I have spent a really productive morning gathering together all the outstanding queries I have regarding the (many) gaps in Deanes's story. Unsurprisingly, there were quite a few! They have now all been sent off to the lovely team at the Dorset History Centre, as I am hoping to head to Dorchester for more research at the end of the week. I see that the latest snow warning has been upgraded to amber, so I hope the weather won't mess with my plans! I'll be sharing fun facts and juicy details on Twitter and, time permitting, a Facebook live video, so check out Twitter (@WITCHplayCoS) and Facebook (@TraceyNormansWITCHBook) if you don't already follow my work on those platforms. Don't forget to bookmark this site, too, so you can keep up with my progress and findings!
My book is now all plotted out section by section and I have enquired about reproducing the original transcripts I worked from when I wrote the play. The main concept behind the book is to have Deanes's entire story in one place in as much detail as possible. I suspect that there won't be much more information to find than I already have, which is a great shame. Given the ages of the documents in question, it's hardly surprising. I really hope that in one of these final few places, I manage to locate something of Deanes herself. At the moment, all that is known of her personally centres on the pipe she smoked, a habit that really did have a life-changing effect on her.
Yet while it would mean so much to me to be able to describe her without reference to the pipe, I cannot lose sight of the fact that the pipe was the one aspect of her case which really intrigued me and caught my imagination. Deanes's pipe is a stark reminder of the fact that even an innocuous gesture like sharing tobacco was enough to trigger an accusation of witchcraft. That pipe devastated Deanes's life and, for me, it has become a symbol of the people like Deanes who suffered similar devastation for something equally mundane.
I'm hoping to have the manuscript finished by the end of the summer, so keep checking back for more news. I'll be sharing extracts here and there along the way, too, as the various sections start coming together. But for now - back to the research!
Another trip to the Devon Historic Society resulted in the appearance of yet more worms and a wealth of information that I can put to good use in my book and future talks. There was even a toothache cure featuring snails - I wonder if Margery would have resorted to that one if she ran out of her ingredients of choice and was unsuccessful in begging for more! "Ye snayles" are easier to come by than ye cloves!
I will shortly be putting up a list of the various talks I am giving this year on WITCH and WITCH-related subjects, so make sure that you bookmark this site and check out my Twitter feed @WITCHplayCoS and my Facebook page @TraceyNormanWITCHBook
Don't forget that if you'd like me to give a talk for your group, you can get in touch via the contact form.