The second illustration will provide a much more important example, and a few preliminary investigations add to the interest.
According to a petition of Henry, earl of Stirling and others in the House of Lords, 27 June, 1660, it appears that " Sir Peter Vanlore, the elder, in his lifetime settled the Castle and parks of the Devizes in Wiltshire on Lady Mary Powell and the heirs of her body, with remainder to his own right heirs, but Sir Edward Powell, late husband of Lady Powell, who for sixteen years had separated himself from the company of his wife, did about 5 Sept., 1651, with William Hinson alias Powell, his nephew, now a member of Parliament, Thomas Levingstone, Anne, his wife, and others, by force and false pretences possess themselves of the house where Lady Powell then lay dying, on feigned actions arrested and hurried away her servants, kept her house in a warlike manner with armed men, and having by force secluded from her all persons but themselves, procured her to acknowledge a fine of the property mentioned above, to the use of Sir Edward and herself for life with remainder to the use of the defendants, Thomas Levingstone, Anne, his wife, and their heirs. Lady Powell died on the 6th Oct., 1651, whilst still under the same restraint, the fine by ante date and false entry was made a fine of Trinity term, 1651 ." 1
Among those who conceived a violent enmity towards Mrs. Anne Levingstone was Abraham Vandenbemde, who with others, left no stone unturned to secure her destruction, the steps taken resulting in the execution of a disinterested third party. According to a contemporary pamphlet, in December, 1651, the Confederates repaired to one Joan Simpson and offered her 101. in hand, and 5001. more in Hilary term following, if she would swear that Mrs. Levingstone had used sorcery and witchcraft to take away the life of Lady Powell. On 10 Jan. following, one Anne Hook (who pretended herself to be a cunning woman) being employed by the Confederates, persuaded her thereunto by offering her 1201. and half the money which Vandenbemde and another were to give her and her husband for making their
Hist. MSS. Comm., 7th Rep., pt. i, p. 110.