WITCHCRAFT & WOMEN

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  • WITCHCRAFT & WOMEN
    • WOMEN
      • Women punished more harshly for crimes that challenged the image of women being respectable and obedient to men
      • 1633 - When a husband and wife were accused of drunkenness, only the woman was sent to the stocks to be humiliated
      • Women were also more likely to be punished for adultery than men
      • The cucking (or ducking) stool was used to punish women for brawling or arguing in public
      • Women convicted of murdering their husbands were not simply hanged. They were burned tov death as a sign that this was the worst kind of murder as it was seen as 'treason'
      • WOMEN AND THE COURTS
        • Women couldn't be JPs, constables, lawyers, court clerks or members of normal juries
        • Could give evidence as witnesses and bring cases to court
        • Special juries of married women were assembled when a woman facing the death penalty claimed she was pregnant
    • WITCHCRAFT
      • BELIEFS ABOUT WITCHES
        • Old women who lived alone
        • Childless and had familiars e.g. black cat/ toad
        • In league with the devil
        • Often poor and were isolated from others making them stand out
        • Had a 'Devils mark'
      • REASONS FORM INCREASED FEAR OF WITHCHES
        • Religious change - Puritans scared of the Devil
        • Lack of scientific knowledge - poor harvests meant that someone had to be blamed
        • French wars - people were highly suspicious of one another so claiming they were a witch would get them punished
        • Witchfinder general Matthew Hopkins - whipped up fear by travelling the country searching for witches.
          • Tortured victims for evidence to suggest that they were a witch, looked for the 'Devils' marks on their bodies, swam them, had many hanged and was paid for every witch he found
      • PUNISHMENTS
        • 'Swimming a witch' - if they were innocent the water would accept them and the would drown, but if they floated then they were guilty and would be executed

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