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July 29, 2013


Thomas Covell And The Pendle Witches

by gordonmichaelsutton

I recently discovered that I’m a direct descendant of Thomas Covell – that’s him on the picture below. It’s taken from an engraving in the church in which he’s buried in Lancaster (Lancaster, England – for my overseas followers). As you can see from the clothes he’s wearing – an Elizabethan ruff, furs and well shod – he was clearly a man of means.


Thomas Covell had, in fact, been the Mayor of Lancaster six times, as well as being the Keeper of Lancaster Castle during a turbulent period in English history. However, I then went on to discover he was also known as one of the key figures in the events surrounding the Pendle Witches, having almost certainly been at least partially responsible for putting them to their deaths – by hanging!

These are the headlines about Thomas Covell, but I’m intrigued to learn more about him. Was he the one dimensional historical scapegoat – the ‘notorious Thomas Covell’ – or was there, as I suspect, rather more to him than that?

I’d be really interested if anyone out there has any further thoughts or information.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hayley
    Sep 18 2014

    Hi, just wondering how you are related as I too am related to him.

    • Sep 19 2014

      Hi Hayley .. I’m related through my maternal grandmother and her mother, Margaret Bate, then up from her via surnames Downham, Pilling & Leah, and the first Covell being Bridget born around 1675. How about you?

      • Hayley
        Sep 19 2014

        It was my paternal grandmas surname and then just straight up the surnames from there.

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