Fundraiser to create memorial for last woman to be dunked as a witch - Long Marston's Ruth Osborne
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Members of a book group in Long Marston are fundraising to create a memorial that remembers Ruth Osborne as a woman, not as a witch.
The group wants to put a memorial site in Long Marston on April 22, to remember Ruth.
They have always been aware that the last witch to be dunked in 1751 was from their village and wanted to do something to keep her memory alive.
The book group kept many of the members going through lockdown, meeting virtually and sharing books to read via whatsapp - it gave them an opportunity to chat and laugh.
Amber, from Long Marston, said: "When we could meet in person late last year we talked about the last witch to be killed in the village and how we had no idea who she was.
"One of the group members did some research and found out had happened.
"We were shocked to discover the catalogue of events that unfolded after simply asking for some buttermilk from a farmer who turned her away.
"All she did was ask the farmer for some buttermilk but he turned her away, so as she walked away she muttered under her breath, which many of us would do without giving it a second thought.
"But she was accused of being a witch and of having uttered a curse, which was a death sentence to any woman in those days.
"As women with young daughters we take it for granted that we can express opinions and have rights as a modern society, it shocked us that she had simply muttered under her breath after being turned away while begging for food.
"It really shocks us to know this happened on our very own doorsteps. In some ways she may have been forgotten if she was not the last so called witch to suffer this brutal treatment.
"Even now with stories in the news both here and abroad women suffer at the hands of violence.
"For these reasons the Ruth Osbornes of this world should be remembered and not forgotten.
"The book group all support this idea, and we also have the support of our local vicar.
"We all feel it would be nice to remember her as a woman, we have all brought roses that we are planting in our gardens, we are calling it 'Bloom of Ruth' roses.
"We want to have a nice simple memorial in the church, so she is remembered.
"If we have any funds that are left over we will give this money to a local woman’s refuge group as a continued legacy."
If you would like to support the group's fundraising visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/longmarstonbookgroup-longmarston.