Saturday, November 01, 2008

A Royal Pardon for the British Witches?

Over 400 people (mostly women) were legally executed for witchcraft in Britain until 1735. In retrospect, most of these people were probably not witches. Further, even if they were, it is unfair that they were killed for their personal religious beliefs. This has resulted in a campaign to have these "witches" given royal pardons.

The site http://www.pardonthewitches.com/ has some more details:

On 28th of August 2008, the Swiss Parliament granted an official pardon to Anna Goeldi who in 1782 was the last person to be executed as a witch in Western Europe. It is time the British government followed this example and this Halloween offered a symbolic pardon to those people who were punished for witchcraft in Britain between the Sixteenth and Eighteenth Century.

Angels, the UK's largest Halloween retailer, has consulted with historian and witchcraft expert John Callow to prepare eight historical test cases that aim to remove the suspicion and fear that continues to surround these innocent women (and one man). Please fill in the petition below to see your name added to the list that will be presented to Justice Minister Jack Straw MP on Halloween 2008 asking him to recommend the Queen issues a posthumous pardon.

Over 400 women were executed in England alone following accusations of witchcraft. These women - often on the margins of society on account of their sex, poverty and age - found themselves used as the outlet for a wide range of unrelated social issues, from religious tension sweeping the nation during the Civil War to more localised problems such as crop failure. Often it was enough for a child to fall ill for a local woman to become the subject of a whispering campaign that could lead to an accusation of witchcraft. During the period, trials were conducted using official assizes presided over by the same circuit judges that tried people charged of non-supernatural crimes. They often used evidence obtained by duress or torture to justify the death sentence.

Eight test cases are being advanced to help with the pardon request. I am convinced this is worthwhile even if the victims can not appreciate it. Miland Brown has added his name to the petition.

2 comments:

tess said...

Since Miland Brown has added his name to a petition for the pardon of witches there have been no further posts on his blog. As a regular reader I am bereft, there has been nothing since early November & it is now past Christmas. Would the anti-witch lobby holding him hostage kindly release him or for our sake give him access to a computer?

M said...

Tess,

I plan on coming back very soon and returning to regular posting. My apologies for not posting a "on vacation" message. Some events have come up in quick succession in my life which have made blogging seem a bit unimportant lately. I did not plan on such a long break.

I value this blog and will return. I appreciate your message of support.

Miland