Reported in the News Letter on January 16, 1929: Deceased ‘believed there was a witch under the hearthstone’

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“Someone under the hearth who was going to harm her.”

That was one of the delusions, it was stated, held by a Yorkshire widow, Hannah Maria Crownshaw, 76, of Worrall, near Sheffield, who died from burns received at her cottage, where she lived alone, and on whom an inquest was held yesterday.

A neighbour expressed the opinion that the old woman’s dress, which was very old-fashioned, caught alight as she was sitting over the fire.

Another neighbour said that a few days before the fatality she called on Mrs Crownshaw, and found her sitting on a child’s chair. Her head was between her hands, and she said that she had been unwell.

“She came towards me and unfastened her hair. I noticed her head was bleeding. She said, ‘Look what that witch has done,’ and pointed to the hearthstone.”

The verdict returned was “Death from accidental burns and shock received when sitting over the fire, the deceased being eccentric and suffering from delusions.”