Blight, Tamsin (1798–1856)
Famous witch, healer and
pellar of Cornwall, England, known as “the Pellar of
Helston.” Stories about her were recorded by the Cornish
folklorist William Bottrell in the 19th century.
Tamsin Blight was born in Redruth in 1798, probably
to a poor family. Her first name is sometimes given as
Tamson in records. She also was called Tammy Blee (blee
is Cornish for “wolf”). Little is known about her early life.
Later, it was said that she was a descendant of the true
pellar blood of Matthew Lutey of Cury.
In 1835, at age 38, she married a widower, James (Jemmy)
Thomas, a copper miner who claimed to be a pellar.
While Blight enjoyed a good reputation, Thomas did not.
Reputedly, he was a drunk who repelled spells for young
men in return for sexual favors. One newspaper story described
him as “a drunken, disgraceful, beastly fellow,
and ought to be sent to the treadmill.”
His outrageous conduct damaged Blight’s reputation.
When a warrant was issued for his arrest for wanting to
commit “a disgraceful offence” (i.e., an act of homosexuality),
Blight separated from him. Thomas fled and was
gone from Cornwall for about two years.
Blight continued her career as a pellar. People from far
away would make pilgrimages to see her; sailors would
get protective charms from her prior to making voyages.
She especially healed people who believed they suffered
because of ill-wishing. Even when she was ill and confined
to bed prior to her death, people still came to see
her. According to stories, people would lie on stretchers
by her bedside, and walk away healed.
Blight also divined the future, and expelled bewitchments
of animals. She reportedly conjured spirits and the
She evidently did not hesitate to curse those who angered
her, however. One story tells of the village cobbler
refusing to mend her shoes because she was not good
about paying her bills. She told him, “You’ll be sorry for
that, for in a short while I will see to it that you have no
work to do.” The cobbler’s business went into a tailspin,
and he left the area.
At some point, Blight may have renewed her relationship
with Thomas. She had a son, and Thomas may have
been the father. She reportedly passed on her powers to
Blight died on October 6, 1856.
Little was heard about Thomas until his death in 1874
in the parish of Illogan. An obituary described him as a
wizard of great ability and repute