In the year 1819 Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe edited from manuscript the work now commonly known as Law's "Memorialls." Though now a standard work, and often quoted by historical writers, it had not been printed prior to the above-named date. The title in full runs as follows: - "Memorialls; or the Memorable Things that fell out Within this Island of Brittain from 1638 to 1684. By the Rev. Mr. Robert Law." In the preface to the "Memorialls" Mr. Sharpe says regarding the manuscript: - "The MS. from which the 'Memorialls' have been printed is not in the handwriting of the author. Transcribed with extreme inaccuracy by some blundering amanuensis, it has been corrected by Woodrow himself, and forms a part of the voluminous collection of MSS. made by that reverend minister as materials for his 'Account of the Sufferings of the Scottish Church'; and for another work which, from several papers in his library, he seems to have projected, but most unfortunately did not bring to perfection - 'A History or Collection of Authentic Narratives respecting the Apparitions and Witchcraft of his Native Country.'" The author, Rev. Robert Law, was minister of Easter Kilpatrick, in the county of Dumbarton.
In an age of widespread superstition and suspicion hundreds of thousands of women around Europe and the New World were accused by friends, family, and neighbours of being Witches. Thousands of these women endured judicial torture or failed supposed ‘tests’ such as witch pricking and were forced to confess to being in league with the devil and were subsequently executed.
From the celebrated Witch of Iona to the last execution of a Scottish Witch Sharpe explores the real facts behind this persecution and the contexts that triggered it.
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