The Witch & Sow Village Pub and Restaurant in Guilsborough boasts a wide selection of cask conditioned ales, home-made food and a warm, cosy, friendly atmosphere. We’ve handpicked some of the finest ingredients Northamptonshire has to offer to create our menu, and we think it proves you don’t have to travel too far to find great food!
The Witch & Sow – a potted history
In the centre of the Northamptonshire village of Guilsborough, stands ‘The Witch & Sow’, formally ‘The Ward Arms’. This 16th Century pub has strong connections with both local and national history.
Remarkably, Guilsborough’s quirky past mirrors a host of historical events and characters – The Battle of Naseby, William Wordsworth, the sinking of R.M.S. Lusitania, Shackleton’s 1914 Trans-Antarctic Expedition, James 1’s witch hunts, not to mention a very gruesome murder in 1764, ghost hunting in the 30s, Royal Visitors, and even a Nazi Spy!
King James 1, a very superstitious man, was convinced that the root of evil in the countryside was caused by Witchcraft. He sent out his Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins, to hunt out the witches. Many people were persecuted – most of them women, who were probably a little eccentric, but perfectly innocent.
A pamphlet of 1612, entitled, ‘The Witches of Guilsborough’, recounts the trial of Agnes Browne and Joan Vaughan of Guilsborough, who were accused of causing the Lady of the Manor, Mistress Belcher and her brother-in-law, Master Avery, to suffer great pains and fits. Even blood-letting by scratching the ‘witches’ done by the sufferers, did not stop the afflictions. The court found the women guilty and they were hanged at Northampton in July, 1612.
The pamphlet also states that, a fortnight before the trial, the two women, along with another, Katherine Gardiner “did ride one night to Ravenstrop, all upon a sowes back, to visit Mother Rhoades, an old witch who lived there. Before they came to her house, the old witch died and, at her last, cried out that she would meet them in another place within a month after.”
Here’s a look at our cosy, family-friendly free house in Northamptonshir – gallery.