Witchcraft Craze in East Anglia

(302 words)
  • Editors

Historical Context Note

The British Isles were much less inclined to witch trials than continental Europe during the Reformation, but there was a notorious outbreak in north Essex, which then spread the craze through Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire and Northamptonshire from the spring of 1645 through to August 1647. Some 300 men and women were accused of witchcraft, more than 100 of whom were executed.

The craze centred on the north Essex coastal town of Manningtree and may initially have had something to do with the characters of Matthew Hopkins and John Stearne, millenarian Protestants who lived in Manningtree and believed fervently in witchcraft and the need to purify England in order to prepare for the coming of the New …

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Citation:
Editors. "Witchcraft Craze in East Anglia". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 May 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1558, accessed 20 September 2014.]