The Persicution of Witches in History

3282 Words Feb 24th, 2018 13 Pages
It was an all too common occurrence from 1603-1712 all over Europe. However in order to understand why this happened the context must be taken into account. It was a time of change, the Renaissance - the rebirth of culture, ideas and attitudes to living. The Reformation had also only been implemented in England in the last 80 years back from 1603, when it had previously been catholic for centuries. The English civil war from 1642 to 1651 is argued to have played a part in the intensification of the witch hunts in England due to the peak in executions whilst it was on going. Some historians have taken the view that in time of crisis certain groups can be victimised like in wars, famine, disease outbreaks and changes in society structure.
James I ascended to the throne in 1603 and had a massive influence on the hunts. This is because he was a strong believer in witchcraft as shown in his law of 1604 that made it illegal and punishable by death, although this was a re-working of an older law so he was not the first ruler to start the persecution of witches. During this period of 1603-1712 there was an on-going debate between science, religion and magic which caused continual confusion about the validity of the hunts. In 1712 Jane Wenham was the last witch to go to trial in England; although sentenced to death she was spared by Queen Anne which represented a…

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