Search results for: witchcraft-and-demonism-1933

The Witches of Selwood Forest

Author : Andrew Pickering
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The ancient forest of Selwood straddles the borders of Somerset and Wiltshire and terminates in the south where these counties meet Dorset. Until now, a comprehensive study of its exceptionally rich history of demonological beliefs and witchcraft persecution in the early modern period has not been attempted. This book explores the connections between important theological texts written in the region, notably Richard Bernard’s Guide to the Grand-Jury Men (1627) and Joseph Glanvill’s Saducismus Triumphatus (1681), influential local families such as the Hunts and the Hills, and the extraordinary witchcraft episodes associated with Shepton Mallet, Brewham, Stoke Trister, and elsewhere. In particular, it focuses on a little-known case in the village of Beckington in 1689, and shows how this was not a late, isolated episode, but an integral part of the wider Selwood Forest witchcraft story.

Sir Thomas Browne

Author : Reid Barbour
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An impressive line-up of scholars from across the world explore the significance of Sir Thomas Browne (1605-82), a virtuoso in learning whose many interests form a representative portrait of his age. Doctor, linguist, scientist, and natural historian, Browne was also the writer of some of the most remarkable prose in the English language.

The Saving Remnant

Author : Cedric B. Cowing
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The great flight that brought colonists in the 1600s to what would become New England was a resettlement that had not only a geographical and spiritual impact, but an important historical impact as well. The influences of the settlers' English origins, and the fact that various religious groups inhabited specific areas of New England, strongly shaped American history through the 1800s and beyond. Cedric Cowing demonstrates that there were two Englands, one evangelistic and one rationalistic. In the northwest of the British Isles was a society that was pastoral, westering, otherworldly, and revivalist--in the southeast was another, more established and mercantile. These two strains set the stage and powered the action for the biggest religious event of the eighteenth century--the Great Awakening. The leaders of the New Light in the Great Awakening were the Saving Remnant, mostly ministers with liberal education who retained their evangelical and seeker religiosity. The clearly identifiable regional religious parallels between old England and New are still discernable today and give a new slant to heretofore unresolved historiographical issues. Cowing shows how regionalism influenced the nature of New England Puritanism and how the presence of a strong and persistent link between regional origins and religious behavior led to the inevitability of the Salem witch trials.

A Biographical Encyclopedia of Early Modern Englishwomen

Author : Carole Levin
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From the exemplary to the notorious to the obscure, this comprehensive and innovative encyclopedia showcases the worthy women of early modern England. Poets, princesses, or pirates, the women of power and agency found in these pages are indeed worth knowing, and this volume will introduce many female figures to even the most established scholars in early modern studies. Rather than using the conventional alphabetical format of the standard biographical encyclopedia, this volume is divided into categories of women. Since many women will fit in more than one category, each woman is placed in the category that best exemplifies her life, and is cross referenced in other appropriate sections. This structure makes the book an interesting read for seasoned scholars of early modern women, while students need not already be familiar with these subjects in order to benefit from the text. Another unusual feature of this reference work is that each entry begins with some incident from the woman’s life that is particularly exciting or significant. Some entries are very brief while others are extensive. Each includes a source listing. The book is well illustrated and liberally sprinkled with quotations of the time either by or about the women in the text.


Author : Willow Winsham
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The true stories of eleven notorious women, across five centuries, who were feared, victimized, and condemned for witchcraft in the British Isles. Beginning with the late Middle Ages—from Ireland to Hampshire—hundreds of women were accused of spellcasting, wicked seduction, murder, and consorting with the devil. Most were fated for the gallows or the stake. What did it mean for these prisoners to stand accused? What were they really guilty of? And by whom were they persecuted? Drawing on a wealth of primary sources including trial documents, church and census records, and the original sensationalist pamphlets describing the crimes, historian Willow Winsham finds the startling answers to these questions. In the process, she resurrects the lives, deaths, and mysteries of eleven women subjected to history’s most notable witch trials. From Irish “sorceress” Alice Kyteler who, in 1324 was the first accused witch on record, to Scottish psychic Helen Duncan who, in 1944, was the last woman imprisoned under Britain’s Witchcraft Act of 1735. Dames, servant girls, aggrieved neighbors, suspect widows, cat ladies, prostitutes, mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters. Accused brings all these victims, and the eras in which they lived and died, back to life in “an incredibly well researched . . . stunning and admirable piece of work, highly recommended” (Terry Tyler, author of the Project Renova series).

The Elizabethan World

Author : Susan Doran
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This comprehensive and beautifully illustrated collection of essays conveys a vivid picture of a fascinating and hugely significant period in history. Featuring contributions from thirty-eight international scholars, the book takes a thematic approach to a period which saw the defeat of the Spanish Armada, the explorations of Francis Drake and Walter Ralegh, the establishment of the Protestant Church, the flourishing of commercial theatre and the works of Edmund Spencer, Philip Sidney and William Shakespeare. Encompassing social, political, cultural, religious and economic history, and crossing several disciplines, The Elizabethan World depicts a time of transformation, and a world order in transition. Topics covered include central and local government; political ideas; censorship and propaganda; parliament, the Protestant Church, the Catholic community; social hierarchies; women; the family and household; popular culture, commerce and consumption; urban and rural economies; theatre; art; architecture; intellectual developments ; exploration and imperialism; Ireland, and the Elizabethan wars. The volume conveys a vivid picture of how politics, religion, popular culture, the world of work and social practices fit together in an exciting world of change, and will be invaluable reading for all students and scholars of the Elizabethan period.

Dangerous Days in Ancient Egypt

Author : Terry Deary
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Think that Ancient Egypt is just a load of old obelisks? Don't bet your afterlife on it. Ancient Egypt should be deader than most of our yesterdays. After all it was at its height 5,000 years ago. Yet we still marvel at its mummies and ponder over its pyramids. It's easy to forget these people once lived and laughed, loved and breathed ... though not for very long. These were dangerous days for princes and peasants alike. In Ancient Egypt - a world of wars and woes, poverty and plagues - life was short. Forty was a good age to reach. A pharaoh who was eaten by a hippo ended up as dead as a ditch-digger stung by a scorpion. Unwrap the bandages and you'll find that the Egyptians' bizarre adventures in life were every bit as fascinating as the monuments they left to their deaths.

Sin and Salvation in Reformation England

Author : Jonathan Willis
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Notions of which behaviours comprised sin, and what actions might lead to salvation, sat at the heart of Christian belief and practice in early modern England, but both of these vitally important concepts were fundamentally reconfigured by the reformation. Remarkably little work has been undertaken exploring the ways in which these essential ideas were transformed by the religious changes of the sixteenth-century. In the field of reformation studies, revisionist scholarship has underlined the vitality of late-medieval English Christianity and the degree to which people remained committed to the practices of the Catholic Church up to the eve of the reformation, including those dealing with the mortification of sin and the promise of salvation. Such popular commitment to late-medieval lay piety has in turn raised questions about how the reformation itself was able to take root. Whilst post-revisionist scholars have explored a wide range of religious beliefs and practices - such as death, providence, angels, and music - there has been a surprising lack of engagement with the two central religious preoccupations of the vast majority of people. To address this omission, this collection focusses upon the history and theology of sin and salvation in reformation and post-reformation England. Exploring their complex social and cultural constructions, it underlines how sin and salvation were not only great religious constants, but also constantly evolving in order to survive in the rapidly transforming religious landscape of the reformation. Drawing upon a range of disciplinary perspectives - historical, theological, literary, and material/art-historical - to both reveal and explain the complexity of the concepts of sin and salvation, the volume further illuminates a subject central to the nature and success of the Reformation itself. Divided into four sections, Part I explores reformers’ attempts to define and re-define the theological concepts of sin and salvation, while Part II looks at some of the ways in which sin and salvation were contested: through confessional conflict, polemic, poetry and martyrology. Part III focuses on the practical attempts of English divines to reform sin with respect to key religious practices, while Part IV explores the significance of sin and salvation in the lived experience of both clergy and laity. Evenly balancing contributions by established academics in the field with cutting-edge contributions from junior researchers, this collection breaks new ground, in what one historian of the period has referred to as the ‘social history of theology’.

England s Witchcraft Trials

Author : Willow Winsham
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By the author of Accused comes “an entertaining as well as illuminating” history of Britain’s most infamous witch hunts and trials (Magnolia Review). With the echo of that chilling injunction, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,” hundreds of people were accused and tried for witchcraft across England throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. With fear and suspicion rife, neighbor turned against neighbor, friend against friend, as women, men, and children alike were caught up in the deadly fervor that swept through villages. From the feared covens of Pendle Forest to the victims of the notorious and fanatical Witchfinder Generals Matthew Hopkins and John Stearns, so-called witches were suspected, accused, and dragged to trial to await judgement and face their inevitable and damnable fate. In this “interesting, informative and insightful” book, historian Willow Winsham draws on a wealth of primary sources including trial transcripts, parish, and country records, and the often sensational—and highly prejudicial—pamphlets that were published after each trial. Her exhaustive research reveals just how frightening, violent, and terribly common the scourge really was, and explores the social conditions, class divisions, and religious mania that stoked its flames (All About History).

Possessed By the Devil

Author : Dr Andrew Sneddon
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In 1711, in County Antrim, eight women were put on trial accused of orchestrating the demonic possession of young Mary Dunbar, and the haunting and supernatural murder of a local clergyman’s wife. Mary Dunbar was the star witness in this trial, and the women were, by the standards of the time, believable witches – they smoked, they drank, they just did not look right. With echoes of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and the Salem witch-hunt, this is a story of murder, of hysteria, and of how the ‘witch craze’ that claimed over 40,000 lives in Europe played out on Irish shores.