Devon

MP calls for women hanged for witchcraft to be pardoned

  • 10 June 2013
  • From the section Devon
Actresses in a BBC Radio Devon play about the Witches of Bideford
The true story of the women hanged more than 300 years ago inspired a BBC Radio Devon play

A campaign to pardon the last three women to be hanged for witchcraft in England has been backed by a Devon MP.

Temperance Lloyd, Susannah Edwards and Mary Trembles, known as the Witches of Bideford, were executed in Exeter on 25 August 1682.

Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter, said their deaths were a "stain on our history".

The petition says "pardoning the women would acknowledge their innocence and that of more than 450 others".

Christine Nash, who started the petition, said: "They were innocent. The law no longer exists. You have to be innocent to be pardoned.

"Quite clearly, they were not witches. They certainly did not do any of the things they were accused of, one of which was turning into a magpie."

Mr Bradshaw said: "It's a terrible injustice, the last time it happened was on our patch. I am very pleased that Christine has launched this petition."

Mrs Nash said they were convicted on "hearsay evidence under the 1604 Statute against Witchcraft devised under King James I".

More than 150 people have signed the online petition so far.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites