Mother Malkin earned her nickname many years before Tom Ward’s apprenticeship, when she opened a home for young women who were struggling to care for their infants. Unbeknown to the home's residents, Mother Malkin, in fact, had no intention of caring for these women. When missing peoples reports came about within the county, locals went to investigate, only to find the bodies of mothers and infants drained of blood. It is assumed Mother Malkin used this blood she had collected in some form of dark magic during a ritual.
Thirteen years before Tom Ward's apprenticeship, she was captured and put in a witch pit by John Gregory, in the garden at his house. During Tom Ward’s apprenticeship, John Gregory had traveled to Pendle to deal with witch problems, and Tom was visited by Alice Deane. She gave him three blood cakes and told him to give her one each night. After she had consumed one, she was strong enough to bend the iron bars on the pit, though that didn't stop Tom from giving her one the next night. The second cake gave her enough strength to escape and so Tom followed after her, knocking her into the river, which burned her, eventually killing her.
She later used possession to take the form of Snout, the local pig butcher, but failed, when Tom used salt and iron to drive her out of his body. She then ran into the pig hut and was consumed by pigs.
Mother Malkin preferred to employ the use of Blood Magic, unlike her granddaughter, Bony Lizzie, who got by using Bone Magic. Mother Malkin was, as suggested by the name she was known by, of the Malkin clan.