Thomas Colley

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Thomas Colley (died 24 August 1751) was an English chimney sweep, executed for the murder of accused witch Ruth Osborne at Tring, Hertfordshire.[1]

Colley was one of the leaders of a mob which gathered at Tring in April 1751 and seized an elderly couple, John and Ruth Osborne, from the local workhouse, accusing them of witchcraft. The mob subjected the pair to a dunking at a nearby pond in Wilstone. Ruth was beaten and dragged through the water repeatedly, until Colley drowned her by turning her face-down with a stick. John survived and testified at Colley's trial.

Colley was convicted of murder and hanged in chains at Gubblecote Cross.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ HERTFORDSHIRE’S LAST WITCH HUNT, retrieved 18 May 2011 
  • John Brand, Henry Ellis, "Observations on popular antiquities: chiefly illustrating the origin of our vulgar customs, ceremonies, and superstitions", Charles Knight and Co., 1842, p.20
  • Marijke Gijswijt-Hofstra, Brian P. Levack, Roy Porter, Bengt Ankarloo, "Witchcraft and magic in Europe: the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries", Continuum International Publishing Group, 1999, ISBN 0-485-89005-4, p.195
  • F. E. Smith, 1st Earl of Birkenhead, "More Famous Trials", Hutchinson, 1928, pp.221-226
  • "The Criminal recorder: or, Biographical sketches of notorious public characters, including murderers, traitors, pirates, mutineers, incendiaries ... and other noted persons who have suffered the sentence of the law for criminal offenses ; embracing a variety of curious and singular cases ...", R. Dowson, 1815, pp.257-260