Like most Europeans, their Christian faith had deep roots, and they perceived the natural world as a place that could be shaped by supernatural forces. Witch trials had been a part of English life for centuries, and Parliament had passed a law criminalizing the practice of witchcraft inso the men and women who settled the English colony at Jamestown would have considered witchcraft to be a real and punishable offense.
Witches' Familiars in 17th Century Europe February update Detail of a witch feeding her familiars. Woodcut, England, late sixteenth century. The frontispiece see below to the witch hunter Mathew Hopkins ' infamous pamphlet The Discovery of Witches London, is a classic image, and rightly so: I suppose the author, publisher and artist expected their early modern readership to feel a chill when they gazed upon this crude woodcut depicting the moon-eyed familiars of a coven of witches that Hopkins claimed to have discovered in Essex, but to my modern eyes these little creatures are strangely endearing.
I'm especially fond of little Newes see lower left cornerwho, Hopkins noted briskly, was "like a Polcat. The Discoverer [Hopkins] never travelled far for it, but in March he had some seven or eight of that horrible sect of Witches living in the Towne where he lived Holt, who came in like a white kitling.
Jarmara, who came in like a fat Spaniel without any legs at all, she said she kept him fat, for she clapt her hand on her belly and said he suckt good blood from her body.
Vinegar Tom, who was like a long-legg'd Greyhound, with an head like an Oxe, with a long taile and broad eyes, who when this discoverer spoke to, and bade him goe to the place provided for him and his Angels, immediately transformed himselfe into the shape of a child of foure yeeres old without a head, and gave halfe a dozen turnes about the house, and vanished at the doore.
Sack and Sugar, like a black Rabbet. Newes, like a Polcat. All these vanished away in a little time. Detail of a witch riding a goat-familiar from Hans Baldung 's woodcut "Witches' Sabbath. The crowded title page notes that the fearsome canine was only felled thanks to the counter-acting magical powers of a "Valiant Souldier, who had skill in Necromancy": Observant readers will also note the final title line, in which it is revealed that Boy -- "the strange breed of this Shagg'd Cavalier" -- was in fact "whelp'd of a Malignant Water-Witch.
For more see the Pepys Diary site 's entry on Rupert.
For more on the specific topic of familiars see this essay by James A. Stuart Clark's Thinking with Demons brilliantly elucidates the ideologies behind the witch craze.
Posted by Benjamin Breen.Jan 13, · The statistics suggest that the East Anglia trials of represented a major panic and were comparable to the European witch crazes of the late 16th - early 17th century". Florence Newton midth Century - One of the most famous trials in Ireland was that of Florence Newton also known as "the Witch of Youghal".
She was accused of .
Sixteenth and seventeenth century discussions of witchcraft by educated commentators (both on the European Continent and in England) always insisted that a pact with the the devil lay behind witchcraft, — although they admitted that this pact was sometimes only tacit or implied.
Charges of witchcraft and magic had already become general after the midth century, but at the very beginning of the 17th century they appear to have decreased.
In charges of witchcraft the pressure came often from village communities, not from public authorities. Witches: A Century of Murder TV 1 Season Historian Suzannah Lipscomb investigates the witch hunts that plagued Britain in the 17th century, examining common myths about their origin.
The seventeenth century was a fascinating time in history. Thoughts on science and philosophy changed. Thoughts on science and philosophy changed. The world became an extended arena for colonies and trading posts.