According to historian James Duncan Phillips, Philip English had built “quite a conspicuous house on the easterly corner of English Lane. It seems to have been a combination of counting house, shop, and mansion. It was a many-gabled structure like several others in town, with overhanging second stories and a great porch on the western end…”
Philip and Mary English of Salem Town were accused of witchcraft in late April of 1692 – Mary on the 21st, when she was arrested, and Philip on the 30th. Philip had advance warning of his accusation and fled to friend George Hollard’s home in Boston to avoid capture. On May 6, local officers came to Hollard’s house looking for English, but he was able to avoid arrest by hiding under a pile of dirty laundry and remained free for a few weeks longer. Despite this initial evasion, Philip was ultimately apprehended and was examined on the last day of May. English was accused of tormenting Mary Walcott, Mercy Lewis, Abigail Williams, Ann Putnam Jr., Elizabeth Hubbard, and newly-afflicted Susanna Sheldon.
At English’s examination on May 31 in Salem Village, William Beale of Marblehead told of the aftermath of a property dispute from two years prior, in which his testimony against English was followed by his own illness and the death of his son. Beale was convinced these troubles were caused by witchcraft performed by English.
Philip and Mary were both held for trial in Boston jail. Because of English’s wealth he received special treatment – he was allowed to roam free in Boston by day, and he was able to rent rooms in the home of the jail keeper, for himself, his wife, and one daughter. Eventually two Boston reverends, Samuel Willard and Joshua Moody, helped arrange an escape for the couple. On August 21, the two fled to New York, forfeiting a £4000 bond, but saving their lives. It was arranged that in their absence their daughter would safely board with loyal friend George Hollard.