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Courses / Modules / HIST2220 Witchcraft in England, 1542-1736

Witchcraft in England, 1542-1736

When you'll study it
Semester 2
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 5
Module lead
Mark Stoyle
Academic year

Module overview

This module offers you the opportunity to study the history of witchcraft in England during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (the period during which the great majority of prosecutions and executions for that supposed crime took place). On the module you will explore a wide range of topics, including: the nature of popular witch belief in late medieval and early Tudor England; contemporary attitudes towards women and witchcraft; the passage of the first acts of Parliament against witchcraft in 1542 and 1563; the prosecution of witches under Elizabeth I; the appearance of the first ‘witch pamphlets’ in London; the notion of the witch’s ‘familiar’ (or attendant demonic spirit); representations of the witch on the Tudor and Stuart stage; the prosecution of witches under James I and Charles I; the great witch hunt of 1645-47; the decline in witch trials during the later seventeenth century; the passage of the Act of Parliament of 1736 (which directed that prosecutions for witchcraft should cease); and the remarkable persistence of popular witch-belief in the English countryside throughout the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth-centuries.