If I say "guilty" you'll hang me before dawn. And if I say not, my fate is still in the hands of you bastards. I'll hold my peace and trust in the Lord!
— Giles to Cotton Mather[src]

Giles Corey was a poacher who had close ties with the Alden family. A friend of the late John Alden senior, he welcomed John Alden back home. He was accused of witchcraft by Mercy Lewis as secretly planned by Mary Sibley, and pressed to death for a confession on Cotton Mather's order.

Giles Corey was a character portrayed by Kevin Tighe.

Early Life

Little is known about his life prior to the events narrated except that he was a friend of John Alden's father and previously had his own farm.

Throughout The Salem Series

Season One

Giles threatening Mary Sibley

Giles Corey is the first person that interacts with John Alden on his return to the city, threatening him with a gun believing him a thief in the Alden house since everyone knew that John was dead. The pair celebrate his return over a drink and he informs John that Salem is under a witch-panic led by Cotton Mather following him enquiring about the three people he saw hanging upon retuning and also tells him that his Mary is now the richest woman in Salem after she married George Sibley.

The next day he accompanies John to church and watches as John publicly mocks the idea that witches exist and later watches on as Mary invites him to a dinner party she is hosting. After the dinner party he visit's Mary informing her that seven years ago he had seen her together with Tituba sacrificing her and John's unborn child. Then gives her an ultimatum: if she didn't confess it to John, he will do it.

Giles accused of witchcraft.

At the market Mary not wanting John to discover what she had done, makes sure that Mercy accuses Corey of witchcraft. A bewildered Giles watches as Mercy Lewis crawls towards him on all fours pointing a bloody finger at him and Cotton demands that he is put under arrest.

That night Cotton tries to question him but he refuses to speak with anyone but John Alden so he sends men out to find him. Cotton under pressure from Mary Sibley to force a plea, orders him to be pressed and takes him to the commons where a crowd has gathered. Defiantly he refuses to confess and tells him to get more stones. John arrives but he is forced to watch his friend die as he is held back, his own name is the last words Giles says before he is crushed to death.[1]


Giles Corey is a gruff farmer who practice hunting in the woods of Salem to survive. The only person with whom he gets along is John Alden, we do not know what relationship's he had with Salem's citizens during the absence of the young man.

Corey is a man of honor and does not believe in witchcraft, which he considers a mere superstition.

Physical Appearance

Giles Corey was a man in his sixties, from robust physique, long white hair and hands and face ruined by hard work. His clothes are worn and dirty, with fur of animals that hunt in the woods.


John Alden

You didn't come back for all this horseshit. You came back for one thing and one thing only.
— Giles to John

Giles & John celebrate his return.

Giles Corey is John's oldest friend and is a family friend of his parents. During the events of 1685 Giles was aware of the John's relationship with Mary and also witnessed the branding of Isaac Walton stopping John from attacking George Sibley warning the younger John that George tolerated his father but would see him hang. After John was sent to join the militia Giles witnessed Mary sacrificing their unborn child in the woods but kept what she had done a secrete but when John returned seven years later who had been presumed dead gave Mary the ultimatum to tell John the truth or he would. Mary not wanting John to know her secrete had Mercy Lewis accuse him of witchcraft and had him stoned to death while John was forced to helplessly watch his friend die. [1]

After John discovered that his body had been dumped into the crag he recovered his body burying him in Salem's cemetery [2]

Memorable Quotes

Giles Corey: "Precious Salem, caught up in a stinking witch-panic..."
The Vow
Giles Corey (to John Alden): "Puritans know their sun is setting. Nothing like a new enemy or a new old enemy to get people behind you."
The Vow
Giles Corey: "Won't dignify the accusation. If you can call a young girl's spit an accusation. What I have to say, I'll say to Captain John Alden. You just find me Captain Alden. I'll have plenty to say."
The Vow
Cotton Mather: "Be reasonable, man. I have the power to press you for an answer. All you have to do is say the words "guilty" or "not guilty," and we can stop all of this."
Giles Corey: "If I say "guilty" you'll hang me before dawn. And if I say not, my fate is still in the hands of you bastards. I'll hold my peace and trust in the Lord!"
The Vow




  • In the real Salem Witch Trial, Giles Corey was accused of witchcraft along with his wife Martha Corey. After being arrested for witchcraft, Corey refused to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. He was subjected to pressing in an effort to force him to plea, but instead died after two days.
  • The torture method by which Giles Corey was killed is known as Peine forte et dure.

See Also

  1. 1.0 1.1 Brannon Braga & Adam Simon (writer) & Richard Shepard (director). April 20, 2014. "The Vow". Salem. Season 1. Episode 1. WGN.
  2. Brannon Braga & Adam Simon (writer) & David Von Ancken (director). April 27, 2014. "The Stone Child". Salem. Season 1. Episode 2. WGN.
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