Which Witch?

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.

Source: http://www.fancydress.com/content/Witch_List


Filed under Comment, Supernatural

7 responses to “Which Witch?

  1. Be interesting to know how many actually were guilty!

    • If today’s standards of justice had been applied back then, they would probably all have been acquitted due to the simple fact that duress or torture was used in almost each case to extract confessions. And that’s even before one starts to consider the outlandish nature of the claims that were made.

    • Rakael Blade

      Well, well, wonders nefer cease. Another fool hath walked the black rainbow of the Living Past to dwell upon despair shepherded not by the certainty of idle count but the wounding self-amount. ‘Tis interesting that thou hast chosen to name these maugre those of Basque, Sweden, Eire, Iceland, Norway, and all ofr Europe; numbering over 160,000,000 in the number of burned-at-the-stake. Bodies are dug up efery day, and they fall when the rain falls from local mountains and farmsteads in East Europe.

      Thou shalt nefer know the secrets of the Occult ’til thou art one.
      I Am I Am.

      Sincerely, Rakael Blade, High Priestess of the Fifth Circle of Wicca, Witch of the Nine Waves of Sweden and Ireland.

      Farväl, mo chara.

  2. if you love Halloween then you probably have a pretty good chance of winning my competition! its just a bit of fancy dress fun 🙂

  3. Pingback: Live! At The Witch Trials | Sol Ascendans – The Website of Alex Sumner

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