Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Hallowe'en!

Hallowe'en is coming and the goose is getting fat
Would ye please put a penny in the auld man's hat
If ye havena got a penny, a ha'penny will do
If ye havena got a ha'penny, then God bless you
And yer auld man too!

Wee rhyme there from my childhood in Northern Ireland! It's Oidhche Shamhna today (Hallowe'en!), so a couple of resources to have some fun with!

One of my fave websites in Scotland is the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft (www.shc.ed.ac.uk/Research/witches) which has details of nearly 4000 people tried from 1563-1736 for witchcraft, with evidence for many gathered by the local kirk sessions. There was a lot of hysteria at the time, with accusation and counter-accusations ruining people's lives - the following being just one example from the parish of Kirkpatrick-Irongray in 1691:

David Murihead of Drumpark and his wife being called before the Session and examined anent the strife betwixt them and Janet Sinklar submitted themselves to the will of the Session. Janet Sinklar also submitted to the will of the Session for saying that she doubted Drumpark’s wife of murder and witchcraft and is appointed to receive public rebuke before the congregation.

(Source: NRS CH2/1343/1 Kirkpatrick-Irongray)


Lots of juicy online resources for looking into witches stories, and their trials:

www.camulos.com/witchcraft.htm - witch trials in Colchester
www.pendlewitches.co.uk - the Pendle witches
www.hulford.co.uk/towns.html - Essex witch trials
www.llgc.org.uk/index.php?id=witchcraftcourtofgrearsessi - witchcraft in 17th century Flintshire
www.thefifepost.com/?page_id=25 - witches in Fife

Finally just to really scare you, here's my son in his Hallowe'en costume...


Sleep well tonight...!

Chris

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