The East Anglian Witch Hunts; the facts
Fancy peering into the cauldron of spells and potions for a revealing insight into the dark art of witchcraft.
If you do, a new exhibition – ‘Witch Hunt: The East Anglian Witch Hunt 1645 -47’ – which starts at Saffron Walden Museum this Saturday (February 9), could be for you.
With her broomstick, pointed hat and black cat, the witch is one of the most iconic and infamous characters from fairy tale, folklore and fiction.
Yet behind the wizened, crone-like image lies a true story of paranoia and persecution, one that led to the execution of thousands of people across Europe, men as well as women.
Although England has experienced several hundred witch-trials, it endured only one major witch hunt worthy of the name.
It took place in East Anglia in 1645-7, at the height of the political and social unrest caused by the English Civil War.
The new exhibition, which runs until Sunday, May 12, explains how and why this terrible tragedy occurred.
The exhibition has been loaned from Epping Forest District Museum and Renaissance in the Regions and has been supplemented by objects from the museum’s own collection.
Opening with an exploration of witches and magic in popular culture today and the myths surrounding witches, the exhibition moves on to cover the witch hunt itself, including information about the infamous Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins, using evidence from actual trials.
Exhibits include a whole menagerie of witch’s familiars – including a reconstruction of a scolds bridle originally found in a garden near Saffron Walden, and a Bellarmine witch bottle from the 1600s which includes its contents.
Normal admission charges apply for the exhibition (£1.50 adults, 75p discounts and children free).
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Weather for Haverhill
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 6 C to 18 C
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