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The 'Witchcraft Tomb'

A statue from the memorial to the sixth Earl of Rutland (d.1632), known as the 'Witchcraft Tomb'. The child is holding a skull and was said to have died as a result of 'wicked practice and sorcery'.

Mrs Challands: But it’s a wonder there wasn’t more superstitions in Bottesford, because there was the Witches of Belvoir, they lived in the village. These witches eventually I think they were either burnt at the stake or something like that.

Interviewer: Can you remember anything about them? What did they do?

Mrs Challands: Well the thing was they, these witches, they took the daughter up to the castle for employment and they refused, and there was a cast, they cast this spell over this family, and in Bottesford Church there’s a most beautiful monument of the whole of the family, all in alabaster. Beautiful, of the whole of that family.

Interviewer: And so this, sort of memory of the witches in Bottesford was quite strong when you were a child was it?

Mrs Challands: Oh yes, yes. In Bottesford also, which was very interesting in my young day, there was a Bede House, and you have to have been employed by the Rutland family. These old men lived there and there was an old lady looked after them. Every Sunday morning they used to walk across from the house to the church, and they wore big black cloaks with the Belvoir crest, silver Belvoir crest of the peacock on their arm, and big beefeater hats. And that went on right up until this last war [WW2]. Of course they don’t do it now, it’s all gone. But you had to have had some connection with the castle.

Interviewer: To live there you had to have been a servant or something like that?

Mrs Challands: That’s right, yes.

Interviewer: Does the Bede House exist now?

Mrs Challands: Yes, yes, oh yes it’s still there, it’s occupied by, but they’ve turned them into flats so that people that’ve worked for the castle – there still has to be some connection with Belvoir.


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