Thomas Dekker, William Rowley,
and John Ford
THE WITCH OF EDMONTON
a synoptic, alphabetical character list
A countrywoman who is driven into suicidal madness by Mother Sawyer and the Dog.
Three countrymen, victims of the Dog's mischief, who persecute Mother Sawyer.
Interrupts the Morris to arrest Warbeck and Somerton.
The play's clown character, leader of the Morris dancers, and in love with
Katherine Carter. Cuddy is gulled by Mother Sawyer and the Dog, but then makes
friends with the latter. When the Dog abandons Sawyer, Cuddy is disillusioned,
and tries to make the creature renounce evil, but the Dog merely scoffs at him.
Cuddy therefore chases the Dog out of the village.
A devil in the shape of a black dog. He makes a pact with Mother Sawyer,
provokes Frank Thorney into murdering Susan, and gulls Cuddy. Once he has
finished toying with his human associates, he abandons them in search of new
victims in London.
A gentleman-servant of Sir Arthur Clarington. He secretly marries the pregnant
Winifred in the belief that he is the father of her child. His impoverished
father then pressures him into a bigamous marriage with the rich Susan Carter.
The demonic Dog then arrives on the scene, and invisibly provokes Frank into
murdering Susan. Frank places the blames on Warbeck (q.v.), but his guilt is
revealed when a bloody knife is discovered in his pocket. He is executed for his
crime, but dies a repentant man and is forgiven by the Edmonton community.
Does not appear in play. An old countrywoman whose sow Mother Sawyer allegedly
Non-speaking role. A maid in Old Carter's house who brings Frank's dinner.
A local law officer, who interrogates Mother Sawyer, and administers the
punishment of Frank, Sawyer and Sir Arthur (q.q.v.).
Daughter of Old Carter. She is wooed by Somerton, but their courtship ends when
he is accused of Susan's murder. She tends Frank (q.v.) in his sick-bed, but
finds the incriminating knife in his pocket, and raises the alarm. When Somerton
is released from custody, she agrees to marry Somerton in the conclusion, but
does so doubtfully, expressing her fear of untrustworthy husbands.
Does not appear in play. An Enfield gentleman, who sends Warbeck to Edmonton.
Four dancers, led by Cuddy Banks, who abuse Mother Sawyer and perform a Morris
in the churchyard.
MOTHER ELIZABETH SAWYER
A poor old woman suspected of witchcraft by her neighbours. Their persecution
encourages her to make a pact with the demonic Dog, who pretends to be obedient
to her. She revels in her new powers, and the Dog exacts revenge on her
neighbours, but, in the end, the Dog abandons her, and she is hung before an
A countryman, ringleader of the villagers who persecute Mother Sawyer. He beats
her when she gathers sticks on his land, and blames her for all his misfortunes,
including a bizarre compulsion to kiss his cow's arse every day.
A rich, generous yeoman, who arranges the marriages of his two daughters, Susan
and Katherine. He is devastated by Susan's murder, and infuriated when Frank's
guilt is revealed. But he forgives Frank in the conclusion, falsely believing
him to have been bewitched by Mother Sawyer (q.v.).
Husband of Anne Ratcliffe. He relates her death-bed speech accusing Mother
Sawyer of witchcraft.
An impoverished country gentleman. He pressures his son Frank into marrying the
rich Susan Carter. When Frank repents Susan's murder, Old Thorney forgives him,
and acknowledges Frank's first wife, Winifred, as a daughter-in-law.
Non-speaking role. The village barber's boy, hired by Cuddy to play a witch in
the Morris dance.
An old fiddler, whose fiddle is bewitched into silence by the Dog.
SIR ARTHUR CLARINGTON
A wealthy landowner, who has sexual relations with his maid, Winifred, and
reneges on his promise to support her and Frank (q.v) when they marry. When
Frank is executed, the Justice names Sir Arthur as the cause of his misfortune,
and he agrees to pay a fine to Winifred in compensation.
A country gentleman, friend of Warbeck and suitor of Katherine Carter. He is
arrested on suspicion of assisting in the murder of Susan. He is released when
the truth is revealed. When Frank repents on the gallows, Warbeck forgives him,
and he and Katherine agree to marry.
A devil that disguises as Katherine to gull Cuddy.
SPIRIT OF SUSAN
Appears at Frank's bedside. May not be Susan's ghost, since she died forgiving
Frank: it may instead be a dream-figure, or a devil conjured by the Dog.
Daughter of Old Carter. She marries Frank Thorney, and is in love with him. But
Frank is a bigamist, and he murders her. She dies forgiving him.
Does not appear in play. Winifred's uncle with whom she stays while waiting for
A country gentleman. He is angry when Old Carter (q.v.) spurns his suit toward
Susan, and this makes him a likely suspect when Susan is murdered. He is
released from custody when the truth is revealed. When Frank (q.v.) repents his
crime on the gallows, Warbeck forgives him.
A countryman who steals thatch from Mother Sawyer's cottage, to use it in a
witch-test. Like W. Mago (q.v.), this is probably the name of an actor, rather
than a character.
A maid, pregnant by her master, Sir Arthur. She secretly marries her true love,
Frank Thorney. After Frank is forced into a bigamous marriage with Susan Carter,
he and Winifred decide to escape together and she disguises as Frank's page. But
when Frank murders Susan, Winifred rebukes him, and reveals their marriage to
Old Carter. Winifred is moved by Frank's repentance on the gallows, and forgives
him. She is embraced by Old Carter and Old Thorney (q.v.), and receives
compensation from Sir Arthur. In the epilogue, she resolves to search for a
Listed in the dramatis personae, but does not appear in the play. Like W.
Hamluc (q.v.), this is probably the name of an actor, rather than a character.