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Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

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Oct 2015
 

Oct 2015
Historic Crete by Christine and John Harrison Oct 2015

 

A fascinating report covering the Necropolis of Armenoi It is believed to be the greatest Late Minoan cemetery (c1400-1200BC), Medieval Church Frescoes & World War 2 Memorials. Click here for the report.

 

Tue 13 Oct 2015
John Doughty – The Lancashire Witches – A Not Guilty Verdict

 

 

John brought a seasonal touch to October’s meeting with a different twist to the Lancashire Witches’ story.
He opened his talk by explaining the Europe wide persecution of women who were regarded as witches during the 15th to 17th centuries. The name, witch, meaning ‘a wise one’, someone who understood plants, knew their signatures and used them to heal people and livestock.
He explained about the political and social condition of Britain during those times and, in particular, the Pendle Forest area in the early 17th century.
It was a difficult, indeed a dangerous, period for anyone such as a witch to stand out for the wrong reasons. Women were persecuted for nothing more than bringing attention to themselves for reasons that now seem unfathomable to modern society.
The Pendle Forest area had 2 sets of wise ones, the women of the Demdikes and the Chattocks familes.
The downfall of the Pendle witches stemmed from an incident between a member of the Demdike clan and a travelling pack man. He, apparently, suffered a stroke and blamed the Demdikes for his illness.
Before the magistrates a situation arose where the grandmothers of both clans condemn themselves by trying to outdo each other with acts of witch craft. This led to trial at Lancaster where a total of 10 people were tried, found guilty and executed. Evidence from a 9 year old girl was considered that led to the guilty verdict.
After lots of conjecture and ideas about locations and events John’s conclusion was that the Pendle witches were well and truly stitched up. And, for this he delivered a ‘not guilty verdict’.
A thought provoking and, indeed, an entertaining talk.
 

Peter Robinson