The story of the murders of the Lancashire witches.
Britain’s most destructive single witch hunt took place in Lancashire in 1612. It was our equivalent of Salem: twenty innocent men and women were tried; ten were executed; an eleventh had already died in prison.
The trial is remarkable for two reasons: first, it heard bizarre evidence of feuds between warring families of witches, of souls sold to the Devil and supernatural murders; second, it appears to have been recorded in unique detail for posterity by clerk Thomas Potts. His account was published as The Wonderful Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster.
The witch hunter was local Puritan magistrate, Roger Nowell. Serving God, King and himself, Nowell manipulated witnesses and orchestrated events in court in order to frame the defendants. Potts re-arranged the evidence for publication to justify the verdicts and cover up what had really happened.
Nowell was the stage manager of an extraordinary show trial. Potts was his spin doctor.