Anna Koldings

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Anna (Ane or Anne) Koldings (died 1590) was an alleged Danish witch. She was one of the main suspects in the witch trial of Copenhagen the summer of 1590, which were held as a parallel to the famous North Berwick Witch trials in Edinburgh in Scotland.

In the spring of 1590, James VI returned from Oslo after marrying Anne, daughter of the King of Denmark-Norway. The Danish court at that time was greatly perplexed by witchcraft and the black arts, and this must have impressed on the young King James. The regal voyage back from Denmark was beset by storms. "In the summer of 1590 a great witch hunt was instituted in Copenhagen. One of the first victims was Anna Koldings, who under pressure divulged the names of five other women, one of whom was Mail the wife of the burgomaster of Copenhagen. They all confessed that they had been guilty of sorcery in raising storms which menaced Queen Anne's voyage and that they had sent devils to climb up the keel of her ship. In September two women were burnt as witches at Kronborg" [1] James heard news from Denmark regarding this and decided to set up his own tribunal.

The winter of 1589, Princess Anne of Denmark was sent to marry king James VI of Scotland. On the way a terrible storm arose, which almost sunk the ship; it was then taken to Oslo in Norway, where the wedding was to take place.

The authorities wanted to investigate the cause of the storm and accused the minister of finance, Christoffer Valkendorff, of having equipped the fleet so poorly that it was not able to withstand storm. He defended himself by saying that the storm had been caused by witches in the house of Karen the Weaver, who had sent little demons in empty barrows who had climbed up the keels of the ships and caused the storm; against such things, a minister of finance fought in vain. Karen was arrested in July and admitted having caused the storm with other women, whom she named, of which one was Anna Koldings.

During torture, Koldings named five other women participating in the meeting at Karen's house, where they had caused the storm by sending small devils up the keels of the princesse's ship's. She received several visits during her imprisonment, and confessed to two priests and three female visitors. She was considered as a very dangerous witch and nicknamed "The Devil's Mother". Among the women she named as witches was Malin, the wife of the mayor, and Margrethe Jakob Skrivers, whose husband unsuccessfully tried to defend her, and they were all arrested.

Anne Koldings was judged guilty and burned at the stake; twelve other women were burned at Kronborg in Copenhagen during this witch trial.

See also


  1. Anne of Denmark, Ethel Carleton Williams. Longman, 1970.