Women and Witchcraft - the Horrifying History of Female Sourcery
Updated: Oct 28
In this British history podcast, we tell stories of the ancient witches of Wales, and the medieval Witch of Eye. Reveal the cruel torture of the pillywinks, and a British king who wrote a book on witches. Discover the gruesome story of the Pendle Witches, and a “witch” imprisoned during WW2 by the British government.
Find out what happened to the earliest witches in Britain. These female druids known as Banduri, were pagan priestesses, all seeing shamans with mystical powers who mediated quarrels and fought alongside their fellow Celts in battle – making their last stand in Anglesey.
Margery Jourdemayne, the witch of Eye, was a seer, trusted by clerics, courtiers, and monarchs. She was the confident of Dutchess Eleanor Cobham, wife to the kings brother. But when the Duchess was accused of sorcery, Margery’s life was in the balance.
“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”. This one line from the Bible set in motion a bloody persecution, under the reign of Britain’s’ most superstitious king: James I. Hear how the king’s voyage to meet his wife Anne of Denmark convinced him that witches were plotting to kill him – leading to the monarch writing a book on witchcraft. Find out how the diabolical pillywinks were used to torture a poor house maid.
The Pendle Witch Trails are the most shocking persecutions in English history. Two Lancashire families in were put on trial in Lancaster Castle, and the evidence of a nine year old girl condemned them to a brutal end.
Jane Wenham of Walkern in Hertfordshire was accused of being a “witch and a bitch” . The whole village turned on her, accusing her of flying and conversing with the devil. Facing death, her destiny was in the hands of the local justice, and the monarch Queen Anne herself.
Local children told tales of Nanny Izzard riding on her broomstick. This woman from the tiny village of Great Paxton in Cambridgeshire was accused of bewitching young Alice Brown and was ducked in the local pond. A local curate tried to save her – but could he keep her from the hatred of the local villagers?
Helen Duncan, would summon up ghosts of dead people, was the last person tried for Witchcraft in Britain. It’s a remarkable story of state secrets and government intrigue.
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After you have listened to women and witchcraft podcast, go to our Pendle witches Halloween podcast here