The Lancashire Witches of 1604-13

The Lancashire Witches of 1604-13


  • Many families were engaged in both cattle rearing and the manufacture of cloth
  • Categorised as a pastoral economy
  • inflation and rent increased
  • Population increase
  • clashes with the duchy of Lancaster
  • refuge for recusant catholics
  • closure of whalley abbey


  • provides a basis for business competition
  • explains why damaged livestock could be the centre of accusations
  • caused a harsher economic climate in which many fell into poverty and had to turn to begging
  • resources had to be stretched further so that all could be looked after well, increased economic and social tensions
  • increased economic tensions and poverty
  • older witches accused were charged with using corrupt versions of catholic prayers
  • loss of charity and education to the population causing higher poverty and tensions

Overall summary

The threat posed by economic tensions can be seen as a foreground for why the witch hunt may have started, as accusations were often based on disputes regarding these matters. This can be seen with Old Chattox and Old Demdike who fell out over potential theft (social and economic issue)


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