Scottish Witchcraft

Scotland was second only to Germany in the barbarity and number of its witch trials. Far more witches were tried and condemned per head of population in Scotland than in England, with one estimate giving as many as 4,400 witches being executed overall. Unlike the practice in England, Scotland followed the continental, inquisitorial model, but here a confession was not necessary before conviction and execution. General reputation as a witch was considered sufficient proof for an indictment and conviction. Once an indictment was drawn, the accused could not dispute its accuracy!

Execution also followed the continental form with witches commonly being burnt and the costs of the trial and execution being borne by the condemned person.

Belief in witchcraft continued in Scotland into the 18th century. In 1727 Janet Horne was the last person to be tried and burned at Dornoch in Ross Shire for having used her daughter as a flying horse, the devil shoeing her so that she was permanently lamed. The Act against witchcraft was repealed in 1736, though the Presbyterian Church was to still state a belief in the practice through one of its resolutions as late as 1773.

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History of the witches of Renfrewshire...

History of the witches of Renfrewshire who were burned on the Gallowgreen of Paisley
Paisley: Printed by J.Newton for John Millar, 1809.

Newes from Scotland...

Newes from Scotland, or, a true discourse of the damnable life of Doctor Fian, and sundry other witches taken in Scotland. In
A Collection of rare and curious tracts on witchcraft and the second sight: with an original essay on witchcraft.
Edinburgh: Printed for D. Webster, 1820.
Ravillac Redivivus

HICKES, George
Ravillac Redivivus: Being a Narrative Of the Late Tryal of Mr. James Mitchel [with] An Account of the Tryal of that most wicked Pharisee Major Thomas Weir, who was Executed for Adultery, Incest and Bestiality [etc.] Second Edition.
London: Printed for Walter Kettilby . . . in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1682
Lawes and customs of Scotland

Mackenzie, Sir George
Lawes and customs of Scotland in matters criminal ...
Edinburgh : Printed by James Glen, 1678
Philosophy of witchcraft

The Philosophy of witchcraft
Paisley: Murray & Stewart, 1839
A work of Scottish folklore with fascinating contemporary accounts of the most notable Scottish witchcraft trials of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It also includes accounts of May rituals, Halloween, witch charms, fairies and witches.

Letters on demonology...

SCOTT, Sir Walter
Letters on demonology and witchcraft addressed to John Lockhart
London: John Murray, 1830
The popular superstitions....

STEWART, William Grant
The Popular superstitions and festive amusements of the Highlanders of Scotland
Edinburgh: Printed for Archibald Constable and Company ..., 1823

A group of essays written in the early 19th century relating to the superstitions of the Highlands, Gaelic language and legends, and the manners of the Highlanders. The author devotes, devotes the second part of his discussion to fairies, especially their relations with humans and their role as familiars and succubi. In particular this role is discussed in the chapter entitled "Of the Passions and Propensities of the Fairies".

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