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14 The women executed were Margaret Lang, Katherine Campbell, Agnes Naismith and Margaret Fulton. It appears the dress of the Sheriff of Renfrewshire was remarkably gay. On his visit to Christian Shaw, he is described as wearing brown coloured clothes, red plush breeches with black stripes flowered muslin cravat and an embroidered sword belt.15 Explanations for lack of witchcraft prosecutions in Irish Protestant courts, 1718 [Back to Contents] Gilbert Crokatt, The Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence; or, the Foolishness of their Teaching, Discover’d from their Books, Sermons, and Prayers: and Some Remarks on Mr. Rule’s Late Vindication of the Kirk (London: re-printed and sold by J. Hyde in Dublin, 1718). ‘There is scarce one of an hundred among the Presbyterian Vuglar, that will be either reason’d or laugh’d out of the strange Opinions they have of [Church of Ireland] Bishops; as particularly, that they will not suffer Witches to be burnt, because (as they alledge) every Bishop loses five hundred Marks Scots, for every Witch that’s burnt in his Diocess. Nay, the generality of the Presbyterian Rabble in the West, will not believe that Bishops have any Shadows, being perswaded by some of their Teachers, that the Devil hath taken away their Shadow as an earnest of the Substance for their opposing of the Covenant Work in the Land.’ Magical Protection against butter-stealing witches [Back to Contents] O/S Memoirs, Parishes of County Antrim V, vol. 16, Parish of Ballymoney, Lieutenant J. Greatorex, James Boyle, 1832. (p.19) ‘On May Eve it is a customary practice with many of the elderly females of this parish get a branch of what they call the ”rowan tree” and place twigs of it over the doors of their byres and frequently over their kitchen doors. They also tie a twig to the tail of each cow. They will not mix the milk which they have on May Eve with the milk of the following day. As they say “it is unlucky to mix the milk of 2 years together”. The rowan tree is used as a charm against witchcraft and fairyism. It is astonishing to see this practice kept up by many intelligent persons and particularly in a district where the great mass of the population are educated. Although this practice is more general among the Roman Catholics than any other sect, yet it is not confined exclusively to them.’ 15 Christian Shaw, the daughter of the laird of Bargarran, Renfrewshire, later married minister of Kilmaurs, John Millar, and became the recognised founder of the renowned Paisley thread making industry, see Rosalind K. Marshall, ‘Shaw, Christian (b. c.1685, d. in or after 1737)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Oct 2005 [, accessed 23 March 2014].

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