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The Witch Pond

This rather slimy pond on a farm at Rushock in Worcestershire has been in existence for at least 500 years, and in 1660 it was used to "swim" an accused witch.

Joan Bibb was accused by none other than her local vicar as "being of evil fame", a charge she vehemently denied, and so the justices at Worcester bound her over to keep the peace while investigations were carried out. Unfortunately for Joan this involved being swum in the nearest large pond, whereupon her arms were crossed in front of her then each of her thumbs were tied to the opposite big toe. A rope was looped around her waist with a pair of men holding each end, then she was unceremoniously dunked in the stagnant water.

Had she floated on the surface of the pond her fortunes would have been very different, but Joan sank to the muddy depths of Court Farm pond and was hauled back out. She was cleared of all charges against her but the story didn't end there. Joan Bibb went on to sue the parson for the damages done to her, both physical and mental, and was awarded £10 by the courts, equivalent to over £1500 today. This was not enough for Joan, and the tenacious Worcestershire woman went to the justices once more to demand a fair payment. She was successful and was awarded £20, an amount which put the parson in serious financial difficulties - an example of genuine justice being served.

The pond is viewable from a nearby public footpath if you are in the area, barely changed from its shape and condition in 1660.

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