Molly Leigh was born in 1685 and lived in a cottage on the edge of the moors at Burslem, near Stoke-on-Trent.

Molly was a solitary lady who never married.  She enjoyed the company of animals and often talked to them - her favourite being a Jackdaw which she kept as a pet.

 She made her living selling her cows' milk to travellers and passers-by, and the Jackdaw was often seen perched on her shoulder as she delivered milk to the dairy in Burslem. 

Molly was known for her quick temper and the people of Burslem were suspicious and frightened of her.

This was not uncommon in those times, for throughout the country  women who lived on their own in remote places - particularly elderly women - were being labelled as witches.

In Molly's case it was the local vicar, the Rev. Spencer, who made witchcraft accusations against her. He claimed that Molly sent her jackdaw to sit on the sign of the Turk's Head pub (a pub that the vicar frequently visited) and when it did, the beer turned sour. Molly was also blamed for other ailments suffered by numerous townsfolk.

Molly died in 1746 and was buried in the Burslem churchyard, but many people claimed that her ghost haunted the town.  A short time after her burial, the Rev. Spencer along with clerics from Stoke, Wolstanton and Newcastle went to open her cottage and retrieve her pet Jackdaw.  When they arrived they were shocked to see Molly (or an apparition of her) sitting in a favourite armchair knitting, with her pet jackdaw perched on her shoulders just as she had often been seen in real life.  Out of fear, the vicar and others returned to the graveyard and re-opened her grave. They drove a stake through her heart and threw the living jackdaw into the coffin. The vicar then decreed that as she was a witch she would not rest easy until her body was buried lying North to South.


   To this day, Molly's tomb is the only one that lies at right angles to all the other graves in the churchyard.

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