Witchcraft

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What is probably the most revealing evidence concerning popular beliefs in witchcraft?
Judicial records concerning prosecution before law courts
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In what years of the reign of Henry VIII was witchcraft a capital crime?
1542 and 1547
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A witchcraft statute was introduced in 1563. When was further, more draconian, legislation passed?
1604
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What did legislation on witchcraft in the sixteenth century work on the assumption that?
Curses could have real force within human society and that evil spirits could be invoked through magical acts
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What was the most common form of witchcraft that found its way before the law courts?
Maleficium
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Maleficium
Individual acts of cursing, as a result of which some mishap bfell the cursed person
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What was a surprising act that could be considered to have occurred because of witchcraft?
Butter failing to churn
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What was one way that evidence of belief in witchcraft emerges from legal records?
Litigation at church courts, in which accused witch may sue accusers for defamation
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Who studied witchcraft prosecutions in Essex from 1560-1680?
Macfarlane
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How many people were tried for witchcraft in Essex between 1560 and 1680?
313 people
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Between 1560 and 1680 what percentage of accused witches in Essex were executed?
24%
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Between 1560 and 1680 what percentage of accused in Essex were men?
7%
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Between 1560 and 1680 in Essex what percentage of accused were female?
93%
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How many women were prosecuted for witchcraft in Essex from 1560 to 1680?
290 women
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How many men were prosecuted for witchcraft in Essex from 1560 to 1680
23 men
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How many people were accused of witchcraft in Hatfield Peverel between 1560 and 1599?
14 people
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Where are the villages of Hatfield Peverel, Boreham and Little Baddow?
Essex
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How many people were accused of witchcraft in Boreham between 1560 and 1599?
4 people
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How many people were accused of witchcraft in Little Baddow between 1560 and 1599?
2 people
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How many people in Hatfield Peverel between 1560 and 1599 were tried for non attendance at church?
52 people
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How many people in Hatfield Peverel between 1560 and 1599 were tried for refusal to pay tithes?
8 people
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How many people were tried in Hatfield Peverel from 1560 to 1599 for sexual offences?
80 people
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How many people in Boreham from 1560-1599 were tried with non-attendance at church?
29 people
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How many people in Boreham from 1560-1599 were tried with refusal to pay tithes?
9 people
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How many people in Boreham from 1560-1599 were tried with sexualoffences?
46
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How many people in Little Baddow from 1560-1599 were tried with non-attendance at church?
23
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How many people in Little Baddow from 1560-1599 were tried for refusal to pay tithes?
3
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How many people in Little Baddow from 1560-1599 were tried for sexual offences?
30
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Which of the three Essex villages had the highest numbers of witchcraft persecutions?
Hatfield Peverel
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Which of the three Essex villages had the highest non-attendance at church?
Hatfield Peverel
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Which of the three Essex villages had the highest rate of refusal to pay tithes?
Boreham
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Which of the three Essex villages had the highest rate of sexual offences?
Hatfield Peverel
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How many of the witches accused at Essex Assizes (1560-1680) were the wives of gentlemen?
0
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How many of the witches accused at Essex Assizes (1560-1680) were the wives of labourers?
11
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How many of the witches accused at Essex Assizes (1560-1680) were the wives of yeomen?
4
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How many of the witches accused at Essex Assizes (1560-1680) were the wives of 'others'?
11
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How many of the victims (or their families) of those accused at Essex Assizes were labourers?
6
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How many of the victims (or their families) of those accused at Essex Assizes were husbandmen?
4
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How many of the victims (or their families) of those accused at Essex Assizes were yeoman?
16
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How many of the victims (or their families) of those accused at Essex Assizes were 'other'?
18
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How many of the victims (or their families) of those accused at Essex Assizes were gentlemen?
1
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How many witchcraft indictments were in 1560-1579? (Essex)
82 indictments
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How many witchcraft indictments were in 1580-1599? (Essex)
195 indictments
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How many witchcraft indictments were in 1600-1619? (Essex)
78 indictments
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How many witchcraft indictments were in 1620-1639? (Essex)
35 indictments
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How many witchcraft indictments were in 1640-1659? (Essex)
83 indictments
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How many witchcraft indictments were in 1660-1679? (Essex)
14 indictments
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How many witchcraft indictments were in 1645?
50
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How were witchcraft prosecutions initially dealt with?
By church courts
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How can the 1542 Act be described?
Very seere
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What did the 1604 Act do?
Tighten earlier legislation
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When can the height of witchcraft prosecutions be seen to be?
1570s to 1590s
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What must be remembered about the period prior to the 1570s?
Lack of surviving material
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With the exception of the 1640s what is the pattern of witchcraft prosecutions?
Decline in frequency
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How many felonious crimes were heard by the Court of Great Sessions for Cheshire between 1580 and 1709?
3,906 felonious crimes
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How many of the felonious crimes heard by the Court of Great Sessions for Cheshire between 1580 and 1709 concerned witchcraft?
34 crimes (less than 1%)
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Where are the best statistics available for witchcraft?
Essex; where witchcraft seemed to have been a greater cause for concern than elsewhere
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Alan Macfarlane
Shows that certain kinds of community experienced witchcraft prosecutions in a more intense manner than others. Local impact of witchcraft could therefore be quite extreme within a short space of time
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What does Macfarlane suggest witchcraft prosecutions resulted from?
Breakdown of medieval notions of Christian charity in the face of economic strain
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How did the poor find justification for cursing richer neighbours when refused charity in hard times?
Proverbs, xxviii, 27: "He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack; but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse'
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Why were witchcraft accusations often made by richer villagers against poor, isolated women?
Curses often directed by the poorer villagers against richer illagers who denied them charity
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What can be said about cursing?
Gendered- women's words were considered to be especially powerful.
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When did witchcraft prosecutions often peak?
Times of harvest failure and/or political anxiety - 1590s and 1640s saw increase in prosecutio
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What does Mcfarlane identify witchcraft as a product of?
Economic strains, local social tensions between richer and poorer villagers, cultural change with decline of charity
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What must be remembered about Macfarlane's posiiton?
Does not tell the full story. If grew out of these social and economic tensions, why didn't become contentious in early fourteenth century, with increased demographic pressure on resources?
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What may help explain the rise of witchcraft prosecutions before the courts from the middle of the sixteenth century onwards?
Growing politicisation of religious matters
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What helped to spread anxieties and identify stereotypes?
Intense coverage of witchcraft by the printing industry
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What did some of those accused of witchcraft believe in?
Their own magical abilities
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Margaret Moore of Witchford
Mother of four children, three dead by time fourth was born. Accused of act of malecifium, of killing a farmer by cursing and hurting the cattle of another.
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What did Margaret Moore of Witchford say in her confession to the court?
Felt herself to have acted in league with diabolic forces, due to the intercession of the spirits of her deceased children
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What did Magaret Moore say that her deceased child said, leading her to seal a covenant and suckle spirits, sending them to kill Thomas Nix?
"mother more Give me your soule (and) I will save the life of your fourth child wich is now living with yow"
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When did witchcraft become prosecutable before English secular courts?
1542
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What had been the punishment for witchcraft before the church courts?
Fine or doing penance within the church
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When did witchcraft first become prosecutable before quarter sessions and assizes?
1542-1547
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Do we know the pattern of prosecutions for the first witchcraft statute?
No
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The first witchcraft statute lapsed with the death of Henry VIII; when was witchcraft again made prosecutable before the secular courts?
1563 - whipped, fined, branded
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Under the statute of 1563, why could you be hanged?
For using witchcraft to kill someone
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Who was more ideologically driven regarding witchcraft than Elizabeth I?
James I
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What had James I wrote a pamphlet on?
Wanting witchcraft to be more punihhable
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When did all acts of witchcraft become punishable by death?
1604 Act
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When was the last execution for witchcraft?
1712
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When was witchcraft as an offence removed from the statute book?
1736
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When was Macfarlane's study of Essex?
1970
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What must be remembered about witchcraft prosecutions?
Cases that were worthy of prosecution were treated as any other criminal act and people were found innocent
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Was witchcraft heavily gendered?
Yes
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What does the pattern of witchcraft prosecutions in Essex villages show?
Not a national pattern but a heavily localised one
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What became clear by the 1970s and 1980s as historians studied other counties where record survival is good?
Essex had a particularly high level of prosecutions
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What are some possible reasons for the high levels of witchcraft prosecutions in Essex?
Links to intensity of religious conflict, links to processes of social change, links to development of capitalism
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Essex - Intensity of religious conflict
Within Essex there were many militant Calvinists and puritans.
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What associations can be seen across Europe and America?
Intensity of religious change and witchcraft prosecutions
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Essex - Processes of social change
Heavily divided societies often dominated by relatively wealthy office holding farmers, dominating villages of poor and marginalised wage labourers
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What was the focus of the south of Essex?
Agriculture for London markets
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What was the focus of the north of Essex?
Proto-industrial, working on textiles
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Essex - Related to development of capitalism
Macfarlane argued that 'mercantile individualism' created anxiety for wealthier people in the community
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What can there be seen to be in witchcraft?
A 'class dynamic' in witchcraft with poorer people posecuted
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Who were more likely to be prosecuted: older or younger people?
Older
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What does Peter Thomas argue?
Poor in medieval society treated with benevolence as 'Christ's poor'; paternalism eroded in early modern period by rampant individualism
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What did the economic focus of capitalism conflict with?
Social ideals which remain relatively medieval
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What were women regarded as?
Spiritually weaker and susceptible to the devil
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What can be criticism of Macfarlane?
Like many historians of the mid-20th century, focus on statistical evidence and attributed causation to social and economic factors
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What did more recent research by Gaskill, Rowlands and Roper argue?
Best way to understand is to drill down into individual cases - see witchcraft as a mentality, a 'cultural turn
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What did the 1990s and 2000s focus on?
Micropolitics of individual cases; heavily influenced by anthropologists
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What did Stewart Clark think?
Witchcraft reflects a broader mindset, with struggle in natural world between divine and diabolical. Papists seen as influenced by the devil and the Pope as the anti-Christ
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What did Stewart Clark argue about witchcraft?
Intense religious confrontation in the early modern period creates a situation in which witchcraft cases are undrstandable
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What is the case study associated with Malcolm Gaskill?
Cambridgeshire - Witchford
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What was Witchford?
Cambridgeshire, East Anglian socially divided community
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Margaret Moore
Poor and marginalised, believed to have been widow, husband may have been killed in Civil War
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Was Malcolm Gaskill concerned with the stereotypical profile that Margaret Moore fit?
No - concerned with her mind
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What do the records show about Margaret Moore?
Believed she was a witch
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What does an understanding of witchcraft in only social and economic context ignore?
What was happening in people's minds
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What might witchcraft be a product of rather than social and economic structures?
Fear and anxiety - e.g. desire of poor and marginal women to be able to wield power within community
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What happened to Margaret Moore?
Hanged
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What was economic background in Cambridgeshire in 1640s?
High taxation to maintain parliamentary army as well as loss of horses to them and plundering. 1640s also wet summers and cold winters - poor harvests
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What does J. Sharpe estimate about the 'witchcraft craze' of 1450 to 1750?
Exact proportion of women accused varied regionally and chronologically but around 80% of witches were women, rising to 90% in situations such as those found at Essex Assizes
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What did John Gaule, writing in 1646 in the wake of the Matthew Hopkins trials, criticise?
"every old woman with a wrinkled face... and a dog or cat by her side; is not only suspected, but pronounced for a witch""
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What did the view, pioneered by Macfarlane, argue that caused poor, elderly women to be accused?
Economic marginality
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What is the feminist school of thought regarding the accusation of poor, elderly women?
Living outside of conventional hierarchies and outside husbandly control. Anomalies in patriarchal order were fit targets for hostility
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What did Alan Macfarlane demonstrate?
Witchcraft must be considered 'from below', in the context of the world of village tensions and interpersonal conflicts which often underlay formal accusation of witchcraft in court
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What did Sharpe think about Macfarlane and Thomas' suggestion that accusations were not just something crudely imposed by social superiors but a product of local rderdisputes?
"perhaps downgrades the importance of elite thinkers and elite agents a little far"
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What did Edward Fairfax note about one of his daughter's suspected tormentors?
Frightened her 'wealthiest neighbours' that 'none of them refused to do anything she required'
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What did contemporaries frequently refer to witches as doing over victims?
'getting power'
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Give an example of witches getting power over victims.
1674 witness alleged hearing two witches discussing the means by which to "have power enough" to take a man's life
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What did Peter Rushton say in an analysis of Durham church court defamation cases?
"they were competing to prove themselves in the face of a generally mysognistic double standard applied by a male legal system"
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What did Sharpe say about the concept of female power?
"There evidently was such a thing as female power. The whole concept of power in the context of interpersonal, familial or community relations is a difficult one"
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In which areas did church courts remain an important force after the Reformation?
Areas of inheritance, slander and divorce, as well as the control of immortality and unorthodox religious practices.
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Is it easy to say how successful Durham courts were? (Rushton)
No it is difficult to say to what degree the Durham church courts were forceful and
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What is the impression given of Durham church courts?
From the 1560s the influence of courts extended to remotest parts of Durham and Northumberland
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Until what stage did Durham church courts remain considerable vigour?
Eighteenth century
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When ere the Durham consistory courts still dealing with slander cases involving witchcraft accusations?
As late as 1713
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Did courts distinguish between witchcraft or sorcery?
No
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What was a major part of supposed witchcraft?
Use of magic to cure the illnesses of people or animals
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Give an example of witchcraft relating to healing
Robert Todd of Morpeth prosecuted in 1601 for suspicion of being 'a charmer of hunge hurt' (referring to hung or prolapsed cattle)
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Give an example of where personal behaviour alone appeared to be enough to cause suspicion of witchcraft?
Janet Farre of Rock, near Alwnick was 'supposed to be a witch and hath spoken bad speeches tending to witchcraft'
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In Durham which court dealt with clergymen prosecuted for some sort of magic, which was not unusual?
High Commission -due to the severe penalties it could inflict
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Three people in 1620, persecuted in archdeacon's court, claimed to have learned their witchcraft or sorcery from who?
Thomas Lyons, formerly curate of their parish of Earsdon near Tynemouth
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What did a number of cases before the Durham church courts involve?
Allegation of conventional magical practices that were common in ecclesiastical presentments - plaintiffs clear to avoid any stigma that could lead to actions against them
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In 1566 what did Margaret Lambeth take John and Elizabeth Lawson to Durham church courts for?
Claiming she was an 'exorcist'
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What provided the cultural basis for accusations?
Belief in the dangerous power of curses, in the everyday presence of diabolic forces and in the capacity of witches to summon forth evil
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What can beliefs in witchcraft be seen to be part of?
Wider world view, an episteme, which perceived of the world as divided into good and evil
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Give examples of the kind of magic that early modern people believed in.
'Cunning men' and 'cunning women'; astrologers; magical beings ('hobgoblins', 'hobhursts', 'knockers') which lived underground or in side f hill
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What did early modern governments from Henry VII to Charles II remain concerned about?
Circulation of prophecies which could become powerful vehicles for dissenting opinions
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What did many prophecies circulating in Henry VIII's reign foretell?
The reintroduction of the Catholic religion
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Give an example of a prophecy related to popular rebellions
Robert Kett's rebels were led into battle at Dusindale by prophecy: "The country Knaves... Shall fill up Dussindale/ With slaughtered bodies soon"
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What did Derbyshire miners believe that lead ore grew in?
Veins from a substance known as 'Ghurr' and that the location of ore could be divined
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Give an example of beliefs crossing the cultural divide between elite and popular.
Many leading scientific thinkers shared the miners' assumption that a connection existed between planets and formation and geology of earth
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How were miners able to make money?
Selling what they claimed was 'Ghurr'' to the occasional passing member of royal society
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Healing
Magic charms were retailed by wise men and cunning women
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What could magic charms guard against?
Illness and disaster .Could also restore health
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What did Ellen Gregory of Peak village of Overhaddon tell the minister of the parish of Bakewell in the 1630s? (as he told the authorities)
Had something round her neck hung there - "hunge about her neck by one Mr Hall... was to have [three pounds] more when she was curd of her lunacy"
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What were the churchwardens of Marston (Cheshire) accused of in 1638?
Taking a horse to John Foster (a 'phanaticall person') to have it blessed
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How else could unexpected things be explained?
With reference to Providence
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On March 23 1660 it was noted in parish register of Matlock that Dorothy Matley had been swallowed by the earth.
Hit the newsbooks in weeks, explained with reference to Dorothy Matley's lewd and dissolute life.
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How could magic dissolve the boundaries between past, present and future?
Spirits of the long dead inhabited particular sites and the future could intrude into the present
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1700 - Give example of blurring of boundaries between present and future
Joseph Bradbury of Castleton saw the 'likenes' of those who would ide in parish over next year
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What was magical about Finn Copp in the Derbyshire Peak Country?
Mushrooms growing there owed their strange form and colour to 'the nightly moonlight revels' of fairies
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What did the people of the Derbyshire Peak Country do on saints' days?
Used to leave a candle burning underground to placate the spirit of T'Owd Man
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How did many poor people develop an everyday popular religion?
Out of scraps of official Protestant teaching, laced with survivals of earlier Catholicism an perhaps even some pre or non Christian traditin
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In spite of, or because of, the intense religious controversies of the period, what can be sai about some lower class people?
Remained basically irreligious or even atheistical
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What did the Presbyterian minister Oliver Heywood note in his diary for 4 November 1681 about his encounter with a boy?
"he could not tell me how many gods there be... I askt him whether he thought he was born a sinner; he told me he hop't not... he is 10 years of age, cannot read and scarce ever go to church"
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What was the truth of the prophecy of the country knaves?
It was the rebels instead of Earl of Warwick's forces which were laughtered
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What did Parliament do after the 1549 rebellions?
Pass an Act banning seditious prophecies as prophecies are associated with magic
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What is the significance of white wizard?
Reverse of maleficium and it is possible in most villages to find a cunning man
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What word should not be used to describe a belief in magic?
'superstitious'
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What is it important to recognise about early modern magical belief?
Educated in a different belief system
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Paradigm
Structure of thought and way of thinking about the world
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What is the paradigm we operate within today?
Very 'physical' - consider the world as made up of atoms etc
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Early modern paradigm
Culture based on trdaitions, spoken word and oral culture
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What is the area of north-west Derbyshire focused on?
What is now roughly the modern day Peak District
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What was the Peak District dominated by?
Local lead mining an sheep farming
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How can the Peak District be described?
Poor and marginal area of England with high levels of poverty recorded in the records of 1664
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Were there any cities in the Peak District?
No
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Where Bakewell and Wirksworth in the Peak District enfranchised towns?
No
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What was the population of Bakewell in 1664?
2000 people
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What was the population of Wirksworth in 1664?
3000 people
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By the 1650s how deep were mines in the Peak District?
Up to 500ft deep
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What did mines of the Peak District show as going further down?
Remains of previous workings and the Roman mines; had lost the technology the Romans had
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How was it possible to be killed during underground labour?
Drown in underground stream or be killed in a rock fall
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How did the miners of the Peak District deal with the dangerous conditions/
When encountered previous remain invented The Old Man and figures such as the Knockers
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Knockers
If going to break a bad wall the Knockers will guide, so leave milk for them. Knockers could be mischievous and hide tools but wouldn't hurt miners
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Collapse of Roman civilisation
Collapse of lead mining in early medieval Europe
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When was lead mining re-established in England?
Later Anglo-Saxon period in the 8th and 9th century
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Peak Cavern
Underground world with glades; associated with magic and the devil
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What was said about Dorothy Matley in The Life and Death of Mr Badman?
Said to have been a fornicator, one day when wearing 'swallowed by the earth'
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What is assumed about Dorothy Matley?
Fell into ventilation shaft
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What is interesting about the author of The Life and Death of Mr Badman?
John Buntan was a highly educated man but believed this
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What shows the especially patriarchal nature of Peak society?
Only men could work underground and held on to skilled jobs - 'caving' associated with dishonour while male work underground associated with honour
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What is important about the fact that the twelve people Joseph Bradbury Hassleton said would die did?
He said this in 1701 after they had died
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What does the example of Joseph Bradbury Hassleton show?
Way conceptualise time was different to the way that we do
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Instead of seeing an elite/popular divide in magic beliefs what may be more useful?
A divide between official and unofficial
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What does evidence suggest about communities?
Fragmentary evidence shows communities that remained largely detached
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What were localised traditions often fixed in?
The landscape, or in the case of the Knockers, below the landscape
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What do recent case studies of individual witch trials strongly hint at according to Peter Elmer?
Importance of the local political culture in the genesis of such events
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What does Peter Elmer argue about making sense of national patterns of witch trials?
Equally important to acknowledge the role of demonology in the wider world of political thought and action
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Peter Elmer argues a broad correlation between witch hunting and politics. How?
"it is no surprise that the peak of prosecutions for witchcraft in England coincided with the early years of the reign of Elizabeth I.
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What does Peter Elmer say created the peak of prosecutions during the early years of the reign of Elizabeth I?
"the need to create a new political an religious consensus in the wake of the mid-Tudor crisis"
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When was Peter Elmer writing on this?
2001
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What can be said about Privy Councillors and bishops?
Were as likely to promote witch hating and on occasion witch hunting as lesser members of the ruling orders
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What did Peter Elmer see emerging in the early years of the reign of Elizabeth I as central theme of witchcraft discourse?
Anti-Catholicism
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What may be interesting to consider in revision?
The changes in the witchcraft discourse over time, for example the rise of anti-Catholicism
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How was society cleansed of the Catholic past? (Elmer)
Not so much by attack on Catholics as witches but through elaboration in pamphlets, sermons and charges to grand juries of the diabolical nature of the old faith
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What does Peter Elmer say about witchcraft in the early stages?
Functioned as a vehicle for consensus and as a positive test of the new regime's right to rule
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What does Peter Elmer say about witchcraft by the 1580s?
As consensus gave way to growing divisions within the upper echelons of government (mostly religious) signs that belief in witchcraft beginning to prove problematic
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How can the expression of moral and godly reformation through witch hunting also be seen?
In other communities and regions of England in the aftermath of the English Civil War
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Give examples of moral and godly reformation through witchcraft following the English Civil War?
Newcastle in 1649 and Kent in the early 1650s
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What prompted the growth of witchcraft prosecutions in the late 1640s in Newcastle and early 1650s in Kent?
Godly factions within the communities
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Within which groups was witchcraft especially important during the 1660s?
Latitudarians and the Nonconformists
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Why was witchcraft important to Nonconformists in the 1660s?
Witchcraft was a powerful explanatory device which enabled those who suffered official persecution to make sense of their plight
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Give an example of witchcraft relating to dissent
Thomas Spatchett in the Suffolk own of Dunwich - his witchcraft induced fits in the 1660s closely mirrored the ups and downs of religious policy in those years
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When was witchcraft likely to be taken more seriously?
At moments of acute religious and political anxiety
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What may have appealed about witchcraft for Nonconformists such as Spatchett?
Appeal of a demonic conspiracy proved a logical explanation for their misfortunes
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What does Keith Thomas say about gendering of witchcraft?
"The idea that witch prosecutions reflected a war between the sexes must be discounted, not least because the victims and witnesses were themselves as likely to be womenas men"
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From 1596 to 1602 what percentage of witnesses (whose names available) against witches were female?
38.2%
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During the reign of James I, as far as records show, what percentage of witnesses against witches were women?
43.4%
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In the counties that formed the Home Circuit, after the Restoration what percentage of witnesses against witches were female?
52.9%
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What was the increased involvement of women in witchcraft trials paralelled by?
Increase in involvement of females for all cases before assizes
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In a sample of non-witchcraft cases of sessions of Essex Assizes between 1596 and 1625 what percentage of witnesses were women?
10%
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In a sample of non-witchcraft cases of sessions of Essex Assizes after Restoration, what percentage of witnesses were female?
22%
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The shift in the number of female witnesses at the Essex Assizes reflects not a change in the courts' readiness to accept female testimony but instead what?
Fall in the number of property cases
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Give an example of the property cases that had dominated the Essex Assizes from 1590s to the end of the reign of James I?
Larceny, burglary, housebreaking
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What happened to instances of property crimes after 1660?
Declined rapily
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Who was likely to provide the bulk of testimony in property cases?
Men
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What must be remembered about empirical evidence about women at court?
Need to also consider patterns of crimes that may also help to explain the fluctuating patterns
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At the Lancaster assizes in 1634 how many people were convicted as witches?
20
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Who accused the witches at the Lancaster assizes of 1634?
10 year old boy, long rooted suspicion
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How many of the people accused by the boy at Lancaster assizes in 1634 were male?
4 (16 female)
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What did the Lancaster case provide?
First fully developed, officially sanctioned search for the witch's mark in England (13 of women had marks/paps)
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What were some local authorities clearly troubled by by the early seventeenth century?
Evidential problems posed by usual form of witchcraft accusations - in the absence of confession magistrates sought tangible proof of the witch's status
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What would it be interesting to find out?
If the number of witches confessing declined within the period - if the lack of evidence is a larger problem as belief fails this might be interesting
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What does C Holmes remind about the meaning of increased number of female witnesses in English trials?
"the social meaning of these figures is not easily read. They certainly do not eliminate 'gender' or 'misogyny' as key categories for any discussion of witchcraft belief or persecution'
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What is the significance of a woman going to a cunning man and then going to court when does not succeed in securing good marriage?
Magic outside of Christian belief, fact that extortion in this matter occurs shows there was enough belief to make this worthwhile
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What can be said about the social status of a wise woman in a village?
Could be quite poor, tended to be a widow and was trusted to have the knowledge
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What did wise woman work on?
Healing illnesses and working on livestock
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Could a local cunning man perform magic on gcrops?
Yes - in hopes of aiding growth. Could also affect weather in the hope of a good harvest year
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What would have been used in Catholic times to help with unexplained?
Relics or paid someone to pray for you, praying to patron saints - magic fills in some of the hole left by the Reformation
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What did one prophet in Elizabethan Leicester discuss?
The consequences if Mary Queen of Scots died
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What does an account of a prophet in Elizabethan Leicester describe as being discussed?
Discussion of monks and nun; "he also cursed the cromwells saying that there never were any good... for it was a Cromwell that had caused the abbeys to be put down"
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Why did the witchcraft acse against Jane Dodson, an elderly woman, fail at the Old Bailey on 12th July 1683?
Lack of evidence and also woman's character kept in place by character witnesses
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What may be seen as significant in the acquittal of Jane Dodson?
Was late in the period and an urban area
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Why did witchcraft start to die out?
Courts needed evidence; few witchcraft persecutions in London (more common in small towns or rural areas); closer knit communities more likely to accuse; less reliance on crops in urban area
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What would be interesting to look at regarding close knit communities?
Whether there is a possible link between social polarisation and decline of witchcraft
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Why was puritanical sentiment more opposed to witchcraft?
As was conidered anti-religious adn outsie the doctrine
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What could explain the rise of popularity of witchcraft from the 1570s?
Puritanical sentiment, lasting until mid 1600s - consider this**
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What is important to consider and see if there is likely causation for?
Temporal pattern of witchcraft
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What is interesting about the witchcraft interrogatory?
Often just parroting what lawyers saying; probably wouldn't lie under an oath
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When was the Newcastle witchfinder?
~1649-1650
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Newcastle - 1636
Half of population died of the plague
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Newcastle - 1644
Under siege by Scots and royalist administration replaced by Puritan town government
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Why did Colonel Hobson in Newcastle thought that a woman who was "personable and good like" in Newcastle was not a witch?
Didn't look like one
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What did Colonel Hobson do in Newcastle as he did not believe that a woman was a witch?
Dismissed the witchunter's text by making her bleed
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What does Ralph Gardiner, the author of text on Newcastle witchfinder, accuse the governor of/
Being corrupt - shows the witchfinder taking "his money for his work at the deaths
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What were widows entitled to?
Parish relief as deserving poor. Could beg in addition
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What could the wealthy use to lessen their guilt over not looking after widows in patriarchal society?
Accusation of witchcraft
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What could widows be?
Midwifes
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What should be remembered about cunning men?
Could be of the middling sort, it was not just the poor that are accused
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What did James I argue that women did?
Make women more susceptible to the deil
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Even in a case where the court was dismissive of an individual witch what did that not represent?
Being dismissive of witchcraft as a whole
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What did George Gifford suggest was more dangerous than the activities of local witches?
The superstition that kept his parishioners running to good witches and gunning men
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How were women brought to ecclesiastical courts sometimes described?
"long suspected" or "suspected... for over twenty years"
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What was an accused witch frequently able to do?
Summon four or more respectable people to act as compurgators
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What did George Mackenzie say in his defence of a witch in 1678?
" to kill one another because we cannot comprehend the reason of what each other does is the effect of a terrible distraction"
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What can be said about prayer?
Petitionary
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What does a spell do?
Set up man's wish with an arbiter, comepl fulfillment
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Were many authorities hardened enough to punish people severely for giving aid and comfort that could not be received elsewhere?
No
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What has been suggested about the first secular law against witchcraft in 1542?
Two years after Six Articles; gesture towards Catholics and an attempt to restrain iconoclasm of reformers who had joined **treasure seekers** in searching (and destroying) church monuments
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Not mentioned in the 1604 Act but set down by James I in his Daemnologie was what?
Idea that the ordeal of surviving a witch provides acceptable testimony as to her guilt
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Show that it was not just the poor who were involved in witchcraft.
Well to do Nutters in 1612 Lancashire case confessed to deeds beyond nature and service to the devil
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How does George Gifford (1593) dispute testimony as enough evidence?
"If she thought so in her conscience, and ten thousand more with her upon bare imagination, was that a warrant for you to swear solemnly that it was so?"
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What does Thomas describe prosecutions as, helping to explain the decline of witch beliefs after 1700?
Therapeutic and cathartic effects
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In the Matthew Hopkins trials of 1644/5 in Essex, what was percentage female?
87.5% (161 out of 184)
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What does the functionalist model of accusation describe?
Argues that from late 16th century declining neighbourliness nad growing individualism in expanding market economy meant tendency to refuse alms and suspicion
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James I Daemonologie on women
the Serpent deceiving of Eve at the beginning which makes him the homelier with that sex ever since."
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When did the Salem Witch Trials take place?
1692
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What was the significance of the year 1692 in Salem?
Year of social crisis
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Social crisis in Salem in 1692
Threats from Native American population, political problems, religious tension (two ministers already expelled from Salem Village by congregation)
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What may have influenced the early accusation of Tituba?
'Indians' were not always treated equally in legal matters
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What is the nature of 'village economies'? (Rosen)
Relationships and 'emotional economies' just as significant as financial matters
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What does Marion Starkey imply about the Salem witchcraft trials?
Sexual frustrations played a significant role, describing the accused women as having "all manners of cravings and urges for which village life afforded no outlet"
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In England, Elizabeth Francis was accused in 1566 of ordering her cat to touch a man, causing his death. Why?
He had "abused her" and thereafter would not marry her"
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What shows the role of isolation in Salem trials?
Bridget Bishop had never been in Salem Village proper and Sarah Osbourne was frail and elderly
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How many of the witches condemned in early September 1692 in Salem were spared execution due to confession?
Five
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Which English witch trial made use of bullying techniques that were not entirely legal?
Matthew Hopkins trials
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

In what years of the reign of Henry VIII was witchcraft a capital crime?

Back

1542 and 1547

Card 3

Front

A witchcraft statute was introduced in 1563. When was further, more draconian, legislation passed?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What did legislation on witchcraft in the sixteenth century work on the assumption that?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What was the most common form of witchcraft that found its way before the law courts?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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