About The Witch & Sow in Guilsborough
The Witch & Sow Village Pub and Restaurant in Guilsborough boasts a wide selection of cask conditioned ales, home-made food and a warm, cosy, family-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 and 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 I was a very superstitious man. He was convinced that all the evil in the country stemmed from witchcraft. So he sent out his Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins, to hunt down all the so-called witches in the land. Hopkins received a reward each time he
and his henchmen got a witch to confess. He was very thorough, but many innocents
were persecuted – most of them women.
The Witches of Guilsborough, a pamphlet of 1612, recounts the trial of Agnes Browne and Joan Vaughan from this village. Their ‘crime’ was causing the Lady of the Manor and her brother-in-law “great pain and fits”.
Legend has it that, a fortnight before the trial, Browne and Vaughan tried to escape on the back of a large female pig (or sow). The two accused, along with one 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.”
Sadly, Agnes Browne and Joan Vaughan both hanged at Northampton in July 1612.