Witch Hunts : The Witchcraft Act Of 1542

Decent Essays
The idea of witchcraft was a frightening thought for many villagers that believed sorcery existed. A person who possessed magic and power was branded a witch and was considered evil. The evil they used had caused fear and lead to the belief that they were bonded with the Devil. Their magic could control the mind and body of the innocence, objects, and could even be used to inflict death. Since witches disguised in human form, it was very hard to depict who was and was not a witch. Therefore, when an unforeseen phenomenon occurred, such as sickness in animals or the devastation of crops, many concluded that there was a witch walking amongst them. The willpower to capture and punish witches lead to the formation of witch-hunters (Mastin,…show more content…
On the other hand, if it was decided that less harmful offenses occurred then the convicted would be punished by a term of imprisonment (Queen Elizabeth I passed the Witchcraft Act of 1562, 2017). When Queen Elizabeth I’s reign came to an end in 1603, the laws she had enforced into government were reformed by James I. Consequent to Elizabeth I’s death in the 16th century, James I claimed the throne of England and became the ruler of the land. He had a firm belief that the powers bestowed upon him derived from God and that he did not have to answer any man beneath him. As a result, James I reformed the laws that was governed by Queen Elizabeth I by broadened the Witchcraft Act of 1563 to include the death penalty to anyone who invoked evil spirits or communed with familiar spirts. The Witchcraft Act of 1563 was renamed An Act Against Conjuration, Witchcraft and Dealing with Evil and Wicked Spirits (Trueman, 2016).
During the 16th century, witchcraft have become more prevalent spreading throughout parts of England. In 1612, one of England’s most infamous cases of witchcraft was reported in Lancashire, England. The infamous witch trial had tried two separate families, the Pendle Witches and the Samlesbury Witches (Lancashire Witch Trials, 2014). The Pendle Witches, twelve witches who resided in the Pendle Hil section of Lancashire, were charged with murder of ten people by
Get Access