1) Although both words might be taken at face value, they more frequently referred to individuals with supposed occult skills, and were used especially of people who might heal sick animals or locate missing objects.

1567 Robt Garmann parochie de Lowdame ... is commonly reputed to be a wiseman or sorceror ... he hayth healed beastes beinge forspoken

1598 he sent to one Haigh widdowe or widdowe Carr of Darfield reputed wise women to knowe a remedy for his sicknes, Darton

1657 Francis Metcalffe of Stanningley Greene, wiseman

1693 William Beever whoe the common people call a wise man ... can tell where to finde things that are lost ... by a booke whiche he calls an alminacke, Silkstone. In a court case reported in the Doncaster Gazette of 1 July, 1834, John Crossley and his wife denied consulting a ‘cunning’ man or a wise man.

spellings wise woman
dates 1567 1598 1657 1693

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