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Brand: P.G.Maxwell-Stuart

The British Witch

by P.G.Maxwell-Stuart

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The British Witch The Biography

For over five hundred years witches, male and female, practised magic for harm and good in their communities. Most witches worked locally, used by their neighbours to cure illness, create love, or gratify personal spite against another. Margaret Lindsay from Northumberland was prosecuted for making men impotent, John Stokes in London for curing fevers, Collas de la Rue on Guernsey for killing people by witchcraft, Florence Newton from County Cork for causing fits, and Isobel Gowdie in Auldearn for a variety of offences including consorting with Satan and fairies.

But in the fifteenth century they attacked a succession of English monarchs through enchanted images, and in the sixteenth sought ways to kill James VI of Scotland, too. A succession of Acts of Parliament made much magic criminal and punished offenders severely, until a final Act in 1735 repealed them. This monumental new history for the first time describes witches, their magic, and the attempts to eradicate them throughout the British Isles, and alters our picture of who those witches were and why people employed them but also tried to suppress them.

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