Molly Leigh

Molly Leigh

Molly Leigh (1685–1746) was an English woman who was accused of witchcraft, died before being tried, and had her grave disturbed following claims that she still haunted the town.

Leigh was born in 1685 in a cottage on the edge of the moors at Burslem in Staffordshire. She was a solitary character who made a living selling milk from her herd of cows to travellers and passers-by. She was an eccentric person who kept a pet blackbird. The bird often sat on her shoulder when she brought milk into Burslem to sell to the dairy. She was known for her quick temper, and the people of Burslem were suspicious of her. This was not surprising as, throughout the country, women, particularly elderly women, who lived on their own in remote places were often labelled as witches.

In Leigh’s case it was the local parson, Rev. Spencer, who made the accusation. He claimed that Leigh sent her blackbird to sit on the sign of the Turk’s Head pub that the parson frequently visited, and that the bird's presence was responsible for turning the beer sour. Leigh was also blamed for other ailments suffered by the townsfolk. Leigh died in 1746 and was buried in Burslem churchyard, but there were claims that her ghost haunted the town. Spencer—along with clerics from Stoke, Wolstanton, and Newcastleexhumed her body, opened the coffin, and threw in the still-living blackbird that had been her companion. They then reburied Molly in a north to south direction, at a right angle to all the other graves in the churchyard.

The 20th-century witch Sybil Leek claimed to be a descendant of Leigh's, and took to keeping a crow, named Mr Hotfoot Jackson, around with her, just as Leigh had done.


There are stories that her ghost appeared to walk the streets of Burslem apologising for her sins. Further stories claim that her spirit was exorcised by a group of several priests and that while it was successful, some of them died in the process.

Some claim that if one skips around her grave three times chanting the mantra "Molly Leigh, Molly Leigh, Chase me around the apple tree," her spirit will return. These ghost stories are still told to young children to this very day.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Leigh — may refer to:PlacesIn England* Leigh, Dorset * Leigh, Greater Manchester and the corresponding Leigh (UK Parliament constituency) * Leigh, Kent * Leigh, Surrey * Leigh, Worcestershire * Leigh on Mendip, Somerset (also known as Leigh upon Mendip)… …   Wikipedia

  • Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism —   …   Wikipedia

  • Leigh Nichols — Dean Ray Koontz (* 9. Juli 1945 in Everett, Pennsylvania) ist ein US amerikanischer Schriftsteller. Er gilt als einer der erfolgreichsten amerikanischen Schriftsteller im Bereich der fantastischen Literatur der Gegenwart. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Dolores O'Riordan — Background information Birth name Dolores Mary Eileen O Riordan Born 6 September 1971 ( …   Wikipedia

  • Burslem — For other uses, see Burslem (disambiguation). Coordinates: 53°02′33″N 2°11′16″W / 53.042621°N 2.187889°W / 53.042621; 2.18788 …   Wikipedia

  • Sybil Leek — Infobox Person name = Sybil Leek image size = caption = birth name = birth date = birth date|1917|02|22 birth place = Normacot Staffordshire death date = death date and age|1982|10|26|1917|02|22 death place = death cause = resting place = resting …   Wikipedia

  • Sybil Leek — (22 de febrero de 1917 26 de octubre de 1982) fue una bruja, astróloga, psíquica y escritora ocultista inglesa. Escribió más de 60 libros sobre temas ocultistas y esotéricos. Fue apodada por la BBC como la bruja británica más famosa . Biografía… …   Wikipedia Español

  • A Yank at Oxford — Infobox Film name = A Yank at Oxford image size = caption = director = Jack Conway producer = Michael Balcon writer = narrator = starring = Robert Taylor Lionel Barrymore Maureen O Sullivan Vivien Leigh Edmund Gwenn music = Hubert Bath Edward… …   Wikipedia

  • List of My Little Pony characters — This is a list of characters from the long running My Little Pony toy franchise. The My Little Pony franchise first debuted in the year 1400 B.C., the creation of American illustrator and designer Bonnie Zacherle. Together with sculptor Charles… …   Wikipedia

  • List of General Hospital characters — This is a list of characters that appear (or have appeared) on the ABC soap opera General Hospital. Contents: Top · 0–9 · A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z …   Wikipedia