This book is the first major study of England's biggest and best-known witch trial which took place in 1612, when ten witches were arraigned and hung in the village of Pendle in Lancashire. The book has equal appeal across the disciplines of both History and English Literature/Renaissance Studies, with essays by the leading experts in both fields. Includes helpful summaries to explain the key points of each essay. Brings the subject up-to-date with a study of modern Wicca and paganism, including present-day Lancashire witches. Quite simply, this is the most comprehensive study of any English witch trial.
In the febrile religious and political climate of late sixteenth-century England, when the grip of the Reformation was as yet fragile and insecure, and underground papism still perceived to be rife, Lancashire was felt by the Protestant authorities to be a sinister corner of superstition, lawlessness and popery. And it was around Pendle Hill, a sombre ridge that looms over the intersecting pastures, meadows and moorland of the Ribble Valley, that their suspicions took infamous shape. The arraignment of the Lancashire witches in the assizes of Lancaster during 1612 is England’s most notorious witch-trial. The women who lived in the vicinity of Pendle, who were accused alongside the so-called Samlesbury Witches, then convicted and hanged, were more than just wicked sorcerers whose malign incantations caused others harm. They were reputed to be part of a dense network of devilry and mischief that revealed itself as much in hidden celebration of the Mass as in malevolent magic. They had to be eliminated to set an example to others. In this remarkable and authoritative treatment, published to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the case of the Lancashire witches, Philip C Almond evokes all the fear, drama and paranoia of those volatile times: the bleak story of the storm over Pendle.
The Lancashire Witch Conspiracy draws upon the experience of an author well versed and qualified in the history of his locality - namely the Forest of Pendle. John A Clayton provides here an in-depth study of the Lancashire Witch Trials of 1612 and, in so doing, many new discoveries of the event come to light. For instance; the most famous 'witch' of them all, Old Demdike (Elizabeth Southern), is found amongst the dusty records of Whalley parish church where she was both baptised and married. Demdike's husband, a farmer, brought his new wife and her illigitimate child into Pendle Forest and this would eventually trigger the trials at Lancaster of 19 people upon charges of witchcraft. The ancestors of Old Demdike, along with those of Chattox, Elizabeth Device, Alice Nutter et al are covered in a detail never before seen. The history of the Pendle Forest is covered in a depth that provides an unrivalled understanding of the subject of the Pendle Witches. The religious and political climate within the forest provide us with a fascinating idea of the times and, above all, new evidence is offered to show that the gentry would go to any lengths in the advancement of their estates - this would lead to tragedy for whole families within Pendle.
Witchcraft in early modern England introduces readers to the current state of debate and to future directions for investigation. It covers such topics as witchcraft as an intellectual and theological problem, neighbourly tensions related to witchcraft accusations, the issue of witchcraft and gender, and the problem of the decline of witch-persecution. --book cover.
The essays in this Handbook, written by leading scholars working in the rapidly developing field of witchcraft studies, explore the historical literature regarding witch beliefs and witch trials in Europe and colonial America between the early fifteenth and early eighteenth centuries. During these years witches were thought to be evil people who used magical power to inflict physical harm or misfortune on their neighbours. Witches were also believed to have made pacts with the devil and sometimes to have worshipped him at nocturnal assemblies known as sabbaths. These beliefs provided the basis for defining witchcraft as a secular and ecclesiastical crime and prosecuting tens of thousands of women and men for this offence. The trials resulted in as many as fifty thousand executions. These essays study the rise and fall of witchcraft prosecutions in the various kingdoms and territories of Europe and in English, Spanish, and Portuguese colonies in the Americas. They also relate these prosecutions to the Catholic and Protestant reformations, the introduction of new forms of criminal procedure, medical and scientific thought, the process of state-building, profound social and economic change, early modern patterns of gender relations, and the wave of demonic possessions that occurred in Europe at the same time. The essays survey the current state of knowledge in the field, explore the academic controversies that have arisen regarding witch beliefs and witch trials, propose new ways of studying the subject, and identify areas for future research.
This ground-breaking biography of Bishop Francis Hutchinson (1669-1739) draws upon a wealth of primary source material, and provides a rare portrait of an early eighteenth-century Anglican bishop and witchcraft theorist.
This work provides a collection of source material on Paganism. It provides a point of reference for key words and concepts, and deals with concepts shared by all Pagans, and also with those concepts unique to a particular Pagan tradition.
This collection of pamphlets describes fifteen English witchcraft cases in detail, vividly recreating events to give the reader the illusion of actually being present at witchcraft accusations, trials and hangings. But how much are we victims of literary manipulation by these texts? The pamphlets are presented in annotated format, to allow the reader to decide. Some of the texts appear in print for the first time in three centuries, whilst others are newly edited to give a clearer picture of sources.