Today Mistress Agnes is putting the finishing touches to a forthcoming presentation on Crime and Punishment in the seventeenth century. She is immersing herself in tales of inappropriately positioned dunghills and diverted watercourses. Sheep stealers and brothel keepers, drunks and heretics are all grist to her mill. Whisper it quietly but she will also be speaking of witchcraft. There are those who do say that she be closer to the witches that she be willing to admit.
She will be appearing in Ilchester for this session – home of one of the oldest gaols in the west country; the original dates from 1166. We hear tell that they have a ducking stool, so Mistress Agnes will do well to avoid that. Her literacy is a bit shaky but Mistress A. has been busy learning Psalm 51, so she can plead benefit of the clergy should she fall foul of the local justices. She’s already decided that pleading her belly would be unconvincing.