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Research - England - Witches and the Witchcraft Act of 1735

What better topic for our Halloween weekend than the horrible Witchcraft Act of 1735, the last of the witch trials acts passed in England, which decreed than anyone "suspected" of witchcraft practices (a very objective judgement) could be imprisoned for a year. The first act during this witch trial period was passed in 1542, allowed suspected witches to be hanged. Witches were both male and female. Most witches who were accused were often hanged, with or without trials.

For further reading:

Witches and Witchtrials (an interesting database of the alleged witches):

Horros of the National Archives:

More details about the laws:

Medieval Witches and Witchcraft:


  1. What a horrible period to live in. From what I've heard and read, women especially were targeted as witches, partly in an effort to subjugate ones who were too independent and also to confiscate property from them. It was really a judicially sanctioned war on people (but especially women) who didn't fit in or who ran afoul of those in power.
    Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  2. Scary to think a suspected witch could be hanged without even a trial--not that an objective trial would be held. As Lisbeth said, this was a handy way to rid a man/men of a pesky woman.