JOHN BRUGH was known as the Warlock of Fossoway. Although he lived in Fossoway, much of what he practised was done in Glendevon, which was the scene of some of his most gruesome incantations.

Among the charms used by Brugh he would place an enchanted stone into the drink of his patient.

This kind of ‘medication’ had been sanctioned by the church in Scotland before the Reformation and while innocent in itself, it was the incantation which accompanied it that deemed it as sorcery post-Reformation.

Once, Brugh, accompanied by a witch, had a tub filled with water and placed two enchanted stones in it.

A whole herd of ill cattle passed-by and each one was sprinkled with the water, except for one.

It refused and had to be pulled by force to the byre door. Brugh said this one had to be buried alive so the other cattle would go to the cleansing area and ‘in this devilish manner be charmeing, they were cured’.

He also persuaded a man that his horses were bewitched and told him to wash them in water charmed by two enchantment stones.

By doing these charms, Brugh not only made money but also gained goods and services.

However, he did not simply try to cure those who were ill. He also used his powers for malicious purposes.

It is said he met the devil three times at Glendevon churchyard, when, on three separate occasions, he dug up a body, one of them being a servant by the name of John Christieson.

Other corpses were dug up at Muckhart kirkyard and later placed headless above a byre and stable door to destroy cattle in an act of vengeance.

Digging up of the dead, especially with the help of the devil, was widely viewed as a particularly loathsome crime, and this led to him being tried for witchcraft.

At his trial, Catherine Mitchell, herself a convicted witch, told the court how she had seen him with the devil at Rumbling Bridge shortly before her own execution following her trial at Culross.

It was also claimed he got his knowledge of sorcery from a 70-year-old widow named Neance Nikclerith from Monzie, who was burned as a witch 40 years previously. Nikclerith was Brugh’s assistant at the cure of the cattle when he intimidated one of their number.

Brugh was tried at Edinburgh on November 24, 1643, and found guilty of sorcery. He was sentenced to be strangled and burned on the Castle Hill in Edinburgh.