Spotlight on Burslem – Molly Leigh
A poem dedicated to Molly Leigh:
There dwelt as persons now alive depose,
Though death must soon their testimony close,
A maiden woman, born of gen’rous race,
But like a fury both in mind and face.
When at school instead of learning truth,
A wizard tutor practis’d on her youth;
Vile gains by arts unholy she acquired,
For none did dare withhold what she desired.
Her neighbours of her spells all stood in awe,
And made her every wish their bounden law;
Thus liv’d the creature, whether fiend or woman,
Till death in clemency saw fit to summon.
So when the Christian rites were duly paid,
The body in the churchyard pit was laid;
And back the cheerful mourners hied, intent
To share the feast bespoke before they went.
But who can the dire consternation paint,
Which seized the party, and made all grow faint;
For as the threshold door they pass’d,
Her apparition struck them quite aghast.
She whom but now to the calm grave they took,
Returned before them to the chimney nook;
All ghastly pale, but unconcerned was sitting,
Employed in her accustomed task of knitting.
Spotlight found this poem about Molly Leigh, the “Burslem Witch”, in the Romance of Staffordshire by Henry Wedgwood published in 1877.