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Witch Hunt: The Persecution of Witches in England

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It was not so long ago that the belief in witchcraft was shared by members of all levels of society. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, diseases were feared by all, the infant mortality rate was high, and around one in six harvests was likely to fail. In the small rural communities in which most people lived, affection and enmity could build over long periods. Whe It was not so long ago that the belief in witchcraft was shared by members of all levels of society. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, diseases were feared by all, the infant mortality rate was high, and around one in six harvests was likely to fail. In the small rural communities in which most people lived, affection and enmity could build over long periods. When misfortune befell a family, they looked to their neighbours for support - and for the cause. During the sixteenth century, Europe was subject to a fevered and pious wave of witch hunts and trials. As the bodies of accused women burnt right across the Continent, the flames of a nationwide witch hunt were kindled in England. In 1612 nine women were hanged in the Pendle witch trials, the prosecution of the Chelmsford witches in 1645 resulted in the biggest mass execution in England, and in the mid-1640s the Witch finder General instigated a reign of terror in the Puritan counties of East Anglia. Hundreds of women were accused and hanged. It wasn't until the latter half of the seventeenth century that witch-hunting went into decline.In this book, Andrew and David Pickering present a comprehensive catalogue of witch hunts, arranged chronologically within geographical regions. The tales of persecution within these pages are testimony to the horror of witch-hunting that occurred throughout England in the hundred years after the passing of the Elizabethan Witchcraft Act of 1563.


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It was not so long ago that the belief in witchcraft was shared by members of all levels of society. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, diseases were feared by all, the infant mortality rate was high, and around one in six harvests was likely to fail. In the small rural communities in which most people lived, affection and enmity could build over long periods. Whe It was not so long ago that the belief in witchcraft was shared by members of all levels of society. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, diseases were feared by all, the infant mortality rate was high, and around one in six harvests was likely to fail. In the small rural communities in which most people lived, affection and enmity could build over long periods. When misfortune befell a family, they looked to their neighbours for support - and for the cause. During the sixteenth century, Europe was subject to a fevered and pious wave of witch hunts and trials. As the bodies of accused women burnt right across the Continent, the flames of a nationwide witch hunt were kindled in England. In 1612 nine women were hanged in the Pendle witch trials, the prosecution of the Chelmsford witches in 1645 resulted in the biggest mass execution in England, and in the mid-1640s the Witch finder General instigated a reign of terror in the Puritan counties of East Anglia. Hundreds of women were accused and hanged. It wasn't until the latter half of the seventeenth century that witch-hunting went into decline.In this book, Andrew and David Pickering present a comprehensive catalogue of witch hunts, arranged chronologically within geographical regions. The tales of persecution within these pages are testimony to the horror of witch-hunting that occurred throughout England in the hundred years after the passing of the Elizabethan Witchcraft Act of 1563.

34 review for Witch Hunt: The Persecution of Witches in England

  1. 5 out of 5

    lauren

    *2.5 stars A very interesting insight into witch hunts in England, mainly running from the late 1500s to the 1600s. Both David and Andrew evidently researched thoroughly into the cases they presented us with, and it was fascinating to see how many of the witches were treated/punished, the statistics of witchery (gender, age, class, etc.), and what kind of witchcraft was most common. It just got a little tedious reading 'so and so was accused of witchcraft and they were either hanged, released or *2.5 stars A very interesting insight into witch hunts in England, mainly running from the late 1500s to the 1600s. Both David and Andrew evidently researched thoroughly into the cases they presented us with, and it was fascinating to see how many of the witches were treated/punished, the statistics of witchery (gender, age, class, etc.), and what kind of witchcraft was most common. It just got a little tedious reading 'so and so was accused of witchcraft and they were either hanged, released or the outcome was not known'. I know that's the point of the book, and it's probably my fault for trying to get through it as fast as I did, but, you know, it wasn't always super enjoyable. I did, however, find the chapter dedicated to Lancashiran witches particularly interesting (there's no surprise there). The Pendle witches & the Salmsbury witches were, of course, my favourite to read about.

  2. 4 out of 5

    V.E. Lynne

    Excellent overview of witchcraft accusations, trials, and executions in England. The author provides a pretty substantial list, broken into geographical areas, as well as a basic introduction to the beliefs, superstitions and social conditions that underpinned the 'witch hunt' craze. Pickering pays particular attention to the role of animals, i.e 'familiars', in english magic which I found especially intriguing. Essential reading for anyone interested in this subject.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Interesting as resource material, dry as old Weetabix though.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Owen

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bryony Pearce

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chloe

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  8. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Sharples

  9. 5 out of 5

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  10. 4 out of 5

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  11. 5 out of 5

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  12. 4 out of 5

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  13. 4 out of 5

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  14. 4 out of 5

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    Sinead Trinnaman

  16. 5 out of 5

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  17. 4 out of 5

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  18. 5 out of 5

    K Hart

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    Jay Anderson

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    Kirstin Ingram

  21. 4 out of 5

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  26. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne (winterscribbler) Cole

  27. 5 out of 5

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    Antonio Bosnjak

  30. 4 out of 5

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  31. 5 out of 5

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  32. 5 out of 5

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  33. 4 out of 5

    Sedgers1

  34. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Redmond

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