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Alice Kyteler

(fl. c. 1292—1334) alleged witch


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(fl. 1324), the subject of the most famous of Irish witchcraft trials. Alice was a Kilkenny matron of Flemish descent, who had married four husbands. She was alleged by Richard Ledrede, the English Franciscan bishop of Ossory (who had been educated in France and who shared to the point of obsession Pope John XXII's pre-occupation with heresy and sorcery) to have lain with a demon incubus named ‘Robin FitzArt’, and to have cast spells to advance the career of William Outlaw, her son by her first marriage. Outlaw was a merchant and moneylender related to Roger Outlaw, the prior of the Hospitallers and chancellor of Ireland, and was connected with leading Kilkenny figures. Alice was accused of sorcery by the families of her later husbands, who were hostile to Outlaw. Her case became caught up in disputes between the bishop and elements of the local elite, led by Arnold le Poer, the seneschal of Kilkenny, who is said to have denounced Ledrede as a ‘vagabond from England’. Ledrede later excommunicated both le Poer and Roger Outlaw on improbable charges of heresy. Alice escaped to England but her associate, Petronilla de Midia, was executed.

From The Oxford Companion to Irish History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: European History.


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