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12 In the year following, the parish of Innerkip was overrun with a breed of witches and their pranks became so notorious that a commission was issued (7th May 1662) to certain noblemen and gentlemen of the country to try Mary Lamond, Katrine Scot, Janet Hyndman, Margret Leitch, Margret Rankine, Jean king and Margaret Duff for “the horrid crime of witchcraft, by committing malefices or entering into pactiouns with the divell, renouncing their baptisme or otherwayes, &c.” Most of these infatuated creatures pled guilty to the crimes of which they were charged and were convicted on their own confessions and doomed to death. Where they suffered does not appear but as these courts for the trial of witchcraft were usually held in Paisley, it is likely they were, according to the received mode of dispatching condemned witches and sorcerers “worryit, (that is strangled) at a stake and brint [burnt]” on the Gallow-Green. The jail about that time was seldom without a witch or warlock tenant and as there was not then so much jail philanthropy abroad as in our day, many of these poor and aged wretches died in the loathsome cells where they were confined, some literally devoured by vermin, others the victims of disease or brutal usage. A witch dying in prison here gives occasion for this curious entry in the Records of the town Council. “1667, Oct. 17. … the Baillies and Councill having taken to their consideration in the incivility and indiscreit carriage of Mr. Hugh Montgomerie, Sheriff Depute of Renfrew, in permitting the corpse of Jane Finnie, ane suspect witch imprisoned be him in their jail and deceased therein, to be unburried these fyve days bygone or thereby, and refusing absolutely to cause bury her notwithstanding both his duty and their requiring of him so that they are necessitated to cause bury her, have therefore determined that shall be deprived of certain favours he has from them, especially that his sons shall have no liberty from henceforth to sit in any of the Tounes seats in the churches and for these reasons have ordained their offices to hold them out of both their seats”. Though there is some uncertainty regarding the precise numbers or the place of execution of the Innerkip witches, none exists regarding those who suffered for bewitching Sir George Maxwell, of Pollock, and by devilish sorceries tormenting him until he died.

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