock with her neighbours. She also had disputes about the death of her cat, and she seemed to have been a midwife, but it was the disputes that seem to be the crux. In her confession she was interrogated about her midwife practices, but she said there was no ill in them. She was delated by Issobel Fergusson
Notes on caseShe was accused of causing death through the collapse of the coal pit. She must have lived near the pit and been a part of the pit community?

People involved in case

Name Involvement in case Notes
Alexander Edsley Confession Witness
George Johnston Confession Witness
John Kincaid Witch-pricker
John Wilson Confession Witness

Trials associated with this case

Leslie,Beatrix (trial date 3/8/1661) Mixed central/local

Qualitative information

Non-natural beings

NotesSomeone testified that they saw a strange cat standing on its hind legs (implying that it was Beatrix).

Appearance of Non-natural beings

Type of beingNotes
Animal Devilmeikle brown dog
Malea half long lad

Demonic pact

Type of pactNotes
New nameBold Leslie

Witches' Meetings

Witches' meetingYes
Devil presentYes

Witches' Meeting Place

Place Location
her byre while milking Barn
while ridding a horse to the coal hill Road

Folk Culture

Specific verbal formulaeYes
Specific ritual actsYes
Dreams and visionsYes
Sympathetic magicYes
Riding with the deadYes
Folk NotesAfter a quarrel about Beatrix storing a pock in the house of William Young and Agnes his wife, they tried to appease her with ale. She drank but wouldn't speak. Later Beatrix ,as an apparition cat, attacked him, and their children were hurt in the coal pit. She said that after meeting the devil she was frequently carried in her sleep to the company of many brave souls. She practised definite rituals in midwifery. She stuck a baro knife between the bed and the straw and sprinkled salt and saying words.

Counter strategies



Type of shapeNotes

Ritual objects



Human deathYes
Healing animalsYes
Notes on diseaseQuarrelled and cursed, harm followed. The two wifes that suffered harm had also killed Beatrix's cat. The coal pit collapsed The deaths were in revenge for killing her cat. Tried to heal her cow by rubbing a sick woman's shirt on it.

Cause of witch's malice


Other maleficia

Property damageYes
NotesBurned down a house

Property damage

Coal Pit

Other charges



Books of Adjournal JC2/11; JC2/10 fo. 10v-17v
High Court Process Notes JC26/27/9 item 4 and item 5
High Court Process Notes JC26/27/9 item 9
High Court Process Notes JC26/27/9 item 13
High Court Process Notes JC26/27/9 item 19
High Court Process Notes JC16/27/9 item 20