The British Witch: The Biography

Author(s): Peter Maxwell-Stuart


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A succession of Acts of Parliament made much magic criminal and punished offenders severely, until a final Act in 1735 repealed them.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.

Product Information

By the author of Poltergeists: 'Fascinating - reveals why the "living dead" have such a hold over us.' DAILY EXPRESS

P. G. Maxwell-Stuart is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of St Andrews. He lives in St Andrews.

General Fields

  • : 9781445622026
  • : Amberley Publishing
  • : Amberley Publishing
  • : 0.794
  • : July 2014
  • : 234mm X 156mm X 43mm
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Peter Maxwell-Stuart
  • : Hardback
  • : VXWT
  • : 18 illustrations