THE BOY OF BILSON: OR, A TRVE DISCOVERY OF THE LATE NOTORIOVS IM­POSTVRES OF CERTAINE ROMISH Priests in their pretended Exorcisme, or expulsion of the Diuell out of a young Boy, named WILLIAM PERRY, sonne of THOMAS PERRY of Bilson, in the County of Staf­ford, Yeoman.

Vpon which occasion, hereunto is premitted A briefe Theologicall Discourse, by way of Caution, for the more easie discerning of such Romish spirits; and iudging of their false pretences, both in this and the like Practices.

2. Thes. 2.10, 11.

Because they receiued not the loue of the truth, that they might be saued. For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should be­leeue a lye.

AT LONDON, Imprinted by F. K. for William Barret. 1622.

TO THE CHRISTIAN READER.

BEing acquainted with the mind and pur­pose of the Author of this ensuing Trea­tise, and hauing thereunto added those other Pieces (vnto which I am no stran­ger,) to make the Narration complete, as concerning the Boy of Bilson: I thought it my duty, after much sollicitation, to communicate the whole in print; and so to make it iuris publici. And this (as I thought) these very times did exact. For now the Po­pish Priests haue so cauterized their consciences, and rub'd their foreheads, as that they take delight, and blush not, daily to forge and coyne most monstrousWitnes (among many others) their fresh Ma­ster-lye, touch­ing the supposed Apostasie of the late L. Bi­shop of Lon­don. vn­truths; all to support their drooping and dropping Cause. Since therefore their appetites are so well whetted and set on edge (by whatPerhaps the same that one of them hanged about the Boyes necke. vid. pag. 63. Stone we may easily ghesse, it be­ing their due reward,) as that they make no bones of whatsoeuer is set before them; to stay their stomacks a while, let them be chewing this bit, (which otherwise they shall not now eschue,) Vt quam falsa dicendo & scrthendo voluptatem ceperint, eandem vera legendo & audiendo amittant.

Here then (good Reader) in the first place thou hast a Treatise professedly written for a Discouery of, and a Caution against the enueagling proiects of Romish Priests, chiefly in that one particular, viz. their preten­ded Priestly Exorcizing and expolling of Diuels out of bodies possessed. By which thou maist iudge, whether these Mirabularies deserue not the reputation of the [Page]varest Mountebanks of these times. Next followes, A faithfull Relation (for so they name it) made by these Priests, touching their proceedings with the Boy: which they did purposely write and disperse,Vide pag. 45. To the end (as they professe) that all indifferent mindes may magnifie and praise Almighty God, that hath left such power to men, &c. such (for sooth) as they had, in Exorcizing and coniuring the Diuell within that Boy, being their supposed desperate Demo­niack. Which glorious worke of theirs when these Ro­man Aruspices shall, at their next enteruiew, recog­nize,cie. Mirabor si non riserint. And that so much the rather, after they haue perused the Remaine of this Booke, in which the Euent and successe of the whole busi­nesse is truly related; and their formidable Mormo pro­ued no other then an Apish Cobalus. Whereby it will al­so come to passe that these Catholike Gentlemen (for so they stile thēselues, albeit by theirSee their de­scriptions in this Booke. pag. 63.64. &c. outward garbe one would rather suspect thē for Serning-men & attendants on such persons, nè quid grauius) shall be so cleerly con­uinced of palpable Quacksaluing, as that a very meane Herald, knowing the house they come of, may blazon their Armes; and so expose thē vnto shame and laughter.

But I will not intertaine thee (gentle Reader) with any longer parle in the entrance, after that I shall put thee in mind of that sound aduise, which an Heathen Philosopher long since prescribed (but neuer so necessary as now, when Popish impostures are so rife,) viz. [...] Ipicharmus. Which may be thus englished; Bee wise, and bee not hasty to beleeue. which precious Amulet I commend vnto thee, and All of vs to the rich mercy of our most gracious God.

Ryc. Baddeley.

THE GENERALL HEADS of this Booke.

  • I. A Discourse, by way of Caution, concerning Popish Exorcizing of vncleane spirits. Pag. 1
  • II. A Relation made by certaine Romish Priests, and by one of them dispersed; wherein they magnifie the power of their Exorcisme ouer the diuell, in the Boy of Bilson. Pag. 41
  • III. A description of the admirable guile and cunning of that Boy, in counterfeiting him­selfe possessed of the diuell. Pag. 55
  • IV. The meanes and manner vsed by the R. Reue­rend Father in God THOMAS Lo. Bishop of Couentry and Lichfield, for discouering his dissimulation. Pag. 56
  • V. The two examinations of the Boy, taken be­fore the said Reuerend Father; together with his plaine and direct Confession of the whole Complot and Practice. Pag. 61, 69
  • VI. The Successe and euent of all, shewed in the Boyes (first) priuate, and (after) publike Ac­knowledgement made before the whole County, in the Summer-Assizes held at Stafford this present yeere 1621. Pag. 72

Faults escaped in some Copies.

Pag. 14. lin. 2. reade, will you so. p. 25. l. 11. r. the third poynt. p. 28. l. 14. r. Adiuration. p. 33. l. 6. r. to prooue. Besides, mend the numbers of the Pages, in the letters E. H. I.

A DISCOVRSE CONCERNING Popish Exorcizing.

A Miracle being (as Diuine learning doth teach) a Worke of Omnipotencie, farre excee­ding all naturall power of any Creature, is the broad Seale of Almightie God, for the con­firmation of Truth: which whosoeuer shall dare to counterfeit, must needs be guiltie of no lesse then high Treason against the su­preme Majestie. Necessarily therefore will it con­cerne, as in speciall those that take vpon them the Office of working Miracles in these times, to feare and tremble at such dangerous impietie; so also in generall euery Christian and religious Soule to be­ware, that he be not circumvented by any forgerie in this kind, and thereby drawne to admire and e­steeme, as the finger of God, the lewd and ridiculous iuglings of wretched men. For which end I haue aduentured to set downe certayne Aduertisements, whereby others may bee reasonably directed how to discouer & auoid such kind of Popish delusions.

Heare we then the Priests speake.

[...] [Page 46] helpe the child was, if they had sought medicine still in Israel, and not at Endor, and of Belzebub.

First then to shew how the Child grew thus to bee tormented, as I haue vnderstood it of his Parents, and haue heard the Child confirme it himselfe. The Boy returning homeward, from schoole, to Bilson in Staffordshire where hee dwelt, an old woman, vnknowne, met him, and taxed him, in that he did not giue her good time of the day, saying that he was a foule thing, and that it had been better for him if he had saluted her. At which words the Boy felt a thing to pricke him to the very heart.How the Boy came first to be possessed. In fine, the Boy came home, lan­guished some dayes, and at length grew into ex­treme fits, that two or three, (though hee was a child of 12. yeeres of age) could hardly hold him. The Parents of the Child, seeing the extremity of the fits, and the misery and imminent danger of death euery houre the Child did lye in, mooued with tender compassion, sought helpe of Catholicks, and with cap and knee, by the meanes of some friends, did sollicit a zealous Gentleman; who o­uercome with their earnest suit, did vse some prayers and lawfull exorcismes allowed by the Ca­tholicke Church, with whose prayers the Child was eased something, and the force of the spiritu­all Enemie abated. The Gentleman insisting to know how many was in him; to his thinking hee said, Three. Hee (good Gentleman) called away partly by the danger of the place, as also by his vr­gent businesse,Two others meddied with him ere Jcame. they sought and sent for a zealous Gentleman, whose zeale and vertues are sufficient­ly [Page 47]knowne, yea and acknowledged by Gods ene­mies themselues. He moued with compassion came thither, vsed his best prayers and meanes that at that time he thought conuenient; very much wea­kened the diuels force, and quelled the extreme fiercenesse of the fits. Yet hee, within a day or so, withdrew himselfe for the same cause; yet though absent in person, was most mindfull of his misery. In so much as he did negotiate with mee, in that I had been present many times in the like occasions, that I would see him, and make tryall whether hee were possessed, or obsessed. I was very vnwilling, yet ouercome by his intreaty, and the former mo­tiues, I promised him to doe my best, and to see him within the space of one moneth: yet so I dis­posed of my businesses, that I came thither in the space of a weeke, about Thursday before Corpus Christi day, where I did finde the Gentleman that requested me to come: and finding that they had vsed Sorceries of Witches, which made the Child offer violence to himselfe, wee would not meddle with him, till they had burned those Sorceries ap­plyed to him, which they forthwith did fulfill. Whereupon we vsing the reading of the Litanies, and the holy Gospels, together with the Exorcisme of Saint Ambrose, when I came vnto those words that shewed the power that Saint Peter had ouer Simon Magus, The diuell could not seduce Saint Peter and Saint Paul. and Saint Paul on the Magician Bariesus, the Child would bee so tormented, that three or foure could hardly hold him; which words tooke effect in manner as often as they were vsed. The other Gentleman call'd away, I was left alone, [Page 48]till it pleased God the Gentleman that had first meddled with him, by great chance came thither. He and I both did our best, till Saturday about two of the clocke, at which time, vrgent occasions, though diuers wayes, called vs away: yet wee left holy water,The vertue of holy water, and of holy oyle. also water properly against Witchcraft, and holy oyle: the first hauing that power, that it would make him speake, though dumbe, and his tongue turned into his throat; and the second that force, that being applyed in a little quantity vnto his legs and armes most grieuously contracted, that a strong man could hardly vnfold them, onely with the force of the holy oyle they would bee stretched forth as they were vvont. Wee intreated them in our absence, to vse the holy waters and oyle in his extremities, and that wee absent, would assist him the best that wee could in our prayers; which they continued: on Saturday, Sunday, and Munday, with extreme fits and heauings hee brought vp pinnes,Strange things voyded. wooll, knotted thred, thrums, rosemary, walnut leaues, feathers, &c. the which he still drinking of the blessed water, brought vp: and when hee could not speake, hee would make signes for that water, with the letting dovvne of vvhich, presently he recouered his speech. Well, on Thursday, being Corpus Christi day, about three or foure of the clocke I came againe, found the Child in great extremities, continually heauing vp, and in this time he had brought vp 11. pinnes, and a knitting needle folded vp in diuers folds. On Fri­day next, he brought vp the last pinne. I told them that I vvas glad that hee brought vp most of those [Page 49]things in my absence, that well they might see that really they came from him, and that it was no col­lusion of vs. On Saturday night finding the Boy to my thinking somewhat obstinate; I, before the Parents, wished him not to be deluded by the E­nemie, but that if he spake any thing within him, he would impart it to vs, that wee might counsell him for the best. A great while the Child would not heare vs, yet at length hee said, hee would not tell vs before all the company. I asking then to whom he would tell it, he answered, to your selfe, so the others would leaue you: hee gaue mee leaue after to signifie vnto his Parents, sisters, and bro­thers thus much: First,The Boy tels what the diuell and Witch say in him. that the spirit bade him not to hearken to me in any case. Secondly, that the Witch said, that shee would make an end of him, and that she would bring in othergates things into him, if it were not for me, whom she called a Ro­guish P. Thirdly, shee said I destroyed all her good things. Fourthly, shee said, that though I should helpe him, yet shee would haue a saying to his brothers and sisters. Fifthly, hee desired mee to tarry with him vntill Munday, for when I should leaue him, he said hee should be torne in pieces: whereupon I, according to the prescript of the Thesaurus Exorcismorum, did blesse fire, and did burn those maleficialia, Sorceries, those filthy things that came from him; at smoke of which, and the fire thereof being temperate onely, and in a Cha­fing-dish, and the smoke onely of Frankincense, he would vehemently cry out that he was killed, bur­ned, and choked; though my owne selfe, and di­uers [Page 50]others were neerer to all then himselfe. At length hee seemed greatly to reioyce, and with great eagernesse dranke vp the smoke, saying that he saw his Enemies tormented. I wished him then to pray for the Witch, and for her conuersion from that wicked life;The markable deuotion of the Child. which he did: then the Child did declare that now hee was perfectly himselfe, and desired that his bookes, pennes, inke, clothes, yea that euery thing he had might be blessed; wishing his Parents, sisters, and brothers to blesse them­selues, and to become Catholicks; out of which faith, by Gods grace, he said hee would neuer liue or dye. On Sunday also I exorcised him, but di­uers Puritans resorting to him, I could not haue conueniency to come till towards night. All which day he had many fits, and I comming to him, lear­ned of him that still while the Puritans were in place on Saturday,The force of ill company. as also at other times, hee saw the diuell assault him in forme of a Black bird. Well, I persisted in exorcising him, left him very well speaking and merry, retired my selfe, hauing seene his meate and drinke blessed. They then af­ter giuing him a Syllibub, the sugar whereof being not blessed, he presently at the taste thereof began grieuously to be tormented. Yea, though he loued flowers,The power of blessed things. yet if vnblest, hee would teare them in pie­ces, and distinguish them from other; and vn̄ ­blessed Raisins he would say were too big for his mouth. I was sent for, and I had not charged him long, but at each charge I did finde the diuell very much to tremble: I hoping of Gods especiall as­sistance at that time, made the diuell to swell in his [Page 51]mouth, in signe of his presence, and to expresse first by signe, how many were in him: which he did, holding vp three fingers. I caused them then, one by one, to descend into the great toe of the right foot, and at the entring thereof to shake it, and to stirre the legge; all which they did higher and higher, to signifie how one was greater then ano­ther: then I caused the Boy to speake, who did ac­knowledge that hee would liue and dye a Catho­licke, wishing father, mother, and all his friends to serue God: then I called vp the chiefe Fiend, and did demand him to shew himselfe, who presently puts forth the Childs tongue, and swelled the end thereof. Then I (all being Protestants,A markable thing. sauing one Catholicke) commanded the diuell to shew by the sheet before him, how he would vse one dying out of the Romane Catholicke Church? who very vnwillingly, yet at length obeyed, tossing, pluck­ing, haling, and biting the sheet, that it did make many to weepe and cry forth. Then I commanded him to shew how hee did vse Luther, Iohn Caluin, and Iohn Fox; which vnwillingly he did performe after the same manner, but in a fiercer sort. Then I commanded him to shew what power he had on a good Catholicke that dyed out of mortall sinne? hee thrust downe his armes, trembled, holding downe his head, and did no more. Heereupon the Parents were instant with me, presently and out of hand to helpe the Child. I told them that I did not doubt but by the power of Gods Church (on which I did onely relie, and not on any personall vertue of mine owne) to cast them out presently. [Page 52]But I said,A coniecture why the Child might be pos­sessed. I did feare that the innocent Child was punished for the sins of his Parents, which might be for their lacke of beliefe; which is a sinne great enough, since without faith it is impossible to please God. Yet hereupon I said to his mother, Good woman, will you promise mee that you will become a Catholicke, if in your sight I cast out these diuels in forme of fire? shee answered, that she must consider of that: then said I, I am afraid this Child will not haue helpe; for, fearing the Child was punished for her lacke of beliefe, I doubted that the cause remaining, the effect also would remaine. Hereupon the Child gaue a great shrieke, began to be vehemently tormented, grew obstinate, in so much that I feared another diuell was entred. I exorcized him also a long time: but the diuell with the Childs voyce cryed, The Lord in heauen, the Lord in heauen. A long time I exorcized him, but still he was obstinate, crying out, Father, mother, helpe me, helpe me, saying that I killed him: and when I gently strooke him on the head with a soft ribbon blessed, he yelled forth that I kil­led him, cursing me, saying, A poxe of God light on the P. saying moreouer, I will neuer bee conuerted; to which word a Protestant then by, that had seene all, replied, Thou wilt then do worse. Here I commanded the diuell that spake,The Child being himselfe, denies all the diuell had vttered by his tongue. to shew himselfe in the tongue, who comming forth as out of a trance, I asked him gently, whether he had vt­tered any of these words? he vtterly denied to haue spoken them, asking forgiuenesse, saying, that it was not hee that spake them; and affirming, by [Page 57]Gods grace, that he would be constant in the Ro­mane Catholicke faith till death. Then I called vp the wicked spirit, tooke his oth, that with trem­bling hee tendred to be obedient in all to lawfull Exorcists, and not to hinder the eating, drinking, or sleeping of the Child. Then it being almost three of the clocke in the morning, I retired to bed: the next day, being Munday, I came and told the Parents, that I had tarried there as long as I had promised, and as long as I well durst for dan­ger, and as my promise to others would permit, but promised them to come againe as soone as I could. The father then offered me the Child to dispose of as I would. I told him I had no conue­nient place for that purpose; but I said, that if hee would not deale with Witches and Sorcerers, The reason why J lest to come any more. I would come as often as I could. The father said, he would seeke of Witches, or of any other for help. I being sorry to heare his bad resolution, told him that I would not mingle God and the diuell together: and then got his promise that hee would not vse holy water and oyle blessed, if they meddled with Witches. Yet I heare, that he hath not complyend with his promise, in extremities of the Boyes fits, hauing recourse to blessed things, saying, he will course him with them. Well, the substance of all this I haue heere written, at my comming away I declared before three Prote­stants, and the Childs Parents, desiring them, that if I did not say truth in all things, that they would challenge me therein. Then the Child being [...] a sounding fit, anoynting him with holy oyle, [...] [Page 54]bring him vnto himselfe, in so much that with a staffe he walked vp and downe; and since, hee did eate, drinke, sleepe, and walke, hauing onely short fits, as I am faithfully informed, yea till shortly af­ter they entertained many Witches and Sorcerers; notwithstanding whose helpe sought in vaine, hee is more grieuously tormented then euer before. Here before my departure, the Parents of the child offering me money and gold, I refused it, thanking them, saying, If they would giue mee 20. pound, I would not haue one penny: Charging them that they should not indanger their owne soules, and the soule of the poore Boy, in seeking vnlawfull meanes. And thus on Munday was fortnight I left him: and the truth of this I must say with S. Paul, that God knowes in all this I doe not lye.

Thus desiring that all may succeed to Gods glory, the good of the Child, and the confusion of all Sorceries and Charmes, which in my heart and soule I detest, I leaue the Parents, Child, and thee, Christian Reader, to the mercy of God.

Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed Nomini tuo da Gloriam.
Yours in charity, loue, or in any good office, J. W.

This Relation was published by the Priests themselues, and deliuered by one of them, called Master Wheeler, into the hands of Master Thomas Nechils Gent. a Recusant dwelling neer the aforenamed towne of Bilson: as appeareth by his owner confession, vpon oth, taken before the L. Bishop of Couen­try and Lichfield; and added in the end of this Booke.

THE EGREGIOVS CVNNING OF THE BOY OF Bilson, in counterfeiting himselfe to be bewitched, and possessed of the diuell.

THis Boy, being about thirteen yeres old (but for wit and subtilty farre exceeding his age) was thought by diuers, to bee possessed of the Diuell and bewitched, by reason of many strange fits, and much distemper, wherewith he seemed to haue been ex­tremely affected. In those fits hee appeared both deafe and blinde, writhing his mouth aside, conti­nually groning and panting, and (although often pinched with mens fingers, pricked with needles, tickled also on his sides, and once whipped with a rod, besides other the like extremities) yet could he not be discerned by either shrieking or shrink­ing, to bewray the least passion or feeling. Out of his fits he tooke (as might bee thought) no suste­nance which hee could digest, but together with it, did voyd and cast out of his mouth, rags, thred, straw, crooked pinnes, &c. Both in, and out of his fits, his belly (by wilfull and continuall abstinence [Page 60]defrauding his owne guts) was almost as flat as his backe, besides, his throat was swolne and hard, his tongue stiffe and rolled vp towards the roofe of his mouth, in so much that hee seemed alwayes dumbe, saue that hee would speake once in a fort­night or three weekes, and that but in very few words.

Two things there were which gaue most iust cause of presumption that hee was possessed and bewitched; one was, that hee could still discerne when that woman (which was supposed to haue bewitched him) was brought into any roome where he was,Ione Cocke. although she were very secretly con­ueyed thither, as was one time tryed before the grand Iury at Stafford: the second, that though he would abide other passages of Scripture, yet he could not indure the repeating of that text, viz. In the beginning was the Word, Ioh. 1.1. &c. Ioh. 1. vers. 1. but instantly rolling his eyes, and shaking his head, as one distracted, hee would fall into his vsuall fits of groning, panting, distraction, &c. In which plight he continued many moneths, to the great wonder and astonishment of thousands, who from diuers parts came to see him. Thus much of his cunning.

The meanes of discouering his dissimulation.

AT the summer Assises held at Stafford, Summer Assises held at Stafford, xviij. Iacobi R. 1620. the tenth of August, Anno Dom. 1620. the afore-menti­oned woman, supposed to haue beene the Witch, was brought to her triall, before the R. Worshipful Sir Peter Warberton, and Sir Iohn Dauies Knights, [Page 61]then his Maiesties Iustices of Assize for that Coun­tie: before whom appeared some slender circum­stances, which were vulgarly esteemed strong proofes of Witch-craft; but after some speech, ma­nifesting the idlenesse of such fantasticall delufi­ons, the woman was freed by the Inquest. At what time the Iudges were pleased to commit the care and (if it might so be) the cure of the Boy vnto the L. Bishop of Couentry and Lichfield, then, and there present.

When he had been with him at the Castle of Eccleshall, about a moneth (much of which time his Lo. was necessarily absent from home) although diuers symptomes gaue iust cause to suspect that he did but counterfeit; as namely, the easie and e­quall beating of his pulse in his strongest fits, his quiet rest and sleepe, commonly the whole night long, his cleere complection, and (which plainly tells euery beholder that his tongue lyed in saying nothing) his swallowing of whole morsels of bread without chewing, his spitting forth from him as naturally and perfectly as euer hee could doe in his best health, (neither of which could possibly bee done with a tongue turned vpwards, and doubled towards his throat, as he would seeme to haue it,) besides, his ordinary comming forth of his fits al­wayes with one kind of lowd and large tunable grone: yet notwithstanding his vsuall casting vp of his meate, his much fasting, and lanke belly, his patience, or (as it might rather seeme) senselesse stupidity, in induring those many prickings and violent extremities, without any signe of feeling, [Page 58]did argue some bodily disease and infirmity.

Therefore it was, that no experiment was vsed on him, vntill that the iudgement of some well ap­proued Physician might be had, to deliuer in what state his body then was: neuerthelesse, after a long­some expectation of such an one, an occasion of­fered it selfe, which required and exacted a more speedy and present triall.

The Father of the Boy (an honest Husbandman of sufficient ability, innocent and ignorant of any practice in his child) came with an Aunt of his to see him: when, being out of his fit, the Father ear­nestly demanded what might bee thought of his sonnes case, and whether he were possessed, or not? Whereto it was purposely answered, that nothing seemed so maruellous, or so much to betoken any such thing, as that at the hearing of those words of the holy Gospell of Saint Iohn, Iohn 1.1. [In the beginning was the Word, &c.] he still vsed to fall into his fits. For further proofe whereof, then presently in the Fa­thers hearing those words were repeated; and ac­cordingly vpon the repetition thereof the Boy fell instantly into his fit. Lo (quoth his Father then) doe you see? what thinke you of this? This (said the Bishop) doe I like very well; for vpon this must I begin to worke.

The same day in the afternoone (when word was brought that the Boy did speake) diuers resort­ing vnto him, the Bishop calling for a Greeke Testament, said vnto him; Boy, it is either thou, or the diuel, that abhorrest those words of the Gospel: and if it be the diuell, he (being so ancient a scholer [Page 59]as of almost 6000. yeeres standing) knoweth and vnderstandeth all languages in the world, so that he cannot but know when I recite the same sen­tence in the Gospell out of the Greeke text: but if it be thy selfe, then art thou an execrable wretch, who playest the diuels part, in lothing that part of the Gospell of Christ, which (aboue all other Scrip­tures) doth expresse the admirable vnion of the God-head and manhood in one Christ and Saui­our; which vnion is the arch-pillar of mans salua­tion. Wherefore looke to thy selfe, for now thou art to bee put vnto triall; and marke diligently whether it be that same Scripture which shall bee read vnto thee; at the reading whereof thou doest seeme to be so much troubled and tormented.

Then was read vnto him, in Greeke, the twelfth verse of the first Chapter of Saint Iohns Gospell, [ [...], &c.] which he supposing to be the first verse, did accordingly, as he was formerly wont, fall into the passion of a trance.

This fit being quickly passed ouer, next was read vnto him, in Greeke, the first verse, being indeed the aforesaid text [ [...] &c.] yet he suspecting that it was not the same text, was not any whit troubled therewith.

By this meanes was his notable fraud, in a man­ner, fully discouered, in so much that he seemed to be greatly confounded heere with: notwithstan­ding, staring with his eyes, and casting his head on both sides the bed, wheron he lay, that he might dissemble his dissimulation the better, hee told the company y he was troubled at the sight of 2. mice.

After this discouery, (to the end that [...] might be freed from further triall, and bee sent home a­gaine to his father) hee complained of extreme sicknesse, and by writing, as well as hee could, did signifie that he had a great paine in his belly: and the morning following, making water in an Vri­nall, his water was as blacke as Inke; for there were some that writ very legibly therewith. And in the like sort, two dayes following hee seemed to make water of the same colour. Which that hee might the more cunningly dissemble, hee, in the making thereof vehemently groned; and there­upon one comming into the roome to him, the Boy did shew him his manner of making water, whereof a little remaine came then from him, of the same blacke tincture, which hee purposely had reserued within the skinne, to make semblance that it so came immediately from him.

But the third day following (which was the Lords day) by diligent watchfulnesse, and other meanes which was vsed to obserue him, hee was espyed mixing Inke with his Vrine, and nimbly conueying the Inkhome into a priuate place. When being suddenly deprehended in this his conueyance, after an earnest, but louing exhorta­tion made vnto him, this deafe began to heare, and dumbe to speake: and at the sight of his vngracious and godlesse practices, he brast out into plentifull teares, confessing all, to his owne shame, and Gods glory. Which confession (before he had heard of the aforesaid Relation of the Priests) hee made the same day, in manner following.

THE FIRST EXAMI­NATION, AND CONFESSI­ON OF THE BOY OF BILSON, NA­med William Perry, taken before the Reuerend Father in God, Thomas L. Bishop of Couentry and Lichfield, at Eccleshall Castle, 8. Octob. 1620. touching his counterfeit practi­ces, &c.

BEing examined how long since, and of whom hee had learned such tricks and coozening deuices? The Boy re­collecting himselfe, answered as fol­loweth: In Lent last (said he) there met me, not farre from my fathers house, an old man, who called himselfe Thomas (but his surname I cannot remember) hauing a gray beard, russet apparell, and carrying a cradle of glasses or pots on his backe, who said vnto mee after this manner: Now, pretty Boy, where dwellest thou? dost thou goe to schoole? If thou wilt doe as I shall teach thee, thou shalt not need to goe to schoole; for (said hee) I can teach thee such tricks and feats, that the people that see thee, shall beleeue that thou art bewitched, and so shall lament and pitty thee. Whereupon I being [Page 62]willing not to come at schoole, for feare of whip­ping, was desirous to learne such tricks. By and by this old man began to teach me, first, how to grone and mourne; next, to roll and cast vp my eyes, so that nothing but the white of the eye should bee seene, after that, to wrest and turne my necke and head both wayes towards my backe, then to gape hideously with my mouth, & grate with my teeth, to cling and draw in my belly and guts, to stretch out my legs, and clutch my hands: after that, to put crooked pinnes, rags, and such like baggage, into my mouth, that I might seeme to vomit them vp. And although (said he) that some folke shall put thee to paine, by pricking, and pinching thee, yet thou must indure all patiently. After this sort hee taught and learned me some six seuerall times pri­uately in a Close, where none could see vs.

And further, that old man made mee beleeue, that a body possessed could not indure to heare the first verse of the first Chapter of S. Iohns Gospell,Iohn 1.1. (viz. In the beginning was the Word, &c.) and that therefore whensoeuer I heard it, then I should fall into my fits. Besides, hee willed mee that I should begin to doe these feats, when it should next hap­pen that I should be ficke: and that then I should accuse some one body or other (whom I had heard to be accounted a Witch) to haue bewitched mee. And thereupon afterwards, of my selfe, I did accuse one Ione Coxe, and was once minded to haue made my picture in clay, and to haue conueyed it into her house, for the better proofe of her bewitching me.

Being examined how long after it was that hee began to put these things into practice, and vpon what occasion? Hee answered; Not long after, (which was about the Easter following) I began to be sicke, and my father sought helpe for mee in di­uers places: and then some Papists did perswade him to seeke for helpe at the hands of some Catho­licke Priests. But my mother did rather desire to haue some learned scholer or Diuine that was no Papist. Yet at length, by their perswasions, there was first brought vnto me a Priest, I. Priest. of an indiffe­rent tall stature, with long blacke haire, in a gree­nish suit, his doublet opened vnder the armepits with ribbons.

As soone as he came to me, hee drew a stone out of his pocket, and hanged it about my necke, say­ing some Latine prayers ouer me, putting also his finger into my mouth: whereupon I seemed to come out of my fit. After that, hee made holy-wa­ter, and witch-water, saying certaine prayers ouer them, and putting salt into the witch-water. Then he gaue me a bottlefull of the one of those waters, (but of which I doe not remember) and willed me now and then to cast some of it ouer my bed; and himselfe, with a little Isop, did besprinkle me there­with also. Before he went away, he said certaine o­ther Latine words or prayers ouer those waters, (which to my remembrance) did thus sound, Eggse eggse atque famulo Dei Gulihelmo ante damnando, and more there of I cannot remember.

The next morning (as I remember) this Priest came againe, at which time (because I lay in a [Page 64]lower roome, where many people thronged in to see me) they remoued me into an vpper roome, more priuate and fitter for them to pray in, where they continued and vsed the like meanes towards me, as they had done before, betwixt a fortnight and three weekes space, during which time I con­tinued my wonted fits. Then at last, this Priest said that he could not helpe me, because hee wanted a booke, which hee sent for vp to London: but after that the book was brought, he then said yt he could not helpe me, without the aide of another Priest, whom after that he brought with him.II. Priest. Hee was a short big fat man, with blackish long curled haire, in a kind of russet coloured suite, with a sword by his side. As soone as he saw me, he said, that by the helpe of God and our Lady, and the holy Saints of heauen, he would either cast the Diuell out of mee that night, or else it should goe hard. And first, hee drew out a little booke of the bignesse of a Pueriles, in which he continued praying, til about 11. a clock. of the night, and casting holy-water on me.

Then both these Priests went away, but came a­gaine vnto me in the morning, and then they made as much holy-water as a pale could hold. But in the end they confessed that they could doe mee no good, without the helpe of a third Priest, whom they did send for by a Weauer of our towne.

About a weeke after came the third Priest, III. Priest. being a reasonable tall old man, in a horsemans coat, with long head-haire: before hee came to our house, he did say to the man that fetcht him (as I did heare) that if the spirits came to me, then I was [Page 65]obsest; but if they were within me, then I was pos­sest. The big fat Priest came in with this last Priest, and first hee put his finger into my mouth, and said, that I was bewitched at the tongues end: wherfore he bade me drink three or foure draughts of holy-water, which I did: he taught mee also to pray to the Virgin Mary, and to my good Angel, and to all the Saints in heauen to helpe me. Then he washed my head, feet, and belly with the same water, saying now and then to mee, Thou art now somewhat better, Boy? and I would say, Yes, a little better.

About the same time, my father comming one day home before supper, he asked mee what I had seene in my fits? and I told him that a thing came to me in the likenesse of a Black-bird. And now the Priest that came last vnto me, went out of towne, these three Priests hauing bin with me about three weekes, but could doe me no good.

About a weeke after,II. Priest. came the big fat Priest a­gaine, and held on his former course, saying, that by. Gods grace he would helpe me. About which time hee made a Sermon to certaine Catholickes which were with me, hauing a white Surplesse on him, with a stole (as I remember they called it) a­bout his necke: his Text was, My flesh is bread in­deed, and my blood is drinke indeed. After his Sermon, he prayed with me as he had vsed to doe: and then made another paleful of holy-water, wishing them to boyle certaine herbs in water, to wash mee with­all; as Time, Isop, and such like.

Vpon the Sunday following, people came in so [Page 66]thicke to see me, that the Priest durst not preach; and he intended to be gone the next day.

His fashion was, to blesse and crosse all the meat which both themselues and I did eate: so that when my mother once gaue mee some of a Sylla­bub, which the Pr. had not crossed in the same manner, he told them that there was a Puritan spi­rit entred into it.

These three Priests dealt with mee at sundry times, that I should confesse my sins vnto them: which I did sometimes, when I listed to speake, but that was but now and then. They wished mee also to turne to their religion, and that then I should haue helpe.

Vpon that Sunday night before that this fat Priest was to goe away, he said, that by the helpe of the blessed Virgin, and the Angels and Saints in hea­uen, he would cast the Diuell out of me.

A little after, he began to aske certaine questions of the spirit within me; as first, what should be­come of the Puritans when they dyed? and he told me, that if they went to hell, then the spirit should tug and shake the bed-clothes: which I did doe after the same manner he bade me. Next, he asked what should become of the Roman Catholickes, and if they should goe to heauen? that then, in signe thereof, I should lift vp my hands, which I did also.

Then the Priest said, Come out of thy fits, Will, in the name of the Father, and of the Sonne, and of the ho­ly Ghost: whereupon I seemed to come out of a fit, and then hee prayed by mee, and said, that hee would cast three diuels out of me that night. And [Page 67]so he hanged about my necke, and put vnder mine arme a fine stole, wrought with great siuer letters: and with the one end thereof, being very hard, hee did beate me about the head and face, vntill to my thinking hee made mee blacke and blue; chafing & rubbing my neck with that stole, which was so rough, that it made my necke very sore: and still he spake to the spirits within me, thus; Come out, you Rogues, you Villaines, I charge you by God and the bles­sed Virgin, and by all the Angels and Saints in heauen, that you suffer the Boy to eate, and sleepe: and withall, he stamped with his feet, as he spake those words.

Then he told my father that he would throw out those three spirits one after another, so that they should plainly see them come forth. And if hee should doe so, hee asked my mother whether shee would become a Catholicke, or no? She answered him that she would consider of it. Then, said he, wil I also consider whether I will helpe your sonne, or no.

But yet the Priest continued as he had begun, and said vnto me, If there be three Diuels in thee, then giue three knocks, in signe thereof; and so I did: but at the biggest Diuell hee willed me to giue the greatest thumpe, which I did at the last. And still the Priest did beate me with his stoale, & so continued with me til about three of the clocke in the morning: during which time, certaine Papists were sent to pray with me, bringing hallowed candles with thē.

At the same time, the Priest tooke suchViz Crooked pins, rags, straw, &c. and such things as the Boy could sinde and steale, into his mouth; as he did once halse a knitting­needle. things as I had seemed to vomit, and burning them with Frankincense, hee tooke an old rusty sword, and [Page 68]said a Latine prayer, resembling it to the sword wherwith Peter did cut off Malchus his eare: he also did beate the same things with an hammer, beto­kening that hammer which nailed Christ to the Crosse.

The morning being come, the Priest was to bee gone, and then my father said vnto him, Sir, I see you can doe my Child no good, and therfore I must seeke for some other helpe. Yes (said the Priest) you will goe seeke for helpe at witches to ease his body, but you care not for damning his soule. But yet before he went away, hee did hallow more water, and then he departed.

And here the Boy was suffered to pawse, and repose himselfe, by reason of his weake­nesse; and was not then further ex­amined till the next time.

THE SECOND EX­AMINATION, AND ANSWERE of the said William Perry, made vnto certaine other questions, which (vpon iust and special presumptions) were propounded vnto him by the Reuerend Father in God, THO­MAS, Lord B. of Couentry and Lichsield, taken at Eccleshall Castle, the 13. day of Octob. Anno Dom. 1620.

FIrst, it was demanded of him,1 that seeing the old man (called Thomas) perswaded him that at length hee should be cured by some Popish Priest; whether hee meant not ac­cordingly in the end to seeme to bee dispossessed by some, or one such of them?

He answereth, yes; and further, that thereupon he meant to become a Papist.

Secondly, being asked, that if hee did meane so,2 why then he would not, after so long a time, and so great paines taken about him by those Priests, yeeld to their Exorcismes, and seeme to bee dispos­sessed by their meanes?

Hee answereth, because that much people did [Page 70]resort vnto him, and brought him many good things; as also for that he was not willing to goe to schoole againe: yet that in the end his meaning was to be holpen by them.

Thirdly,3 being asked that after hee saw himselfe halfe discouered, whether in his griefe and feare that all should come to light, he had not an intent to doe himselfe some bodily mischiese?

He answereth, that he had; for (saith he) the Di­uell hadIt was his owne word. steeled my heart, so that I cared not to hang my selfe; and had purposed to doe so one night, but that I was watched, and hindred.

Fourthly,4 being asked how it could be thought that he should be moued by any Papist, to charge a woman for bewitching him, which was her selfe an obstinate Recusant? He answereth, that hee was moued by Thomas the old man, to lay it on some woman so suspected: but that onely of himselfe, without the perswasion of any other, he named thisIone Cocke. woman; because she was a woman ill thought of, and suspected for such like things.

Being here put in mind of the desire,5 which for­merly before his discouery he had to be prayed for, as was accordingly then done, but (as at the same time was told him) not to driue the Diuell out of his body, but onely out of his soule, wherin the Di­uell had possessed him, by a diuellish obstinacy of his heart, in faining himselfe to be bodily possessed of the diuell: And being further wished to remem­ber how that after those prayers he writ on a paper, that he had found much ease thereby: He was here­upon demanded, whether he did not as then intend [Page 71]and resolue with himselfe to make an end of his former course, and counterfeit practices; and seeme to be dispossessed by such prayers?

He answereth, that it was indeed in his minde to doe so, because hee had then wearied himselfe with dissembling so long, and was also in feare to be discouered and found out.

And albeit this was easily discerned to haue bin his resolution, yet (as was at that time told him) it became not the Professors of truth to imitate the Popish Priests in such cases, who falsly arro­gated to themselues such an Apostolicall power, by Exorcizing to expell Diuels, although it might (in mans opinion) much worke for the glorifying of God, edifying of Christian people in our Church, and also for the conuerting of Romish Recusants vnto our true Religion; because this ought to bee the profession of Christians, to seeke to glorifie Him onely by truth, who will bee worshipped in spirit and truth.

And here was an end made of examining the Boy any further.

Examinat'. coram praefat'. Rdo Patre dictis diebus, anno, & loco; Praesente Ryc. Baddeley, Notario Publico.

THE BOY OF BILSON, his priuate and publike Acknow­ledgement, &c.

NOw after those PopishBilson in Staffordshire, is a Chappelrie within the pecu­liar Iurisdiction of Wooluer­hamptō, where sacrilegious im­piely hath pro­duced such ef­fects, that it is much insected with Popery, & insested with Popish Priests, whose ordinary Rendeuouz it is. No maruell therefore if they made choyce thereof, as the fillest nest wher­in to lay and exclude their addle and sup­posititious egs of politicke impo­stures and god­ly deceits. But this Cockatrice was crusht in in the shell, and their viperous disseine thereby deseated. Priests were departed, and had left the Boy (as be­fore is confessed, and set downe) his Father sought for further helpe by the meanes of Witches, (but as wickedly, so all in vaine) vntill such time as he was brought from the towne of Bilson aforesaid, vnto Lichfield, before Doctor Master Chancellor of the Dioces; where he continued vntill hee was carried to the Assizes at Stafford, and there by the Iudges referred and left vnto the aboue-named Reue­rend Father in God, the I. Bishop of the Diocesse; who after a very short time sent to Bilson for him, and after his arriuall did deale with him, as former­ly in this discourse hath been related.

Since which time, the Boy, vpon laying to his charge the hainousnesse of that his offence, as be­ing blasphemous, in respect of Christ, whose words in the Gospell he fained himselse to abhorre; and di­uellish, in respect of the Diuell, whose person hee would seeme to bee possessed of; and also murthe­rous, in respect of the poore Woman, whom he wil­lingly occasioned to bee brought (as much as in him lay) to the poynt of death: He hath earnestly [Page 73]bewailed these his sinnes, and (as after his first Ex­amination) by prayer coneiued by himselfe, to such purpose, craued forgiuenesse at Gods hand for the same.

So hauing continued at Eccleshall Castle afore­said, vntill he was perfectly recouered of his for­mer weaknesse, and benummed limmes, and that his Parents were willing to dispose of him other­waies, hee was finally brought againe to the last Summer-Assizes held at Stafford, the 26. of Iuly,Summer Assi­zes held at Staf­ford, 19. Iacobi R. 1621. Anno 1621. where before Sir Peter Warburton, and Sir Humfrey Winch Knights, his Maiesties Iustices of Assize, and the face of the County and Coun­trey there assembled, the Boy craued pardon first of Almighty God, then desired the Woman there al­so present, to forgiue him; and lastly, requested the whole Countrey, whom hee had so notoriously and wickedly scandalized, to admit of that his so hearty Confession, for their satisfaction.

And thus it pleased God to open the eyes of this Boy (that I may so say) luto, with the clay of the Romish Priests lewd impostures; and sputo, with the spittle of his owne infamy, to see his errors, and to glorifie the God of truth.

Gloriasoli Deo.

THE EXAMINATION AND ANSWERE OF THOMAS NECHILS of Nechils, in the County of Stafford, Gentleman (a Recusant) taken vpon oath before the R. Reuerend Father in God THOMAS L. Bishop of Couentry and Lichfield, at Eccleshall Castle, the 17. of Octob. Anno 1620. touching the afore­mentioned Relation of the Priests, of their proceedings with the Boy of Bilson.

BEing examined whether hee knew a written discourse then shewed vnto him, touching the Boy of Bilson, enti­tuled and beginning thus; A faith­full Relation of the proceedings of &c. and ending in these words, Yours in charity, loue, or any good office? Hee answereth, that hee doth very well know, and remember the same.

Being examined how hee came first by that dis­course, or Relation, and from whom he had it? Hee answereth, that it was deliuered vnto him by a Gentleman, whom he met iourneying on the way towards Lichfield, whose name was Master Wheeler, as he told this Examinate. And, being further de­manded, he saith that he was as a man of a reaso­nable [Page 75]stature, round faced, about fiftie yeeres old, and of a blackish complection.

Being examined what further discourse did at that time passe betwixt them two, touching the said Boy, called VVilliam Perry? He answereth that the said Master Wheeler then told this Examinate, that he would acquaint him with the whole busi­nesse, concerning that Boy: whereupon hee gaue this Examinate a copie of the afore-named dis­course or Relation (hauing two copies at the same time about him) and willed this Examinate to get it copied out, and to giue one copie thereof vnto one Philip Higgins of Westbromage Yeoman (as hee this Examinate remembers.) And further, that the said Master Wheeler said vnto this Examinate, that was no matter who should see it.

Being further examined what the said Master Wheeler did at the same time acquaint this Exami­nate with, touching himselfe? Hee confesseth that he told him how that he did often vse to resort vnto the French Embassadour: that hee did know the Bishop of Couentry and Lichfield; and fur­ther, that he was knowne to the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury.

Tho. Nechils.

Examinat'. coram praefat'. Rdo Patre dictis die, anno, & loco; Prae­sente Ryc. Baddeley Notario Publ.

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