Halloween is rapidly creeping up on us, so I was interested to read to day of a researcher who has collated a list of every single person who was ever tried for Witchcraft in Britain (including the Channel Islands) during the so-called “Burning Times,” (nb kids, most of them were hung!) i.e. from 1289 to 1712. A certain amount of circumspection must be taken with this list, as a significant number of people had their charges demonstrably trumped up: either because they were political enemies of the King of the time; or they were some other Undesirable e.g. being a Roman Catholic in Protestant Britain. However, here are the numbers suitably crunched.
The grand total of people tried was 320.
Of these the total number of people known to have received a “Fatal Sentence” – in which I have included both being executed and dying in prison – was 199 (62.2%). Of these,
- 108 were hanged (33.8%)
- 49 were burnt (15.3%)
- 8 died in prison (2.5%)
- 1 was hung, drawn and quartered (0.3%)
- Whilst 33 (10.3%) were executed in an unspecified manner.
Of the remainder,
- 2 (0.6%) escaped execution by fleeing the country;
- 15 (4.7%) were given a Non-Fatal sentence (e.g. banishment, the pillory, imprisonment, dismissal from service, miscellaneous);
- 6 (1.9%) were either pardoned or reprieved;
- 36 (11.3%) were acquitted altogether;
- Whilst the fate of 62 (19.4%) is unclear from the records available.