Historian helps commemorate 36 victims of witch trials

Artwork created by Alison Tew focusing on women during the time, alongside Professor Alison Rowlands

Artwork created by Alison Tew focusing on women during the time, alongside Professor Alison Rowlands - Credit: Alison Tew/Gemma Garwood/ University of Essex

The 36 women in Essex who were accused of witchcraft in the 17th century are being commemorated with the help of a university historian.

University of Essex historian Professor Alison Rowlands is helping to ensure the victims of the witch-hunts are not forgotten by providing historical advice to the creators of a new walking tour, Revisiting the Essex Witch Trials, in Manningtree, north Essex.

Manningtree is a very significant place in the history of witch-hunting, as it was the place where the largest and most infamous episode of witch prosecution in English history began in 1645.

Professor Rowlands said: "I wanted to be involved because this project offered the opportunity to commemorate the witch trials from the perspective of the women accused, tried and sadly often executed.

"Thinking about the women accused of witchcraft in 1645 made us realise they were individuals with emotions and aspirations, just like us.

Their stories remind us of what can happen when neighbour turns against neighbour and when the law allows for ‘unfair’ trials."