Talk | She confessed: Stories from the women of the Essex witch trials
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Join Professor Alison Rowlands to explore what women, caught up in witch-trials in 16th and 17th century Essex, said about witchcraft – and how and why they gave their testimonies.
The talk will focus on the stories of three different types of women: those accused of witchcraft, some of whom made very detailed and damning confessions of guilt; those who made accusations of witchcraft or acted as witnesses against their neighbours; and those who became ‘searchers’ – which involved physical examination of the bodies of accused women to see whether or not they had supernatural marks or teats.
Can the documented confessions of witchcraft made by some accused women give us insights into their life histories, emotions, and personalities? Were women simply victims, or did they have other parts to play in the witch-hunts?
Alison Rowlands is a Professor in the Department of History at the University of Essex. Her main research interests are in the histories of magic, witchcraft, witch-trials and demonology; the ways in which witchcraft and witch-trials have been represented and remembered since the early modern period, and the social, cultural, religious and gender history of the early modern period.
As part of ‘Creativity Matters: Conflict and Culture’: a series of public talks throughout February and March which will explore the themes and stories behind Firstsite’s Conflict and Culture artistic programme. Find out more