Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Pendle Witch Library

Pendle Witches: Further Reading on the Pendle Witches, Historical Cunning Folk, and Wisewomen


Harrison Ainsworth, The Lancashire Witches: A Romance of Pendle Forest (EJ Morten) (First published in 1849, written in dialect, very long, gothic, and dense.)

Robert Neill, Mist Over Pendle (A lovely novel for both adults and young adults but not very kind to the witches!)

Nonfiction, Primary Source:

Thomas Potts, The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster (Published in 1613, these are the official transcripts of the 1612 trial. Though not infallible, Potts’s account remains the best primary source we have.)

Nonfiction, Secondary Sources:

John A. Clayton, The Lancashire Witch Conspiracy (Barrowford) (A locally published historical investigation.)

Jonathan Lumby, The Lancashire Witch-Craze (Carnegie) (Very in-depth and sensitively written.)

Edgar Peel & Pat Southern, The Trials of the Lancashire Witches (Nelson) (Perhaps the most lucid overview of the arrests and trials.)

Robert Poole, ed., The Lancashire Witches: Histories and Stories (Manchester University Press) (A collection of recent academic scholarship on the subject, highly recommended!)

Nonfiction: Books on Witchcraft, Folk Magic, Folk Lore, Religion, and Social History

Robin Briggs, Witches & Neighbours: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft, (Blackwell Publishing) (General overview of the European witch persecutions.)

Owen Davies, Popular Magic: Cunning-folk in English History, (Hambledon Continuum) (Although most of the cunning-folk he discusses date from a later period than the Pendle Witches, this is still a must-read.)

Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580 (Yale University Press) (Seminal work on why people in Tudor England were so reluctant to lose their “old religion.”)

John Harland & T.T. Wilkinson, Lancashire Folklore, (Kessinger Publishing) (Originally compiled in the 19th century, this book is full of authentic folk magic as practised by local cunning folk.)

Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, (Penguin) (The classic social history on religion and popular folk magic and how they influenced each other.)

John Webster, The Displaying of Supposed Witchcraft, (Ams Pr Inc), (Originally published in 1677, this is a skeptical work dismissing accusations of supposed satanic witchcraft and yet illuminating genuine folkloric beliefs and practises, including the lingering belief in the Fairy Faith.)

Emma Wilby, Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Visionary Traditions in Early Modern British Witchcraft and Magic, (Sussex Academic Press) (Scholarly work attempting to elucidate what cunning folk actually believed in. The author presents a convincing argument that the belief in familiar spirits was rooted in the Fairy Faith.)

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