Witchcraft

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Key Dates in the history of witchcraft:

  • 1542 - The first law was passed saying that witchcraft was a crime
  • 1590 - The future King James I wrote an important book on witchcraft
  • 1645 - The year when Matthew Hopkins, witch-finder, accused record numbers of people of Witchcraft in Essex 
  • 1717 - The last trial for Witchcraft
  • 1736 - The last law saying that witchcraft was a crime repealed

Matthew Hopkins - Witch-finder general

  • Was about 25 years old in 1645
  • Witch-finder general
  • Failed to make a success of being a lawyer
  • Hopkins had began scouring in East Anglia for witches
  • He tortured his suspects
  • Torture was illegal and was not used in other enquiries into witchcraft
    • He forced his suspects to stand up & forced them to walk until their feet were blistered
    • He made sure they got no sleep - a very effective way of weakening their resistance
    • He humiliated the suspects by stripping them naked
    • Methods of torture were effective with old people
    • Many suspects confessed
  • If a mouse, fly or spider entered a cell of where the suspects were, Hopkins claimed it was the witch's familiar.
  • His Helpers found 'witches marks' on suspects body:
    • Spots
    • Scar
    • Boil
  • Witches were:
    • Hanged
    • Died of bad gaol conditions
    • Held in prisons and their fate was unknown
    • A small minority managed to acquit and were released - provided evidence against her fellow suspects
  • Witch-finders were paid for every witch…

Comments

Hanna

Excellent notes. Thanks very useful

doodii

TK

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