Lizanne Henderson - The Survival of Witchcraft Prosecutions and Witch Belief in South West Scotland (204.0 Kb)
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During the era of the Scottish witch-hunts, Dumfries and Galloway was one of the last regions to initiate witch prosecutions, but it was also one of the most reluctant to completely surrender all belief in witches until a comparatively late date. In the late seventeeth and early eighteenth centuries south- west Scotland, better known for the persecution of covenanters, took the practice of witchcraft and charming very seriously indeed, and for perhaps longer than other parts of Scotland, though the area has received surprisi... More >>>
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During the era of the Scottish witch-hunts, Dumfries and Galloway was one of the last regions to initiate witch prosecutions, but it was also one of the most reluctant to completely surrender all belief in witches until a comparatively late date. In the late seventeeth and early eighteenth centuries south- west Scotland, better known for the persecution of covenanters, took the practice of witchcraft and charming very seriously indeed, and for perhaps longer than other parts of Scotland, though the area has received surprisingly little scholarly investigation. The trial evidence is not incompatible with that found elsewhere though there is less demonic content. Accusations of witchcraft in this region were mostly concerned with the troubles of everyday life, agricultural problems, family tensions and disagreements between neighbours. From 1670 to about 1740, the very decades that were giving birth to the Scottish Enlightenment, learned interest in the supernatural was actually on the increase and the topic received an unprecedented level of questioning, investigation, and scrutiny. Ironically, the 'superstitions' that both church and state had been attempting to eradicate for some two hundred years were now being used to defend religion against the growing threat of atheism. The zeal of the ministers does seem to have contributed to the endurance of witch beliefs in the South West, as elsewhere. Against this backdrop, the survival of witch belief and the continued prosecution of witches in southwest Scotland is examined, thus contributing to our understanding of the individualistic nature of witch persecution and the various dynamics at play within the Scottish witch-hunting experience.
Lizanne Henderson is a Lecturer in History at the University of Glasgow in Dumfries. She is a cultural historian and folklorist and is an expert on the Scottish Witch-Hunts and Scottish fairy belief. She has research interests in supernatural belief traditions across the world, the folklore of animals, and Scottish connections with the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
Lizanne Henderson Books:
- Witchcraft and Folk Belief at the Dawn of Enlightenment: Scotland, c.1670-1740 Forthcoming, Palgrave 2011.
- Editor, with Edward J. Cowan, A History of Everyday Life in Medieval Scotland Forthcoming, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011.
- Editor, Fantastical Imaginations: The Supernatural in Scottish History and Culture Edinburgh: John Donald, 2009.
- with Edward J. Cowan, Scottish Fairy Belief: A History East Linton: Tuckwell P, 2001; 2007. 242pp. (Michaelis-Jena Ratcliffe Folklore Prize winner).
Lizanne Henderson Articles:
- "Introduction: Studying the Supernatural History of Scotland", Fantastical Imaginations: The Supernatural in Scottish History and Culture, ed. L. Henderson. Edinburgh: John Donald, 2009. xiii-xxiv.
- "Witch, Fairy and Folktale Narratives in the Trial of Bessie Dunlop", Fantastical Imaginations: The Supernatural in Scottish History and Culture, ed. L. Henderson. Edinburgh: John Donald, 2009. 141-66.
- "Scotland and the Slave Trade: South West Connections". Scottish Local History (Spring 2008)
- 'Witch-Hunting and Witch Belief in the Gaidhealtachd'', Witchcraft and Belief in Early Modern Scotland Eds. Julian Goodare, Lauren Martin and Joyce Miller. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2007
- "Charmers Spells and Holy Wells: The Repackaging of Belief", Review of Scottish Culture (April 2007)
- "Wallace Bibliography". The Wallace Book. Ed. Edward J. Cowan. Edinburgh: John Donald, 2007
- 'The Survival of Witch Prosecutions and Witch Belief in South-West Scotland' Scottish Historical Review vol. LXXXV, 1: No. 219: April 2006, 52-74.
- Entries for 'Isobel Gowdie' and 'Janet Horne'. The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women. Eds. Elizabeth Ewan and Rose Pipes. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006
- 'The Natural and Supernatural Worlds of Hugh Miller', in Celebrating the Life and Times of Hugh Miller. Scotland in the Early 19th Century Ed. Lester Borley. Cromarty Arts Trust, 2003. 89-98.
- Edward J. Cowan and Lizanne Henderson, 'The Last of the Witches? The Survival of Scottish Witch Belief', in The Scottish Witch-Hunt in Context Ed. - Julian Goodare. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2002. 198-217.
- 'The Road to Elfland: Fairy Belief in the Child Ballads', in The Ballad in Scottish History East Linton: Tuckwell Press, 2000. 54-72.
- 'Making Light of Dull Days: Scottish Calendar Customs' (part 23, p. 23-25) and 'Fairy Belief' (part 43, p. 16-17) in Scotland's Story
- 'A Different Story from the Dark Side' in The Story of a Nation: 300 Years of Scottish History part 2, p. 28-30. Reprinted in Scotland Since 1688: Struggle for a Nation Eds. Edward J. Cowan and Richard Finlay London: CIMA, 2000
- 'The Duncan Family Papers: The Peregrinations of a Remarkable Woman'. Collection Update University of Guelph, June 1993