The account of a series of English witch trials that took place on
18-19 August 1612, commonly known as the Lancashire witch trials.
Except for one trial held in York they took place at Lancaster
Assizes. Of the twenty men and women accused - amongst them the
Pendle witches and the Samlesbury witches - eleven were found
guilty and subsequently hanged; one was sentenced to stand in the
pillory, and the rest were acquitted. Thomas Potts, the clerk to
the Lancaster Assizes, was ordered by the trial judges, Sir James
Altham and Sir Edward Bromley, to write an account of the
proceedings, making them some of the most famous and best recorded
witch trials of the 17th century. During the sixteenth century
whole districts in some parts of Lancashire seemed contaminated
with the presence of witches; men and beasts were supposed to
languish under their charm, and the delusion which preyed alike on
the learned and the vulgar did not allow any family to suppose that
they were beyond the reach of the witch's power.
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