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I think I am not at liberty to withhold this result from the reader, whom it may lead to question, though it cannot induce myself to doubt, the genuineness of the former performances of Mr. E. S.-Truths in Popular Superstitions.
STORY OF THE LADY ALICE KYTELER.
It was late in the twelfth century when the AngloNormans first set their feet in Ireland as conquerors, and before the end of the thirteenth,when the portion of that island which has since received the name of the English Pale, was already covered with flourishing towns and cities, which bore witness to the rapid increase of commerce in the hands of the enterprising and industrious settlers from the shores of Great Britain. The county of Kilkenny, attractive by its beauty and by its various resources, was one of the districts first occupied by the invaders, and at the time of which we are speaking, its chief town, named also Kilkenny, was a strong city with a commanding castle, and was in habited by wealthy merchants, one of whom was banker and money-lender, named William Outlawe.
This William Outlawe married a lady of property named Alice Kyteler, or Le Kyteler, who was, perhaps, the sister or a near relative of a William Kyteler, incidentally mentioned as holding the office of Sheriff of the liberty of Kilkenny. William Outlawe died some time before 1302 ; and his widow became the wife of Adam le Blond, of Callan, of a family which, by its English name of White, held considerable estates in Kilkenny and Tipperary in later times. This second husband was dead before 1311; for in that year the Lady Alice appears as the wife of Richard de Valle ; and at the time of the events narrated in the following pages, she was the spouse of a fourth husband, Sir John le Poer. By her first husband she had a son, named also William Outlawe, who appears to have been the heir to his father's property, and succeeded him as a banker. He was his mother's favourite child, and seems to have inherited also a good portion of the wealth of the lady Alice's second and third husbands.
The few incidents relating to this family previous to the year 1324, which can be gathered from the entries on the Irish records, seem to show that it was not altogether free from the turbulent spirit which was so prevalent among the Anglo-Irish in former ages. It apppears that in 1302 Adam le Blond and Alice his wife intrusted to the keeping of William Outlawe the younger the sum of three thousand pounds in money, which William Outlawe, for the better security, buried in the earth within his house, a method of concealing treasure which accounts for many of our antiquarian discoveries. This was soon noised abroad; and one night William le Kyteler, the sheriff above mentioned, with others, by precept of the seneschal of the liberty of Kilkenny, broke into the house vi et armis, as the record has dug up the money, and carried it off, along with a hundred pounds belonging to William Outlawe himself, which they found in the house. Such an outrage as this could not pass in silence; but the perpetrators attempted to shelter themselves under the excuse that being dug up from the ground it was treasure-trove, and as such belonged to the king; and, when Adam le Blond and his wife Alice attempted to make good their claims, the sheriff trumped up a charge against them that they had committed homicide and other crimes, and that they had concealed Roesia Outlawe (perhaps the sister of William Outlawe the younger), accused of theft, from the agents of justice, under which pretences he threw into prison all three, Adam, Alice, and Roesia. They were, however, soon afterwards liberated, but we do not learn if they recovered their money. William Outlawe's riches, and his mother's partiality for him, appear to have drawn upon them both the jealousy and hatred of many of their neighbours, and even of some of their kindred, but they were too powerful and too highly connected to be reached in any ordinary way.
At this time, Richard de Ledrede, a turbulent intriguing prelate, held the see of Ossory, to which he had been consecrated in 1318 by mandate from Pope John XXII., the
same pontiff to whom we owe the first bull against sorcery (contra magos magicasque superstitiones), which was the ground-work of the inquisitorial persecutions of the following ages. In 1324, Bishop Richard made a visitation of his diocese, and “found," as the chronicler of these events informs us, “by an inquest in which were five knights and other noblemen in great multitude, that in the city of Kilkenny there had long been, and still were, many sorcerers using divers kinds of witchcraft, to the investigation of which the Bishop proceeding, as he was obliged by duty of his office, found a certain rich lady, called the Lady Alice Kyteler, the mother of William Outlawe, with many of her accomplices, involved in various such heresies." Here, then, was a fair occasion for displaying the zeal of a follower of the sorcery-hating Pope John, and also perhaps. for indulging some other passions.
The persons accused as Lady Alice's accomplices were her son the banker William Outlawe, a clerk named Robert de Bristol, John Galrussyn, William Payn of Boly, Petronilla de Meath, Petronilla's daughter Sarah, Alice the wife of Henry the Smith, Annota Lange, Helena Galrussyn, Sysok Galrussyn, and Eva de Brounstoun.
The charges brought against them were distributed under seven formidable heads. First, it was asserted that, in order to give effect to their sorcery, they were in the habit of denying totally the faith of Christ and of the Church for a year or month, according as the object to be attained was greater or less, so that during the stipulated period they believed in nothing that the Church believed, and abstained from worshipping the body of Christ, from entering a church, from hearing mass, and from participating in the sacrament. Second, that they propitiated the demons with sacrifices of living animals, which they divided member from member, and offered, by scattering them in cross-roads, to a certain demon who caused himself to be called Robin Artisson (filius Artis), who was of the poorer class of hell.” Third, that by their sorceries they sought counsel and answers from demons. Fourth, that they used the ceremonies of the church in their nightly conventicles, pronouncing, with lighted candles of wax, sentence of excom-
munication, even against the persons of their own husbands, naming expressly every member, from the sole of the foot to the top of the head, and at length extinguishing the candles with the exclamation “Fie! fie! fie! Amen." Fifth, that with the intestines and other inner parts of cocks sacrificed to the demons, with “ certain horrible worms, various herbs, the nails of dead men, the hair, brains, and clothes of children which had died unbaptized, and other things equally disgusting, boiled in the skull of a certain robber who had been beheaded, on a fire made of oak-sticks, they had made powders and ointments, and also candles of fat boiled in the said skull, with certain charms,—which things were to be instrumental in exciting love or hatred, and in killing and otherwise afflicting the bodies of faithful Christians, and in effecting various other purposes. Sixth, that the sons and daughters of the four husbands of the Lady Alice Kyteler had made their complaint to the Bishop, that she, by such sorcery, had procured the death of her husbands, and had so infatuated and charmed them, that they had given all their property to her and her son, to the perpetual impoverishment of their own sons and heirs; insomuch that her present husband, Sir John le Poer, was reduced to a most miserable state of body by her powders, ointments, and other magical operations; but being warned by her maid-servant, he had forcibly taken from his wife the keys of her boxes, in which he found a bag filled with the “ detestable” articles above enumerated, which he had sent to the Bishop. Seventh, that there was an unholy connexion between the said Lady Alice and the demon called Robin Artisson, who sometimes appeared to her in the form of a cat, sometimes in that of a black shaggy dog, and at others in the form of a black man, with two tall and equally swarthy companions, each carrying an iron rod in his hand. It is added by some of the old chroniclers, that her offering to the demon was nine red cocks and nine peacocks' eyes, at a certain stone bridge at a cross-road ; that she had a certain ointment with which she rubbed a beam of wood “ called a coulter," upon which she and her accomplices were ca ried to any part of the world they wished, without hurt or stoppage; that “she swept the stretes of Kilkennie betweene compleine and twilight, raking all the filth towards the doores of hir sonne William Outlawe, murmuring secretlie with hir selfe these words :
"To the house of William my sonne,
and that in her house was seized a wafer of consecrated bread, on which the name of the devil was written.
The Bishop of Ossory resolved at once to enforce in its utmost rigour the recent papal bull against offenders of this class; but he had to contend with greater difficulties than he expected. The mode of proceeding was new ; for hitherto in England sorcery was looked upon as a crime of which the secular law had cognizance, and not as belonging to the ecclesiastical court; and this is said to have been the first trial of the kind in Ireland that had attracted any public attention. Moreover, the Lady Alice, who was the person chiefly attacked, had rich and powerful supporters. The first step taken by the Bishop was to require the Chancellor to issue a writ for the arrest of the persons accused. But it happened that the Lord Chancellor of Ireland at this time was Roger Outlawe, Prior of the order of St. John of Jerusalem, and ia kinsman of William Outlawe. This dignitary, in conjunction with Arnold le Poer, seneschal of Kilkenny, expostulated with the Bishop, and tried to persuade him to drop the suit. When, however, the latter refused to listen to them, and persisted in demanding the writ, the Chancellor informed him that it was not customary to issue a writ of this kind, until the parties had been regularly proceeded against according to law.
The Bishop indignantly replied that the service of the Church was above the forms of the law of the land; but the Chancellor now turned a deaf ear, and the Bishop sent two apparitors with a formal attendance of priests to the house of William Outlawe, where Lady Alice was residing, to cite her in person before his court. The lady refused to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical court in this case; and, on the day she was to appear, the Chanceller, Roger Outlawe, sent advocates, who publicly pleaded her right to defend herself by her counsel, and not to appear
person. The Bishop, regardless of this plea, pronounced against her