ANNE JEFFRIES IN BODMIN JAIL

Anne Jeffries in the orchard
Anne Jeffries sees fairies on the window sill
Anne Jeffries heals people with fairy help
Judge Jan Tregeagle sends Anne to jail
The magistrates and ministers set Anne free.
Anne marries William.

Anne Jefferies disappeared from her home in St Teath for six months. When she returned to her garden, she had a fit and collapsed on the lawn. She told the doctor and curious villagers she had been to live with the fairies. They didn't believe her. Anne was kept in bed till she forgot her story of fairies, but as she peered over her covers she could see fairies dancing on the windowsill. The doctor who examined Anne was aware she still claimed to be visited by fairies but found nothing else the matter. He advised she be looked after and an eye kept on so she didn’t disappear again.

The fairies came to visit Anne often, they danced with her in the orchard and showed her how to make fairy bread, she gave some to her friends. Unbeknown to anyone else, Anne could make herself invisible whenever she wanted. She had potions given to her by the fairies and healed many villagers free of charge. As time went on, news spread of Anne’s generosity and healing powers and she was visited by folk from all over Cornwall and beyond. News of this reached the King and there was unease amongst high circles, the king and his ministers worried that Anne’s powers could cause an uprising of the people.

Magistrates and ministers came to accuse Anne of being a witch. John Tregeagle Esq, the Bodmin judge, sent a warrant for her arrest. Anne was sent to Bodmin goal for a long time. In prison Anne fasted – she had to fast as John Tregeagle ordered she was not to have any food - and had visions. Secretly the fairies bought her food, so she lived on fairy food in the cold, damp prison.. nectar and honey dew and pasties light as air. One day, the fairies gave Anne a Bible and taught her a passage about disbelieving in spirits.

“Dearly beloved, believe not in spirits,” she recited to her captors.

“Why , she doesnt believe in sprits and fairies now” said the ministers and magistrates and Judge John Tregeagle. “She's not a witch any more,” and they set her free.

Anne went to live in Padstow and married William Warren. She could still see the fairies.

Ref: Robert Hunt: Moses Pitt’s letter respecting Anne Jefferies.

Barbara Spooner: John Tregeagle of Trevorder, Man and Ghost

  • Bodmin