The Benign, the Malevolent, the Unaware and the Falsely Accused are the only types of Witches which appear in the Wardstone Chronicles.
Main Article: Benign witchesBenign Witches are "wise women, who have a great knowledge of herbs and potions. Some are midwives, others healers, and have saved countless lives. They serve the light, and any monetary gain is small. If their clients are poor, they will usually work for nothing."
Some of the more notable benign witches are:
- Maddy Hermside (of Kirkham)
- Jenny Bentham (of Oakenclough)
- Eliza Brinscall (of Sabden)
- Angela Nateby (of Belmont)
- Emma Hoole (of Rochdale)
- Madge Claughton (of Samlesbury)
- Agnes Sowerbutts (of Pendle) - status is not certain.
These women can be relied upon to help Spooks and their apprentices with their healing capabilities and local knowledge. Charges of witchcraft may can be brought against Benign Witches from time to time. In his Bestiary, John Gregory says that "we should be prepared to defend them and educate their neighbours when necessary."
The Falsely Accused
Main Article: Falsely Accused WitchesThese are poor women who are falsely accused of witchcraft, thus wrongly prosecuted by a witch finder. Often, women are the victims of gossip, but conspiracy is sometimes involved, when a witch finder colludes with neighbours in order to have an innocent woman tried and condemned.
Witch finders usually do this with the intention to take all of the innocent woman's belongings (house and other possessions); selling them. Therefore, witch finders are generally very rich.
Main Article: Malevolent WitchesThese witches draw their power from the dark and pursue their own ends - either without any consideration of the consequences for others, or deliberately setting out to do harm. While some serve the Fiend directly, many act of their own volition.
There is a whole spectrum of power and ability.
At the lowest end of the scale, witchcraft is dabbled in to survive; it is a means to fill the belly and gain shelter against the cold. Such witches are little more than beggars.
At the highest end of the scale, whole kingdoms may rise or fall at the whim of a powerful witch.
Some of the more notable malevolent witches are:
Main Article: Unaware WitchesFor some witches, it is possible to live out her live, and not once realise her potential. This never happens in communities such as Pendle. Here, an unaware witch can and will be sniffed out by a witch's acute sense of smell.
However, in some isolated villages, the ability may jump two or three generations, and suddenly manifest itself in a child who is completely unaware of her own power. Sometimes, this is revealed in a crisis: for example, when either her own life, or the life of a loved one is at risk, a witch's latent power may flare up.
Some people attribute a sudden flare of power to a 'miracle', or the intervention of some deity rather than realising that the true power lies within.