Mistress Apollonia of Shipley [Laura]

Player: Laura
Rank: Common
Religion: Church of England
Reputation: Tolerated
Email: apollonia_of_shipley@albion.chaosdeathfish.com

A mad old bat from a small village in Yorkshire. Some say she gave up one eye for wisdom. Others just say it was a nasty accident with a pitchfork. Still, this is entirely normal for a senior member of the Sisters of Hecate.


An extract from Witchcraft Through The Ages.

Case Study: Apollonia of Shipley

Perhaps one of the most influential characters in English witchcraft in the early 1600s, Mistress Apollonia's final years would set the trends for decades following.

For all the activity of Apollonia's life her passing in 1609, shortly after the end of the plague, was a quiet one. Her body was found by her apprentice, resting in an old chair in the back garden, looking out over the beehives and herbs. Three days later, an imposing man with one eye, a flat cap and a rather strange horse appeared in Shipley, nodded politely to her apprentice and disappeared with her body. Neither the man nor the body was seen again.

Men and the Sisters

Though one might be able to find a lone Sister of Hecate at a funeral, it would take a remarkable event to bring them out in force. One such event was the death of Viscount Matthias Kimmons, who caused something of a stir by being ritually murdered and leaving his estate to England's first dragon, Sii Maou, and the Sisters.

At the funeral Apollonia gave a heartfelt speech on Kimmon's remarkable empathy with animals and friendship with the Sisters, which was received rather better by the assembled witches than nobles. This sparked the first of many debates on the possible place for nobles and men in the Sisterhood, eventually resulting in the acceptance of men and public acceptance of some of the nobles who had been closely tied with the Sisters for years.

Much has been made of Queen Elizabeth II's part in these changes, some even suggesting that she was a practising witch. It is certainly true that her blessing made it possible for nobles to openly be members of the Sisterhood, however it could not remove the social stigma of witchcraft.

The Spread of the Gryphons

It was in 1609, shortly after the death of Apollonia, that Queen Elizabeth II declared gryphons to be royal beasts. The same year a breeding pair and cubs were released onto Ilkley moor. Both events occurred with little fanfare. Gryphons were never popular targets for the hunt, being both vicious in attack and inclined to fly away if badly wounded, and the creatures shied away from those who would use the moor.

By this time the North and South of England were largely cut off from each other. There are few records of activities on the moor at this time, but there are ground to believe that it was used as a sanctuary for magicians targeted by King James. Whilst a few attempts were made to wipe out the inhabitants of the moor, these were invariably fruitless as gryphons and people alike would disappear, seemingly into the land itself, before the soldiers even reached the moor.

Once the civil war was over, Albion looked to Ilkley moor as an area of land which could take sheep or the plough. When it was found to be home to several dozen gryphons, the Horticulturalists were despatched. The gryphon breeding and training program which followed largely took over the moor, however gave Albion a force of aerial messengers and skirmishers to be reckoned with.

The Cottage

Apollonia's cottage was left to her apprentice, Margaret Tanner, after her death, and after then changed hands every few years. It rapidly became a barometer of influence amongst the Sisters, as those living in it would either be those that already were looked up to, or would soon come to be.

In 1611 the cottage was stormed by a battalion of King Charles I of Scotland's troops as they headed South, despite it having remained unnoticed for most of King James' occupation of the North and subsequent purges of suspected magicians. The men never returned and the cottage was undamaged – a fact that the pamphleteers made much of.

Pamphlet Extract

There is a rather bad caricature of King Charles I of Scotland entwined in a rose bush with particularly large thorns, captioned “Bonny Prince Charlie tried to pick one English Rose too many!”

Thee men of Scotland did come, and tryed to Burne our Sisters. But Daysies and Buttercups did prove too much for them. From rabbites did they flee, but no escape was to be had! The grasses did tangle them, and the herbs did claim them.

bio/apollonia_of_shipley.txt · Last modified: 2007/09/23 22:57 by helen