He detailed his first run in with witchcraft as such: “The Discoverer never travelled far for it, but in March 1644 he had some seven or eight of that horrible sect of Witches living in the Towne where he lived, a Towne in Essex called Maningtree, with divers other adjacent Witches of other towns, who every six weeks in the night (being alwayes on the Friday night) had their meeting close by his house and had their severall solemne sacrifices there offered to the Devill, one of which this discoverer heard speaking to her Imps one night, and bid them goe to another Witch, who was thereupon apprehended, and searched, by women who had for many yeares knowne the Devills marks, and found to have three teats about her, which honest women have not”. Matthew Hopkins the Puritan. Some years before he was born, in the 1590s, three people from Warboys were executed as witches. It was the single biggest mass-execution for witchcraft in English history, and it was all the work of one man. The devastating, drawn out and complicated years of turmoil created a vacuum at the heart of society as traditional hierarchies, cornerstones across communities and most importantly for today’s tale, legal systems crumbled. With the need for the law to highlight such misdemeanors and lay out punishments in writing, one can assume that the act of witchcraft itself was rampant throughout Britain, at least in the minds of the devout. Nationally in this period, 112 people were hanged for witchcraft – 82 coming from Essex. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org. Discovery of Witches : Contemporary Account, 1647, Paperback by Hopkins, Matt... $9.48. This could help explain many of the accusations of witches in the county of Essex as the region looked to move in a new direction. Naturally, they were in most cases simple blemishes of the skin, scars, liver spots, warts or any number of skin ailments, however as long as they were out of place, they would be deemed as evidence enough. Job titles were as diverse as today. In the 1600s there were many ways to make a living. Cheers! On the shores of England, society crumbled and further broke down with the outbreak of Civil War in 1642 that lasted until the beginning of the next decade and led to an almost complete collapse of traditional authority throughout the land. This in itself began to cause problems as it was not only costly, but difficult to manage at a time of war. The wars in England were revolutionary in nature with both nationalism and religion as driving forces. Sickness, poor crop yields and family losses were often blamed on outside forces and were often demonic or supernatural in nature. Throughout European history, superstitious fear had long held a grasp over societies and culture, often when traditional structures broke down in times of strife. Over the next 300 years, sporadic hangings and drownings were undertaken in the name of Heresy throughout Britain for misdemeanors as diverse as necromancy, stigmata and at times, straight murder, which whilst grotesque, as in the case of a Jewish murderer who wrapped one of his victims in a second victims skin in the 13th Century, had little to no supernatural leanings. (Witchfinder Fact 1) The activities of the Essex Witchfinders took place between 1645 and 1647. They were the first of their kind in Scotland and saw over one hundred accused, imprisoned and tortured, leading to many confessions. Rebecca asked him to kill John Hart, which was done accordingly. May have been a few, they did not deserve to be killed like that unless committed a crime which at the time merited the death penalty other than practicing witchcraft.. This point is telling in itself and when paired with the often outcast and downtrodden nature of the vast majority of the accused, it becomes apparent that personal grudges and puritanical beliefs were a driving force behind many accusations. A man called Matthew Hopkins, an unsuccessful lawyer, came to help (!) It is clear that the details of Matthew Hopkins upbringing are shrouded in obscurity, however from the previous, we can speculate to a degree whilst remaining true to the facts we do have. His biological father was a carpenter, as was Matthew when he grew up, before becoming a stonemason. Check out using a credit card or bank account with. As the mid-1640s drew in, the civil war raged. This act forbade the use of witchcraft to: “use devise practise or exercise, or cause to be devysed practised or exercised, any Invovacons or cojuracons of Sprites witchecraftes enchauntementes or sorceries to thentent to fynde money or treasure or to waste consume or destroy any persone in his bodie membres, or to pvoke [provoke] any persone to unlawfull love, or for any other unlawfull intente or purpose”. Matthew Hopkins – On the Discovery of Witches – Matthew Hopkins published pamphlet regarding criticisms he received for his witch hunting. It was, in fact, less so in Britain than in mainland Europe, though the lore was still strong and seeded the mind with enough common belief that in 1590, even the King himself fell foul to what he labelled as witchcraft in a tale that was never questioned as a fiction. This mass rounding up of undesirables became known as the Chelmsford Trials and culminated on the 29th July, 1645 with 32 guilty, 29 of which were condemned to hanging. Still, there is no mention of what he did … Actually they didn't. Torture was an illegal practice in 1645, however, there were very few sympathisers with an accused witch, not least due to their initial unpopularity with the local population and besides, there was very little structured authority to uphold such laws anyway. Hopkins would later justify this treatment as necessary to find evidence of visitations from their familiars, which, according to his writings, often happened. In the 1600s there were many ways to make a living. Author: Matthew Hopkins. Title: The Discovery of Witches. Matthew Clairmont was born in France around 500 AD. Select a purchase One may at this point judge Hopkins to be a violent man, driven by bloodlust. As the dark nights drew in, Hopkins and Stearne arrived in Ipswich. Traditional legal systems had broken down.The weather was noticeably poor all round with wet summers and cold winters bringing sickness and poor food production, whilst inflation eroded wealth. Witches killed children and used their fat to make up magic potions. I'm not sure where the number originated, but I assume it counts every tangential death, and many that couldn't be counted as witches by any standard. He had 68 people put to death in Bury St. Edmunds alone, and 19 hanged at Chelmsford in a single day. 3. Cheers! This practice was never used as evidence in a trial, it was simply a very public method of shaming a victim and at the same time promoting Hopkins services. Read your article online and download the PDF from your email or your account. Of that total number nineteen were executed, nine died from Gaol Fever (Typhus), six were imprisoned until 1648, and only one was acquitted of the charges against her. “Matthew Hopkins, son of Mr James Hopkins, Minister of Wenham, was buried at Mistley, August 12 th, 1647. These witch-hunts occurred during the Renaissance and early modern period, between the 15th and 16th centuries, and peaking during the early 17th centuries - a period of time which corresponds almost directly with the Reformation (thus, contrary to popular imagination, they occurred not in the Middle Ages but in the historical periods that followed it). Matthew Hopkins (16?? There is reason to believe that this was the noted Matthew Hopkins, Witch Finder General to the associated counties, who had frequently been mentioned by various writers. They summon demons to help do their evil bidding. 22.18. This was made all the easier, when using an instrument that was spring loaded, as Stearne was said to have used. If you enjoy the podcast, please consider leaving us a review over in itunes or your app of choice. Hopkins was asked if methods of investigation did not make the finders themselves witches, and if with all his knowledge did he not also have a secret, or had used “unlawful courses of torture”. Matthew Hopkins early life is one steeped in obscurity and myth. Suffolk and Essex was the seventeenth Century version of a British Bible Belt, the same Puritan population had been the home of the pilgrims who set out for Massachusetts in 1620. Free shipping . Eight years later, in 1612, the pendle witches, 9 women and 2 men were held to trial under accusations of murder by witchcraft, witchcraft to cause harm to animals, witchcraft to cause sickness, cannibalism and child murder. Political & Religious atmosphere of the time. Potts's Discovery of Witches: In the County of Lancaster, Brand New, Free shi... $23.89 . The witch finders, however, did not operate by themselves; they travelled with a group of female searchers, who helped in discerning witch-marks. Within the space of a few months, Hopkins had over 200 alleged witches awaiting trial locked up in jails throughout East Anglia. Hopkins is a man of mystery - barely any documentation exists to prove that he was ever born, or even died. People began to express concern over the manner in which admissions were being withdrawn, along with the sheer volume of witches being rounded up and the treatment that Hopkins and Co. were dealing out towards those accused. Witchcraft accusations started to spread throughout East Anglia, spurred on by Hopkins' actions. From 1645-7 two witch finders, Matthew Hopkins and John Stearne, swept through East Anglia discovering and trying suspected witches. For …  One of them was Sir Harbottle Grimston, a baronet of Puritan ancestry, who had been active in the Long Parliament, but who as a "moderate man" fell now somewhat into the background. The Fitch manuscript also made it clear that Hopkins received some of his education in Holland and that it was from the low countries that he obtained the idea of becoming a witch hunter.”. up to 20 shillings for each. Between 1644 and 1647, Matthew Hopkins traveled throughout England, examining suspected witches and various witnesses. Whilst it is relatively unusual that it was the trial of a man and the vast majority of Hopkins witches were Female, it was not the gender of the victim that caused Hopkins reputation to suffer, but his social standing as a Reverend. Montague Summers, English author and Clergyman held no punches when he wrote of Hopkins: “He was an Orthodox Puritan of narrowest views, enough so far as his own pockets were concerned and his crusade up and down the Eastern counties, which created something like a reign of terror at the time, has caused his name to stink in the nostrils of all decent persons ever since.”, Matthew Hopkins – On the Discovery of Witches. Whereby before, Hopkins had boasted he had access to “the devils book” which, he told, documented every witch in England, he now began to distance himself from such rumours as they threatened to turn against him. As the son of a Puritan vicar, he was very much raised in the church. s. 32 preternature Europe. $30.16. This article will argue that Hopkins used methods and demonology that were not “continental” or alien to English beliefs and trials. Until around 1440 witchcraft-related prosecutions in Europe centered on maleficium, the concept of using supernatural powers specifically to harm others. This good feeling however, would not last forever. Matthew Hopkins, (born, Wenham, Suffolk, Eng.—died Aug. 12, 1647), English witch-hunter during a witchcraft craze of the English Civil Wars. Matthew Hopkins profitted greatly from witch-hunting which had no evidence behind it. They aggravated local grievances, dug up long-standing gossip and were all too happy to lend an ear to a person with a grudge against their neighbour. It really helps us out. He was an impoverished lawyer coming from a strong puritanical background who had moved to Manningtree in Essex, in 1644. A keen marketer, hangings were often dispersed throughout the region, often under the guise of a certain hamlet being home to either an accuser or an animal familiar. These trials were, up until Hopkins lifetime, the largest held in England and it seems unlikely to think that Hopkins would have had no knowledge of this local history. In reality this had the knock on effect of working as a macabre form of promotion and these small towns queued up to pay him vast sums of money to clear out their witches. They also relied upon villagers to identify witches in the first place, long… It is not certain how Hopkins became involved with hunting witches, but records show that he was working on destroying anything that could be related to the “works of the devil”. I’d like to share some of his story because it is fascinating and totally horrific (and you like that sort of thing). The Man Himself. Hopkins rode through East Anglia, clearing towns of witches wherever he was invited. His father’s will was also signed by the executor, a man by the name of Nathaniel bacon. Hopkins and Stearne prosecuted in the cpurt session in 1647, thus, they retired. When Matthew was young, he met a woman named Blanca. In 1604, the witchcraft act was amended once again, this time it remained, for the most part unchanged, however it was broadened to include the commune of a person with a demonic familiar, or invocation of evil spirits. The 14th and 15th Centuries saw a slow ramping up of trials for heresy, which slowly evolved into a complicated hierarchical categorisation in law, one such category being the use of demonic sorcery, eventually spawning the Witchcraft Act in 1542, outlining the act of Witchcraft by name as a felony, punishable by death. Gender was an important factor in determining if you survived a meeting with Matthew Hopkins. Request Permissions. Only one, Elizabeth Gooding stood firm against Hopkins torture and never admitted any guilt. Preternature is an interdisciplinary forum for the study of the preternatural as seen in magics, witchcraft, spiritualism, occultism, prophecy, monstrophy, demonology, and folklore. 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