Anne Jeffries in trouble

Anne Jefferies in the orchard
Anne Jefferies sees fairies on the window sill
Anne Jefferies 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 the gift of healing hands 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.

retold and illustrated by Sue Field

Ref: Robert Hunt: Moses Pitt’s letter respecting Anne Jefferies in Popular Romances of the West of England

Barbara Spooner: John Tregeagle of Trevorder, Man and Ghost



1 Anne met a fairy man in an orchard in St Teath, and went to live with him in fairyland for 6 months.

2 When she came home no one believed she had been with the fairies. People said she must be ill if she saw fairies. They sent Anne to bed. The fairies danced on the windowsill.

3 The fairies taught Anne to make healing lotions and potions. News spread and people travelled from all over Cornwall to seek a cure from Anne.

She never charged anything for her remedies.

4 Judge Jan Tregeagle came to visit Anne on orders from the King. The King thought Anne's powers would cause an uprising. Tregeagle took Anne to Bodmin Jail and held her prisoner.

5 The magistrates and ministers said Anne was a witch. No dinner for her! The fairies bought food to her in jail, and told her what to say at her trial.

The magistrates and ministers set her free.

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

  • Bodmin