Saturday, 28 May 2022

Witch Hunt

A day of witch hunt history, firstly the Old St Andrew's Kirk in North Berwick, The Auld Kirk was made famous in 1595 when local women were accused of being witches, gathering in the kirk to listen to a sermon from the Devil, and plotting to kill James VI and his new bride by summoning a storm.  During the reign of King James VI, somewhere between 70 and 200 so-called witches were put on trial, tortured and even executed, from the town of North Berwick and the surrounding area alone.

Then on to the Witches Stone in Spott, East Lothian which was notorious for its witches in both the 17th and early 18th centuries.  The stone is supposed to be near the spot where Marion Lillie, the Ringwoody Witch, was burnt to death around 1698. It has been claimed that she was the last witch to be burnt in Scotland, however, three other executions took place in Spott in 1705, one being described as a “burning”, the usual fate for those convicted of witchcraft.

Then lastly Athena, designed by Andy Scott to commemorate 81 residents of Prestonpans who were executed for witchcraft in the 16th century, though it represents “a proud and dignified woman” rather than a victim.  When interviewed about the sculpture in 2011, Andy Scott said: “I did a bit of historic research on Prestonpans and found a number of ladies – and men as it turned out – were unfortunately accused of witchcraft and met a rather grisly end. I thought it would be nice to give them a dignified commemoration”.

I'm a fan of the Nikita Gill poem, Wild Embers.  "We are the descendants of the wild women you forgot, we are the stories you thought would never be taught.  They should of checked the ashes of the women they burned alive, because it takes a single wild ember to bring a whole wildfire to life"

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