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The Lancashire Witches

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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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