Wicked Witches and Honourable Men: The Lancashire Witch Trials, 1612

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Cody Henry

In 1612, Lancashire witnessed what could arguably be the most notorious witch trial of early modern England. In 1613, court clerk Thomas Potts published a lengthy pamphlet outlining the events leading to and during these trials. It is a text full of suspicion, heresy, curses, and murder, and who was the main tyrant behind these terrible deeds? Why, the old crone who lived in the forest of Pendle, naturally! This talk will examine the language used by Thomas Potts in this pamphlet to describe female behaviour, religious heresy, and witchcraft, in direct contrast with his descriptions of male figures of authority, in order to understand the large divide that existed between women and power in 1612 England.