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Author Topic: Ah, those wonderful days when women burnt at the stake! How many women...  (Read 1166 times)

Offline P-Kasso2

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How many women were killed as witches during the “witch crazes” in Britain between about 1300 and 1650?

There must of been thousands and thousands of women executed, many just for being 'suspected' of practicing witchcraft.

And the horrible thing is that the church and the government and academics actively sanctioned the mass hysteria of the witch hunt craze! There was even a Witch Finder General whose sole job was to make sure hangings, drownings and burnings etc of women went with a swing.

Women were burnt, drowned, hanged, and crushed to death after 'trials' - or simply strung up and lynched by vigilante mobs. (It must have been really diabolical being a woman back then when it wasn't just bras that were being burnt.)

My gruesome question is...Are there any estimates of how many poor 'sinner' women met horrible deaths during the witch hunts?


The Witch Finder General - responsible in the mid 1600s for more women
being hanged for witchcraft than in the previous 100 years.

« Last Edit: 06 August, 2017, 12:28:03 PM by P-Kasso2 »
"I live in hope"

Offline siasl

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Wiki says " It has been estimated that all of the English witch trials between the early 15th and late 18th centuries resulted in fewer than 500 executions for witchcraft." but does not provide a reference. There was, however, one eager charmer named Matthew Hopkins, who took on the title Witchfinder General (but was not bestowed that title by parliament), who is believed to have been responsible for the deaths of up to 300 women between the years 1644 and 1646, allegedly according to'Sharpe, James (2002), "The Lancaster witches in historical context", in Poole, Robert, The Lancashire Witches: Histories and Stories, Manchester University Press, pp. 1–18, ISBN 978-0-7190-6204-9'

Offline P-Kasso2

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Wiki says " It has been estimated that all of the English witch trials between the early 15th and late 18th centuries resulted in fewer than 500 executions for witchcraft." but does not provide a reference. There was, however, one eager charmer named Matthew Hopkins, who took on the title Witchfinder General (but was not bestowed that title by parliament), who is believed to have been responsible for the deaths of up to 300 women between the years 1644 and 1646, allegedly according to'Sharpe, James (2002), "The Lancaster witches in historical context", in Poole, Robert, The Lancashire Witches: Histories and Stories, Manchester University Press, pp. 1–18, ISBN 978-0-7190-6204-9'


Thanks Siasl - but Wiki's figure of just 500 'witches' executed in the course of 4 whole centuries seems very low to me...

And I only say that because I remember seeing estimates that indicate that there were at least 40,000 witch killings in Europe during that period (and even that figure of 40,000 is probably too conservative and low).

Other estimates that I have seen peg the more realistic figureas high as half a million women killed as witches across Europe in the 14th to 17th Century inclusive.

Obviously there's a massive difference between 40,000 deaths and half a million deaths.

It makes it doubly hard to know who the devil to believe when it comes to trying discover the number of UK women killed as witches just in the UK.

It is all very confusing - but I still feel there must be a reliable source of statistics out there somewhere and I haven't been lucky enough to have found it. Not yet anyway.


PS
I may be guilty of of a bad dose of over-nitpicking here - but I am pretty certain that another reason why Wiki's guestimate may be falsely low is because Wiki's estimate only starts from the early 15th Century (ie the early 1400's) and does not include the 13th Century...which is especially important because 'witch killings' were already rife in the very bloody 13th Century.

http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2012/12/02/how-many-people-were-killed-as-witches-in-europe-from-1200-to-the-present/)
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Offline siasl

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Offline P-Kasso2

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Here's QI's take on the matter
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRRnG03JDsA

I think I stand corrected. I can quite imagine that we British were far less blood-thirsty than other European nations and consequently bumped of far fewer witches and reprieved far more.

Going back to the video clip for a moment...While we have no source for Stephen Fry's low claims, I can also imagine that the BBC's researchers for QI were very thorough and I tend to believe them.

That would make Wiki right and me wrong. I am quite OK with that and will stop banging on about it now. Thanks Siasl for the eureka moment and the video.
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Offline siasl

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That would make Wiki right and me wrong. I am quite OK with that and will stop banging on about it now. Thanks Siasl for the eureka moment and the video.
Well, no matter how many were killed (or even just accused), it was pretty crappy to be on the receiving end.