Granny Kempock Tales

Confession and execution of Marie Lamont – 1662

Marie’s trial was held in the locale and lasted for one day. At trial she freely admitted that she had become a witch at the age of 13 years, when under the influence of Catherine Scott. She allegedly renounced her Christian faith, was baptised by the devil and renamed “Clowts”. She confessed to having sexual relations with the devil several times when he appeared to her as a brown dog, and this had left marks on her right side where he had nipped her. She said that along with Jean King, Kattie Scott, Janet Holm and sundry others she had met at the bucht-gait of Ardgowan in the presence of the devil, who appeared to them on this occasion in the shape of a black man with cloven feet. They were directed to gather sand from the shore and scatter it about gates of Ardgowan, and about the minister’s house. She was accused of shape shifting into a cat and of stealing milk by means of magic. The milk theft involved drawing a tether made from the hair of many cows’ tails over the mouth of a mug and speaking the words “In God’s name, God send us milk, God send it, and meikle of it”. Marie also confessed to dancing round

the Kempock Stone with others and attempting to throw the stone into the sea, the intention being to sink ships sailing in the Firth of Clyde.

On the same day and by the same commission five other women were tried for witchcraft. These women are named as Margaret Duff, Jonet (sic) Hynman, Margret (sic) Letch, Margret (sic) Rankin, and Kathrin Scott.

Marie Lamont was burned at the stake in 1662, possibly outside the Auldkirk of Inverkip.

1684,” * records Mary Lamont’s confession. He.says : —

*’The following extraordinary document printed from the M.S. obligingly communicated to me by Michael Stewart Nicokon, Esq., is well worthy of preservation : —

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” (1) She [Mary Lamont] came and offered herself willingly to the trial, saying that God moved her heart to confess, because she had lived long in the devil’s service.

(2) She confessed most ingenuously that five years since Catherine Scot, in Mudiestean, within the parish of Innerkip, learned her to take kyes’ milk, bidding her go out in misty mornings, and take with her a harrie tedder, and draw it over the mouth of a mug, saying, ‘ In God’s name, God send us milk, God send it, and meikle of it.’ By this means she and the said Katherin got much of their neighbours’ milk, and made butter and cheise thereof.

(3) She confessed that two years and a-half since the devil came to the said Katherin Scot’s house, in the midst of the night, where were present with them, Magie McKenzie of Greenock, Janet Scot of Gourock, herself, and several others. The devil was in the likeness of a muckle black man, and sung to them* and they danced : he gave them wine to drink, and wheat bread to eat; and they were all very merrie. She confesses, at that meeting, the said Kettie Scot made her first acquaintance with the devil, who caused her to drink to him, and shake hands with him.

(4) She confesses that at that time the devil bade her betake herself to his service, and it should be well with her, and bade her forsake her baptism, which she did, delivering herself wholly to him, by putting her one hand on the crown of her head, and the other hand to the sole of her foot, and giving all betwixt these two to him.

(5) She confessed that at that time he gave her a new name, and called her Clowts, and bad her call him Serpent, when she desired to speak with him.

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(6) She confessed that at that same time the devil nipped her on the right side, which was very painful for a time, but there after he stroked it with his hand, and healed it ; this she confesses to be his mark.

The Seventh Article regards her criminal intercourse with Satan, which she first confessed and then denied.

(8) She confesses that she was at a meeting in the Bridylinne, with Jean King, Kettie Scot, Margaret M’Kenzie, and several others, where the devil was with them in the likeness of a brown dog. The end of their meeting was to raise stormy weather to hinder boats from the fishing ; and she confessed that she, Kettie Scot, and Margaret Holm, came to Allan Orr’s house in the likeness of cats, and followed bis wife into the chamber, where they took a herring out of a barrel, and having taken a bite, they left it behind them ; which herring the said Allan’s wife did eat, and thereafter, taking heavy disease, died. The quarrel was, because the said Allan bad put Margaret Holm out of the house where she was dwelling, whereupon she threatened in wrath that he and his wife should not be long together.

(10) She confessed that she, Kettie Scot, Margaret M’Kenzie, and several others, went out to sea betwixt and the land of Arran, to doe skaith to boats and ships that should come along* They caused the storm to increase greatly, and meeting with Colin Campbell’s ship, did rive the sails from her. She confesseB that in that voyage she was so overset with ill weather that she took the fever soon after, and did bleed much.

(11) She confessed that when she had been at a meeting edna Tule last, with other witches, in the night, the devil convoyed her home in the dawing ; and when she was come near the house wherein she was a servant, her master saw a waff of him as ho went away from her. ‘

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(12) She confessed that she knew some witches bore much ill will at Blackball, the younger, and Mr John Hamilton, and would fain give them an ill cast if they could ; therefore, about five weeks since, Jean King, Kettie Scot, Janet Holm, herself, and several others, met together in the night, at the back gate of Ardgowan, where the devil was with them in the likeness of a black man, with cloven feet, and directed some of them to fetch white sand from the shore, and cast it about the gates of Ardgowan, and about the minister’s house ; but she says, when they were about that business, the devil turned them in likeness of cats, by shaking his hands above their heads. She confesses, also, that in that business some were chiefs and ringleaders, others were but followers. This agrees with the 11th article of Kettie Scot’s confession.

(13) She confessed, also, that she was with Kettie Scott,
Margaret McKenzie, and others, at a meeting at Kempoch, where they intended to cast the long-stone into the sea, thereby to destroy boats and ships ; where also they danced, and the devil kissed them when they went away.

These Articles were confessed by the said Marie Lament, at Innerkip, before us, under-subscribers : — Archibald Stewart, of Blackball ; J. Hamilton, minister at Innerkip, &c.”