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18 June 2014
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Legacies - Essex

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Myths and Legends
Matthew Hopkins - Witch-finder General
Hopkins and his assistant Stearne profited from witch hunting

© Essex County Council
Witch-finder witch?

"Every old woman with a wrinkled face, a furrowed brow, a hairy lip, a gobber tooth, a squint eye, a squeaking voice or scolding tongue, having a rugged coat on her back, a skull-cap on her head, a spindle in her hand and a dog or cat by her side, is not only suspect but pronounced for a witch"

wrote John Gaule in 'Select Cases of Conscience', his condemnation of Matthew Hopkins.

And so it was that the infamous, self-styled "Witch-finder General" – Matthew Hopkins took to his notorious business throughout East Anglia in the 1640's. However, it was in Chelmsford, in Essex, that he was most feared; in 1645, an unusually high number of witches were tried and convicted after years of gradual decline in the local Assizes. More...

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Internet Links
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