From the Diocesan Records.
Document No. 64.
Wheras wee finde by many complaints that severall psones of this Island are very much adicted to scandalize and defame their neghbers upon unwarrantable grounds or reasons, onely out of a base humor to vexe and greive them with peevish and premeditated expressions reflecting upon ye dead as well as the liveing - but in pticulr Robt Cowle of ye pish of Kk Xt Lezayre makes complaint that both himselfe and children are by such malicious psons taxed and defamed as to be
Ye seed or offspring of ye Brown Cow,
and this forsooth out of a prtended notion that some of his prdecessors had acted unjustly as relating to such a beast, wch pticulr wee finde by temporll Record is a meere and absolute untruth: for 'twas a mistake (not in ye sd Cowles predecssor) but in ye heard [herd] or keeper of the Dry Closes where his Cow did grasse, who sent another Cow in stead of his own.
Therefore to prvent this unchristian practise for ye future it is ordered that publicacon be made in as many pish churches in this Island as the sd Robt Cowle shall thinke fitt, giveing publique warning and notice that if any pson or psons, man or woeman, lyable unto Eccll jurisdicon doe or dare presume to rebuice scandalize or upbraide the sd Robt Cowle his children or any of there Relations hereafter with the like oprobrious words, they shall forfeit ten pounds sterling to ye use of ye Lord of this Isle and 40 die dayes Imprissment. Dated Aprill ye 30th 1677.
Tho : Parre Charles Parr Tho Robinson The sevrall Suniners are required to publish ye above ordr and to return certificate.
The reference to the 'seed of the Brown Cow' in the above document it is believed must allude to ' Berrey Dhone,' the witch mentioned in that 'witch-song of the ruggedest and most fantastic type,' - according to T. E. Brown. (See Moore's Ballads, p. 72.)