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Witchcraft belief and trials in early modern Ireland.

Although there has been no quantitative study of Irish witchcraft accusation, recent academic studies suggest that prosecution and execution rates failed to reach double figures. (2) Seventeenth-century Irish Protestant commentators, such as archbishop of Dublin William King, also noted that witch-hunting in Ireland had never really begun. (3) In this respect, Ireland was different from Britain and much of early modern Europe. When the last witchcraft trial was held at Leicester, England, in 1717, (4) around 500 people, mainly women, had been executed during the previous 150 years. This figure represents just over 1 per cent of the estimated 40,000 people put to death for witchcraft in Europe between 1400 and 1800, a period when England held 5 per cent of the total European population. (5) Taking into consideration that early modern Scotland held roughly a quarter of the population of England, Scottish witch-hunting was twelve times more intense: of the 3,837 people tried for witchcraft, around two-thirds were convicted and executed. (6)

So if most of Europe prosecuted high numbers of witches in the early modern period why was Ireland different? The two main historians to consider this issue, Raymond Gillespie and Elwyn Lapoint, suggest that the answer cannot be found in the witchcraft beliefs of Irish people, as both Catholic natives and Protestant settlers alike shared in the witchcraft beliefs characteristic of other European cultures. (7) Popular belief in malefic witchcraft focussed on the tangible effects of harmful magic, and on identifying, punishing and thwarting those who attacked humans and livestock and destroyed property. Elite culture, by contrast, presented witches in demonic terms, not just as purveyors of male-ficium, but as heretics who had renounced their covenant with God to join a satanic sect bent on the destruction of Christendom. A very real and constant threat to early modern lives and livelihoods, European witches were fended off by prayer, legal means and the use of counter-magic. (8)

The conundrum of Ireland's immunity to witchcraft cannot be solved, either, by reference to its laws and legal infra-structure. Firstly, an almost identical version of the English witchcraft act of 1563 was passed by the Irish parliament in May 1586, one of a batch of official measures introduced into Ireland at that time. (9) Furthermore, for the entire period under consideration, Ireland's system of law enforcement, prosecution, and legal administration was almost identical to that of England, with both countries sharing similar common law precepts. (10)

If lack of belief or of appropriate legal machinery cannot be held accountable for the paucity of Irish witch-hunting, the unwillingness of the majority Catholic, Gaelic-Irish population to levy formal witchcraft accusation has been regarded as a more convincing explanation. Lapoint argues that this community, rather than involve secular authorities and lodge formal accusations, preferred to fight witchcraft attacks using informal magical and/or religious means. (11) This decision is rooted in the resentment of the Elizabethan imposition of English rule and legal machinery on their country. Implicit in this model is the contention that formal accusations were rare in Protestant Ireland, leading to few prosecutions, trials and convictions. (12) Gillespie argues that this is an 'unlikely' explanation because, 'on the basis of surviving Irish court records, it is clear that the native Irish were deeply involved in the workings of the common law system by the 1640s ... [and] eagerly prosecuted theft, assault, and murder through these courts'. (13) Accusations of witchcraft, he suggests, were rare in both Catholic and Protestant Ireland because witch-hunting was not state-directed as it was in England: the main threat to social and political order was not the witch but the Gaelic-Irish. He maintains that disputes which often led to witchcraft accusation were resolved locally in cohesive Irish communities, precluding the need for recourse to outside, secular authorities. More importantly, the social, economic and demographic shifts which created the village tensions that underlay witchcraft accusation in England, according to the Keith Thomas/Alan Macfarlane charity-refused model, were absent in Ireland. (14) Jonathan Barry summarises this model as 'the hypothesis that most accusations of witchcraft arose from situations where the accused was refused some charity by the accuser, who then felt guilt and attributed subsequent misfortune to the malice of the person refused'. (15)

The charity-refused model has been shown recently to be only one of numerous contexts involving inter-personal conflict in which the accuser-accused relationship operated in early modern England. Moreover, in contrast to the findings of Thomas and Macfarlane, a significant number of English witches were not powerless, socially isolated, marginal, poor, old or widowed, and around 20 per cent were male. (16) Research into those accused of witchcraft in early modern Wales, which from the mid-sixteenth century shared legal and administrative machinery with England, has revealed a similar pattern. (17) Reputation, age and gender (18) are now seen as determining the accuser-accused relationship, and it is difficult to maintain that witchcraft accusation in England was a top-down process, as most accusations originated among the lower orders, with the judiciary handling them in such a way as to keep prosecution and conviction rates low in comparison to the rest of Europe. (19) Even in Scotland, where the late Christina Larner made the connection between witch-hunting and efforts to establish absolutism and build a godly State, (20) it has been recently suggested that Scottish governments worked to restrain and limit the activities of local witch-hunters. (21) Furthermore, most of those accused of maleficium in Scotland were middle-aged females, implicated by their neigh-bours (usually their social equals) after some sort of inter-personal conflict, followed by an otherwise inexplicable misfortune. Suspects were also named as accomplices by other witches, usually during medium and large hunts which could involve hundreds of people. (22) Both patterns of accusation can be seen in varying degrees in European witch trials, played out against a background of intense social, religious, political, economic and climatic change. (23)

This article aims to reassess patterns of witchcraft accusation, belief and prosecution in Ireland, from the late sixteenth to the early eighteenth century, in both secular and ecclesiastical courts. These will be analysed in a comparative, British context and in the light of recent historiographical developments. In doing so, a more compelling explanation as to why Ireland escaped the worst excesses of the early modern 'witch-craze' will be provided. Although the destruction of the Public Record Office in 1922 largely obliterated the official records created during the trial process that form the staple sources of witchcraft historians elsewhere, a wide range of new, under-used and under-analysed primary source material has been consulted, from church records to private correspondence, to depositions and printed pamphlets.

As it is now widely accepted that, to fully understand European witchcraft, its manifestation in geographically peripheral regions must be explored (in particular the north-east, such as Estonia, Iceland, Norway, Hungary, but also Portugal and Sicily), this article will also help to compensate for Ireland's exclusion from recent regional studies. (24) Apart from those already mentioned, only three academic articles have been published on Irish witchcraft, two of which are concerned with the trial of Florence Newton in Youghal, County Cork, in 1661. (25) Although some popular general texts on the subject have been produced during the last thirty years, (26) no academic monograph has appeared (27) since St John D. Seymour's Irish Witchcraft and Demonology (1913), an antiquarian work based largely on secondary material and some printed primary sources. (28)

Robin Briggs, in a recent, influential survey of European witchcraft contends that witchcraft beliefs 'were the one absolute prior necessity if there were to be trials at all'. (29) If belief in malefic/demonic witchcraft was crucial to the accusation and trial process, it was conspicuously absent in Gaelic-Irish popular culture, where a less threatening, more benign witch figure predominated. As in other areas of Gaelic-speaking Britain, albeit to a greater degree, popular fear of malevolent fairies, along with the unintentional evil eye, stymied the development of malefic witchcraft belief. (30) In short, the low intensity of witchcraft beliefs in Gaelic Ireland directly affected prosecution rates, a theoretical position adopted recently by historians of English and European witchcraft. (31)

Gaelic-Irish witches were nameless, impersonal beings, (32) who, unlike malefic/ demonic witches, did not normally kill or injure people or livestock; (33) but rather they prevented farmer's' milk being churned into butter and stole fresh milk from cows in the form of hares. (34) In the late sixteenth century, the historian William Camden noted that if the Gaelic-Irish found 'a hare amongst their heards of cattail on the May Daye; they kill her, for, they suppose shee is some old trot, that would filch away their butter'. (35) Francis Hutchinson, bishop of Down and Connor, wrote in his commonplace book in the 1720s that a man in his diocese 'swore that taking aim at a hare an old wo[ma]n rose up'. (36) In the mid-eighteenth century the Roman Catholic bishop of Kerry, Dr Nicholas Madgett, claimed that his 'superstitious' flock believed milk and butter could 'be harmed by sorcery'. (37) So strong was the image of the 'butter-witch' that it remained a part of Irish rural popular culture up until the twentieth century. (38) The burning of thatch from the roof of the victim, the driving of cattle through the ashes or smoke of May-Eve bonfires, the use of magical amulets (such as witch-stones), (39) and the shooting of witch hares were common countermeasures adopted in the face of butter witches. (40) May-Eve cattle drives were seen to be effective because May-Eve and May-Day were not only important festivals in the ritual year but widely regarded as times when the powers of butter-stealing witches were at their height. (41)

As the activities of Gaelic-Irish witches were restricted to the periodic interruption of dairy production and were easily countered by religious, magical or ritualistic means, they posed minimal economic and social threat to their communities. There was thus less need for recourse to the law to have those believed responsible prosecuted, incarcerated or executed in order to prevent future witchcraft attacks, cease present ones, or provide the victim or their relatives with closure or retribution. (42)

Something close to butter-stealing witches can be found in Gaelic-speaking and peripheral regions of Britain, where witchcraft prosecution remained relatively low, such as the Scottish highlands and islands and the Isle of Man. May-Eve and May-Day held specific significance in Manx witchcraft belief, where witches were thought to destroy, or more frequently transfer elsewhere, 'the tarra' or 'increase' from household crops and cattle. (43) Along with newer ideas of malefic (if not necessarily demonic) witchcraft, which were imported into the country in the seventeenth century from England, the 'butter-witch' was a common feature of popular culture in rural Wales up until the nineteenth century. They were thought to be particularly active in early May and to be able to transform themselves into hares and cats. (44)

In early modern Britain bewitchment of livestock, people and agricultural produce using the evil eye was a rare phenomenon attributed to the intentional malice of the witch. In many other countries it was regarded in practice, if not in theory, as an innate power let loose on the world unintentionally. In such communities, including Gaelic Scotland, the unintentional evil eye functioned to inhibit the development of malefic witch belief and reduce accusation rates by making explicable misfortune attributed elsewhere to witchcraft. (45)

In Gaelic Ireland belief that the evil eye could hurt livestock and humans seems to have been widespread, with little to suggest it was used intentionally. (46) Late sixteenth-century witchcraft sceptic Reginald Scot wrote in 1584 that 'the Irishmen addict themselves wonderfullie to the credit and practice ... that not onelie their children, but their cattell, are (as they call it) eyebitten, when they fall suddenlie sick'. (47) In the late sixteenth century the Jesuit, one-time resident of Limerick and agent of the English Counter-Reformation Fr Goode suggested that cunning-folk (48) were employed to cure 'eye-bitten' livestock: 'they thinke there bee some that bewitch their horses with looking upon them; and then they use the helpe of some old hagges, who saying a few prayers with a lowde voice, make them well againe'. (49) In 1683, Thomas Munck noted that the Gaelic-Irish inhabitants of Kildare protected their children from the evil eye by spitting in their faces. (50)

Belief in fairies, in particular their propensity to interrupt food production or harm humans and livestock, was a central part of the mental world of early modern Irish people, surviving in rural areas up until the twentieth century. (51) For example, in late 1678, in County Wicklow, Dr John Moore, an erstwhile London schoolmaster and recent purchaser of a local estate, was widely believed to have been abducted by a group of fairies on horseback, taken to a fairy fort and then to a feast in the woods. He was returned unharmed the next morning, believing he had been abducted because he had broken the fairy rule of speaking openly about an earlier abduction. (52) The Church of Ireland clergyman, and correspondent to the Dublin Philosophical Society, Rev. John Keogh noted in a letter of 1683 that a small, brittle, white 'fairy dart' or 'elf-shot', 'having some resemblance to flint' and possessing very small 'studs or prickles' on the edges, was produced by one of his Gaelic-Irish neighbours in County Roscommon, as 'proof of the power fairies have to strike man or beast with some occult wound or distemper'. (53) He went on to describe a woman who 'some years agoe' having a cow that died, gave its meat to the poor who, upon eating, found it to contain 'a piece of fairy dart'. The old woman in question was said to have kept the dart, claiming it contained medicinal and healing virtues. (54) 'Elf-bolts' or 'fairy arrows' can also be found in early modern Scotland and were believed to induce sickness and death in animals. They were often used as protective or curative devices when discovered. (55)

In Gaelic-Irish culture, cunning-folk, along with specific rituals and magical protective devices, were often used to counter fairy attacks. Amulets made of mistletoe and mountain ash were used to prevent attacks on cattle, while baptism and the dressing of male children in female clothing prevented healthy offspring being replaced by sickly 'changelings'. Other preventative measures included the avoidance of reported fairy dwellings, and the throwing of iron implements in the air, a practice adopted in the west of Ireland, along with bonfire leaping. (56) In the late sixteenth century, Fr Goode noted that human or animal illness caused by fairy malevolence could be cured by the incantations, prayers and saying of the paternoster of a local cunning-woman. (57) A cunning-man in late seventeenth-century County Roscommon diagnosed a cow afflicted by a fairy dart before curing its affliction using a purported magical remedy, which Rev. Keogh reckoned 'to be no other than ragwort'. (58) In early nineteenth-century County Clare, Biddy Early, for a small fee, told fortunes, treated natural diseases, and cured 'fairy stricken' children. (59)

The absence of Gaelic-Irish witchcraft accusations, however, is a necessary rather than a sufficient explanation of Ireland's low prosecution rates, as there was a significant part of the population (in the seventeenth century at least) who did believe in malefic witchcraft and were willing to levy formal accusation, Ulster Protestants. Witchcraft accusations made before this era followed the sporadic sorcery-cum-treason pattern prevalent in late medieval Europe and stemmed from elite political conflict and rivalry. (60) The most notable of these was the prosecution of Dame Alice Kyteler in Kilkenny in 1324, (61) while in 1447 John Mey, archbishop of Armagh, was accused, in a remonstrance from the Houses of Lords and Commons, of practising demonic magic to attack political enemies. (62) In 1571 Sir Barnaby Fitzpatrick, second baron of Ossory and loyal supporter of the English Crown, accused his step-mother, Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, along with several other 'wyches', of trying 'to do me harme and to destroye me'. According to Fitzpatrick, Elizabeth had not only turned his father, Barnaby (Brian) Fitzpatrick, first Baron of Ossory, against him but had been in the 'late rebellion of the Buttlers [1569] ... confederate and assured to the rebels'. (63)

In common with geographically peripheral European countries, witchcraft accusation and prosecution for malefic witchcraft came late to Ireland, in the mid-seventeenth century. It originated in the Anglican and nonconformist Protestant settler communities who arrived in Ireland in increasing numbers from Scotland and England. (64) More likely to be informed by learned demon-ology, their religious leaders were more concerned with the demonic and theological aspects of witchcraft, and with making the customary connection between it and popular magic, than with its tangible effects. (65)

The mid-seventeenth century may have been the high point of accusation for malefic witchcraft but, in common with early modern England, (66) the majority of these cases failed to reach court for a number of reasons. For example, accusers died before a suspect could be named, examined and indicted. Sir James Ware noted that on 4 October 1630 John Cave of Dublin 'suddenly d'parted this life' after four days of 'being possessed with a conceit that he could not drink', stating before he died that 'hee was bewitched by a woman at Powerscourt'. (67) Victims of witchcraft were sometimes at a loss as to who was responsible. In March 1668 Thomas Jervis noted that 'there was never such a loss of cattle for many years, many dying fat and no one knowing their distemper. Tom Corbett's are all dead, cutting two inches of fat upon the brisket, so that no man can persuade him but that his were bewitched.' (68) In 1672 neigh-bours suspected that James Shaw, the Scottish-born Presbyterian minister of Carnmoney, County Antrim, and his wife had been killed by the 'sorcery of some witches in the parish' who were never identified. (69)

At other times, accusers were persuaded to drop their charges by the accused. This may have been the case, for example, with the Cork woman Barbara Blaugdon, a Quaker, who in the 1650s narrowly escaped being murdered by an angry mob by means of a butcher's knife. (70) Some 'victims' even learnt to live with their bewitchment. According to a petition for divorce lodged at the consistory court of Killaloe in 1704 by his wife, William Ryan circumvented (as opposed to remedying) his impotency by taking 'himself to the whore whom he declared formerly bewitched him'. (71) The breakdown of the normal machinery of prosecution during the bitter confederate wars of the 1640s saw suspected witches in County Antrim languish in jail without trial. Arthur Annesley and William Beale, based in Belfast, reported in January 1646 that there was 'no course settled for trial of felons, witches and other malefactors' by assize judges, which apparently put 'the country to unnecessary charge for prisoners'. (72)

If serendipity, informal arbitration and legal dislocation played a role in keeping prosecution rates low, the activities of local magistrates played a greater one. In both Ireland and England, JPs were drawn from the lesser gentry, represented the bottom level of the judiciary, and were central agents of local law enforcement and county administration. They screened initial witchcraft accusations, examined and committed suspected witches to jail, and gathered, examined and prepared evidence and witness statements for grand juries to consider. The grand jury, composed of minor gentry, then decided whether or not the case should proceed to trial. (73)

In England, the majority of witchcraft trials took place in twice-yearly assize courts before senior, experienced Westminster judges, who were culturally and socially distanced from the malice and local tensions usually surrounding witchcraft prosecution. Importantly, they were aware of what constituted sufficient proof for witchcraft and were able to direct the male petty jury (in whose hands conviction or acquittal ultimately lay) on these matters when they summed-up proceedings at the end of the trial. The decisive influence of these men, coupled with an often expensive trial process, and the fact that JPs and grand jurymen, being broadly in line with educated opinion, were acutely aware of the evidential problems involved in adequately proving the crime of witchcraft and therefore unlikely to take witchcraft accusations lightly, kept prosecution and indictment rates relatively low in Elizabethan and early Stuart England. (74) Despite a spike in witchcraft prosecution in 1645-47 due to the activities of witch-finders Matthew Hopkins and John Stearne, the Restoration era produced judiciaries culturally distanced from victims and accusers, and so cautious and sceptical in their handling of the evidence brought before them that witchcraft prosecution, trials and convictions fell away to nothing. (75)

Judicial scepticism, along with increased control of trials by central government, and a reduction in the use of torture to extract confessions, saw a fall in numbers of trials and executions, a rise in acquittal rates and an end to mass witch 'panics' in seventeenth and eighteenth-century Europe, albeit at different times and varying rates of decline. (76) Before this time, witch-hunting in Scotland was a local affair, with kirk sessions, burgh magistrates and sheriffs responsible for official identification of witches and initial investigations into the veracity of accusations. Most trials were held in Lowland local courts (under commission after 1597 from the Privy Council in Edinburgh), before an assize or jury of legally untrained local magistrates, parish elders and lairds. These men struggled with impartiality and objectivity to such an extent that in 90 per cent of the cases that came before them they returned a guilty verdict. Along with the use of extra-legal torture to gain confessions and the absence of a grand jury, the local aspect of Scottish witch-hunting explains its comparative ferocity, as well as how individual trials became mass witch-hunts. (77)

Due to the loss of legal records, from depositions noted by magistrates to presentment, indictments and jail delivery books, it is extremely difficult to discern how Irish courts handled felony cases before the mid-eighteenth century. (78) The scant surviving evidence, however, suggests there was never much enthusiasm for prosecuting witches among those who controlled the machinery of prosecution, especially during the period when accustations elsewhere were in decline. In September 1640, the English Catholic Katherine Manners, widow of the murdered George Villiers, duke of Buckingham, and new wife of Randal McDonnel, second earl of Antrim, declared that she had been bewitched by several poor, presumably Protestant, women living near her main Irish residence of Dunluce Castle, County Antrim. (79) However, it was only when Katherine contacted the Lord Deputy, Sir Christopher Wandesford, that the suspected witches were examined by justices of the peace. Wandesford acquiesced to her demands, believing this would please the Lord-Lieutenant, Sir Thomas Wentworth, earl of Strafford, his cousin and patron, as well as King Charles I. On 4 September 1640 Wandesford wrote to the influential bishop of Derry, John Bramhall, with whom he was on good terms, to instruct him that he was to use 'all possible meanes ... to discover this practyse' of witchcraft, and 'to assist S[i]r Charles Coote and Mr Arther Hill in this disquisition'. 'And to that purpose', Wandesford continued, he had added Bramhall's name 'to the commission of the peace for the countye of Antrym'. (80) However, when this political will was withdrawn, the case was dropped: as 1640 wore on, both Wandesford and Strafford were faced with parliamentary opposition to their administration, which eventually led to the latter's impeachment, arrest and execution in May 1641. (81) In Antrim town in 1698, the inaction of local agents of law enforcement led to the murder of an old woman by a mob who believed she had bewitched a nine-year-old girl. (82)

This apparent indifference was tempered with more active scepticism among other members of the judiciary. In Islandmagee, County Antrim, in 1711, before finally indicting the accused, local constables, clergy and members of the elite carefully tested the victim's claim that her symptoms of demonic possession worsened on the approach of a suspected witch. (83) Furthermore, at least one Irish justice of the peace, in common with his English counterparts in the later seventeenth century, (84) was exercising summary jurisdiction as a way to punish people for witchcraft, satiate popular demand for justice and avoid a trial by jury. In March 1686, Cork merchant Christopher Crofts noted that his son Jack 'to all appearances lay dying' having endured 'a convulsion for eight or nine hours'. While his wife and 'several others' were of 'the opinion that he was bewitched' by 'the old woman, the mother of Nell Welsh', Crofts believed the malady was caused by 'the hand of God'. Despite his misgivings, Crofts had the old woman and her daughter committed to the local bridewell, where the latter was to stay 'some time, because she is with child and therefore cannot be whipped'. (85) The use of such discretionary powers in Ireland was usually limited to religious infractions such as Sabbath-breaking or swearing. (86) It was, however, able to encompass witchcraft because it was an ecclesiastical offence as well as a secular crime, signifying, in elite culture at least, the sin of apostasy.

Irish grand juries were also not above rejecting indictments drafted by justices of the peace. In Charleville, County Cork, in early 1660, Patrick Fitzmaurice, Baron Kerry, petitioned Roger Boyle, first earl of Orrey and President of Munster, to issue a special warrant to have a woman recently acquitted of witchcraft by a grand jury re-arrested and placed in Cork jail for bewitching his wife, Honora. (87) Scepticism even crept into the trial process itself, with one of the judges trying the Islandmagee witches, Anthony Upton, Justice of the Common Pleas, advising the jury not to return a guilty verdict on the strength of the controversial spectral evidence laid before them. (88) The conviction of Marion Fisher, condemned in September 1655 at Carrickfergus Assizes for bewitching to death Alexander Gilbert, was quashed in November 1656, after Sir John Barry, prompted by a petition of the girl's father, re-examined the case. Barry's appeal report stated that Marion showed signs of mental instability (presumably throwing doubt on a previously obtained confession) and that Gilbert had died of natural causes. (89)

Witchcraft prosecutions remained low because the Catholic majority did not make formal accusations of malefic witchcraft, and Protestants did so only late in the century, when sceptical judiciaries were unwilling to prosecute. It remains to be seen, however, whether the Protestant clergy also played a role in the latter development. Although a lack of institutional records makes it impossible to adequately gauge the Church of Ireland's role, fragmentary evidence suggests that its consistory courts, in common with those of the early modern Church of England, (90) did not handle many witchcraft cases, or make an effort to punish them. (91) By the early eighteenth century, civil prosecutions for witchcraft were becoming rare in Scotland and kirk sessions and presbyteries lost their traditional role in identifying witches and investigating accusations prior to indictment and trial. However, these church courts, which presided over the moral discipline of their congregations, continued to sporadically arbitrate witchcraft accusations and suspicions in the form of defamation, cursing and counter-witchcraft cases. (92) Working in a different legal context, it is doubtful if the Presbyterian Church in Ireland could ever have played such a central role in witch-hunting as it did in Scotland. Two rare examples from the mid-seventeenth century, however, suggest that the fledgling Presbyterian Church's ministers and elders were unwilling to turn witchcraft cases over to civil magistrates, preferring to arbitrate them themselves. (93) Furthermore, later in the century, various sessions and presbyteries preferred to turn witchcraft accusations into slander cases or chastise the accuser for some other moral infraction.

In July 1718, Sarah Osburn was brought before the Donaghedy Session in County Tyrone, accused by elder John Love of 'charming' to effect 'a very great bodily injury' on him. In the first instance the Session, followed by the Strabane Presbytery, found 'Love's behaviour towards the woman ... scandalous', and he was duly suspended from office until 'there appear in him visible marks of his repentance'. It was also noted that Osburn refused to pray for the recovery of Love, and at the next meeting of the Presbytery, on 13 August 1718, it was decided that if her conduct raised any more concern the Donaghedy Session was free to ask the Presbytery for advice as to a suitable course of action. The ruling did little to resolve the situation and the conflict rumbled on for a year until the Presbytery decided to absolve both parties of blame to allow Love and Osburn 'to agree and forgive one another'. After considering further accusations and witness statements brought by both parties, it ruled Osburn was to be declared 'innocent from the pulpit' and Love freed from his current censure. (94) In April 1721, at Carnmoney Session, Margaret Williamson stated that 'Mary Coruth had branded her with witchcraft and that she can prove that she said so'. Aware that the would-be slanderer was of 'good report', the Session agreed to let an elder, John McMahon, interview her and inform the Session of his findings at the next meeting. (95) The meeting must have reported in Coruth's favour, for the matter was later dropped by the Session.

Ten years later, a woman identified only by her forename, Agnes, complained to the same Session 'that Sam[ue]ll Dawson had difam'd her in calling her a witch'. Dawson assured the Session that he had called her no such thing but 'had a cow that ... lost her milck and upon using some means to recover it ... by the instruction of J[o]hn Laird, Agnes came to his house in a very great haste and said that her ears were burning out of her head'. (96) In other words, Dawson had used a counter spell supplied by cunning-man Laird to detect the source of his cows' bewitchment, which in this case was Agnes. Once again, it seems the case was dropped by the Carnmoney Session. This may have been because both parties would have been regarded by the Session as moral transgressors: Agnes for wrongfully accusing Dawson of slander and Dawson for employing the services of a cunning person. Although popular magic was illegal in Ireland and most European countries (usually under the same laws as harmful witchcraft), it was nonetheless ecclesiastical authorities, using the apparatus of church courts, who were most active in its suppression. (97) Surviving Presbyterian session and presbytery records certainly attest to the fact the Church 'policed' cunning-folk (98) and conjurors of 'evil' spirits. (99)

As Presbyterian records survive in uneven numbers, it is possible that the arbitration of witchcraft disputes in this way by the Church was even more widespread than suggested here, helping to channel accusations away from civil magistrates and discouraging future accusations by censuring 'slanderers'. It may have even helped prevent vigilante action in an era when judiciaries were unwilling to prosecute witches. In late seventeenth and early eighteenth- century England, a lack of ecclesiastical intervention, high judicial scepticism and official inaction ensured that popular fear of witches frequently exploded in acts of communal justice against suspects. As Scottish kirks continued to investigate witchcraft accusation and suspicion up until the mid-eighteenth century, acts of witchcraft-associated vigilante violence were infrequent. (100)

If these clerical and legal checks and balances kept prosecution rates for witchcraft low in Protestant Ireland, while popular fear of malefic witches remained constant, and accusation relatively commonplace, there were nonetheless occasions when they failed to operate. Using cases identified by Seymour in Irish Witchcraft and Demonology, Lapoint stated that in early modern Ireland women were prosecuted for witchcraft on nine occasions, which resulted in three executions. (101) These calculations, however, require adjustment as Seymour detailed six trials and five executions, namely: Dame Alice Kyteler and associates, Kilkenny, 1324 (execution of Petronella de Midia); 'two witches', Kilkenny, 1578 (both executed); Anglican minister, John Aston of Mellifont, County Louth, 1606; Florence Newton, 1661 (executed); anonymous witch, Antrim, 1698 (executed); and eight women at Islandmagee in 1711. (102)

Seymour's calculations also require re-evaluation as he excluded the conviction of Marion Fisher in 1655, and the Kyteler trial occurred in the medieval not the early modern period. Furthermore, the 1698 execution was in fact a case of illegal summary justice, (103) and Aston was prosecuted not for witchcraft but for conjuring spirits to locate stolen goods, buried treasure and the whereabouts of the rebel earl of Tyrone. (104) In total then, there were four recorded trials for witchcraft in early modern Ireland, resulting in three executions. Little is known about the conviction of Fisher in 1655 beyond that related above, and almost nothing about the accusation and trial of the 'two witches' executed in Kilkenny in November 1578. (105) Consequently, it is to the more richly documented 1661 and 1711 cases we must turn to ascertain why these accusations in particular were played out in open court in front of the judges of the assize, when so many others were handled at a local level by clergy and magistrates.

In late March 1661, in the English settler port town of Youghal, County Cork, which at that time contained just over 2,300 inhabitants, Florence Newton was arrested and committed to prison for bewitching Mary Longdon, a literate, young servant to local gentleman John Pyne. Although the initial accusation fits the charity-refused model, it soon transformed into a classic demonic possession, ending in the bewitching to death of Newton's jailor, David Jones. (106) Newton was convicted at the Cork Assizes on 11 September 1661, and, it is generally assumed, executed shortly afterwards. (107)

In common with the anonymous victim at the centre of the 1698 case, (108) Longdon was a typical demoniac, displaying a range of symptoms readily recognisable by early modern Europeans, irrespective of social status: (109) paranormal strength; fits and trances (during which Longdon claimed to have been attacked in spectral form by Newton); the vomiting of household objects such as pins, needles, wool and straw; and an adverse reaction to the bible. (110) Even when demonic possession was accepted in principle, particular instances of it were often hotly disputed, as a range of alternative explanations were available: from deliberate imposture to natural illness or demonically wrought hallucination or illusion. Physicians and cunning-folk were often called upon to help steer prosecutors along the correct explanatory pathway. (111)

In the narrative account of the Newton trial, Longdon's possession is explained solely in terms of witchcraft. Furthermore a charm (typical of those employed by English cunning-folk to diagnose witchcraft and detect its origin) used by Edward Perry and Nicholas Pyne, who were aspiring members of Youghal's political elite, served to confirm Longdon's accusation. (112) If we are to reject the possibility that Longdon was actually possessed, and preclude an explanation based on categories of modern psychiatry, (113) on the grounds that the evidence available does not allow us to accurately diagnose mental illness 350 years after the fact, the most compelling explanation is deliberate imposture. This is not to suggest that Longdon was merely play-acting, as it is difficult in this case, as it is in all possession cases, to separate non-simulated from simulated behaviour, involuntarily acts from premeditated theatrics. (114)

In contrast to Europe, most British demoniacs were young and the majority blamed their possession on maleficia rather than direct satanic intervention. As the latter was associated with divine punishment for sin and moral transgression, and the former with 'victimhood', this is perhaps unsurprising. More importantly, possession allowed children to move from the margins of adult attention, in both private and public spheres, directly into the centre. It enabled them to subvert, without consequence, adult authority and the cultural constraints it imposed on their actions and speech, as well as overturn the strict age hierarchy and accuse and endanger their elders almost at will. (115)

Peter Elmer has suggested that accusations of witchcraft were more likely to arise and be taken seriously by judges and magistrates in communities where elite fear of the devil's powers was heightened, when 'their sense of religious and political order was currently under threat', or at times of 'actual polarisation and strife'. (116) Religious and political tension was palpable in Restoration Youghal, for which the appearance of a witch provided an explanation and outlet. Many of those involved with Newton's investigation, prosecution and trial (healer and justice of the peace Valentine Greatrakes, Perry, Pyne, and mayor Richard Mayre) were particularly affected by these tensions, as they formed part of a community of godly families who had allied themselves with the Cromwellian regime. If the re-establishment of the Church of Ireland in 1660 was not bad enough, they lived in fear of 'sectarian subversion' by the town's Baptists, Ranters and Quakers, as well as of encroachment on their political and economic power by the seemingly ascendant local Catholic population. (117)

Unlike many English witchcraft cases, (118) there was, beyond that of Longdon herself, little female involvement in the legal process against Newton, either in collecting or giving evidence. Newton's prosecution, in other words, was left in the hands of local male elites. Even if the gender persecution model, which portrays witchcraft accusation and prosecution as sex specific, (119) is regarded as simplistic, especially in its portrayal of early modern women as subjugated, dependent and unassertive, (120) those who displayed behaviour considered socially unacceptable for women were nevertheless more susceptible to charges of witchcraft. (121) Newton fell into this category because she bewitched her victims by kissing them, an act which embodied the social anathema of unregulated female touch. (122) Reputation also played a part in convincing local elites of Newton's guilt. This was largely because in insular, close-knit, communities the reputation of both individuals and households was all-important, and when misfortune occurred past acts of witchcraft were recalled to inform the current situation. In practice, this meant those with a reputation for witchcraft, or who belonged to a family of reputed witches, had a higher probability of facing prosecution. (123) When investigating the bewitchment of Longdon, Mayor Mayre stated that 'three aldermen in Youghall' informed him that Newton had kissed their children and that they had 'died presently after'. (124)

Longdon's accusation that Newton had occasioned her demonic possession by means of witchcraft was rooted in inter-personal conflict as well as the social tensions created by the restrictive bonds placed on children and adolescents at that time. The charge was taken seriously by the local elite because it was levied by a believable witness, who ensured the momentum of the accusation was maintained throughout the various legal obstacles it had to negotiate before trial. Furthermore, it occurred at a time of political crisis and heightened fear of the devil, and was levied against a woman who not only had a reputation for witchcraft, but flouted gender-based cultural and social conventions. A similar mechanism can be used to explain why numerous women were prosecuted and convicted at Carrickfergus Assizes in March 1711 for the possession of Mary Dunbar, an intelligent, good-looking and educated gentlewoman of eighteen.

In late February 1711, Mrs Ann Hartridge was staying in the house of her son James, in the small, rural and Presbyterian peninsula of Islandmagee when she died of inexplicable, stabbing pains in her back. (125) For months before his mother's death, James Hartridge's household had been tormented by a series of supernatural disturbances and demonic apparitions. It is thus unsurprising that the local community, which contained around three hundred people, (126) attributed Ann's death to witchcraft, albeit of an undetermined source. After her funeral, Ann's daughter and niece Mary Dunbar arrived from nearby Castlereagh, County Antrim, to keep James's wife (the young Mrs Hartridge) company while her husband was in Dublin. Upon Mary's arrival the supernatural disturbances began to shake the household once more, and she began to display almost identical symptoms to the victims in the 1661 and 1698 cases. During the following weeks, Dunbar identified eight Presbyterian women she claimed were responsible, and on 31 March 1711 at Carrickfergus Assizes they were convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to one year imprisonment and four stints in the pillory on market day. (127)

In common with Longdon and the Antrim girl in 1698, (128) no physical explanation was proffered at the time for Dunbar's symptoms by members of the medical profession, and given her age and marginal position within the Hartridge household, as well as the wider Islandmagee community, it is highly likely that Dunbar faked her possession for much the same reasons as Mary Longdon. 'An absolute stranger' to Islandmagee, who had not been within 'fifteen miles of the place before'. (129) Dunbar deposed to have never met the accused before they were brought to her in the form of a crude 'identity parade'. As Dunbar claimed to be able to identify and in some cases name her tormentors because of their spectral attacks on her body, the 'parade' was a way to test her story and observe whether she would react physically to their 'blind' approach, a test Dunbar inexplicably passed on numerous occasions. (130) This blind test had legal precedent, being used by Sir Matthew Hale during the infamous trial of Rose Cullender and Amy Duny at Norwich Assizes in March 1662 to allay fears that the fits and convulsions of the youthful demoniac accusers were elaborate theatrics. (131)

The identity parade was initiated by the first investigators of Dunbar's accusation, Presbyterian minister of Islandmagee, Robert Sinclair and Church of Ireland curate David Robb. So convinced were these men, along with members of the Hartridge household and the local 'neighbourhood', by the outcome of the test that they forewent any involvement of their respective clerical hierarchies or church courts and immediately passed the case to the civil authorities. (132) Under the direction of the Whig, dissenting mayor of Carrickfergus, Edward Clements, constables Bryce Blan of Islandmagee and John Logan of Broad Island, helped by local men John Smith and James Blythe, tracked-down, 'identity paraded' once more, and imprisoned the suspects, to await trial. (133)

Dunbar selected the women in question because they were believable 'witches', in that they variously had reputations for witchcraft, failed to meet accepted standards of female appearance, or were publicly acknowledged to have transgressed accepted moral and behavioural norms for females at that time. This partly explains why local male clerical and legal elites rallied behind Dunbar's accusation and played a prominent role in the pre-trial process. It also explains why so many (mainly Presbyterian) men from Islandmagee and surrounding area gave sworn depositions to Mayor Clements affirming Dunbar's claims, (134) or testified in open court on the day of the trial to the same effect. (135)

A contemporary eye-witness account states that Janet Liston 'had been for a great many years under the repute of witch, and her daughter [Elizabeth Sellor] for some time'. (136) Politician and astronomer Samuel Molyneux informed his guardian and uncle Dr Thomas Molyneux that the 'accused persons' made 'frequent vaunts and threats of their own revenge and power'. (137) William Tisdall, vicar of Belfast and a sceptical observer at the trial, stated that 'the supposed witches were eight in number, six of them with ... [a] variety of ill looks' and 'diabolical appearances'. (138) Catherine McCalmont was commonly regarded as 'ignorant, irreligious, [and] of an ill fame', and Janet Main as 'an ignorant woman of a malicious temper'. Janet Millar was said to be a 'little woman' with 'dark brown hair', 'one eye sunk in her head', with 'the side of her face drawn together and fingers ... crooked at the ends, having been all occasioned by falling in the fire'. 'Smoking a pipe of tobacco,' James Blythe claimed, she 'fell into a great rage, and cursed and swore horribly' when he informed her that a warrant had been issued to 'parade' her before Dunbar. Meanwhile in her deposition, Dunbar stated that Elizabeth Sellor was small and 'lame of leg'. (139)

It is also highly possible that those Presbyterians involved in the Islandmagee case were aware that other communities in the British Calvinist network had recently been affected by outbreaks of witchcraft involving demonic possession, from the widely publicised cases in Presbyterian central Scotland between 1696 and 1704 to the severe witch-hunting in Congregationalist New England in 1692. Knowledge of such cases could have been transferred to Ireland by the medium of print or culturally by the Scottish economic refugees who poured into Ulster in increasing numbers. It is even conceivable that the educated Dunbar could have learned the 'part' of demoniac by reading published accounts of the Scottish or American trials, or indeed the 1661 or 1698 cases. Early modern English 'impostors', after all, often learnt the 'script' of possession in this manner. (140)

In any case, if we concur with the premise that communities were more likely to believe witchcraft accusation at times of religious and political crisis, then Presbyterian Ulster during the reign of Queen Anne was a prime candidate for an outbreak of witch-hunting. Protestant non-conformists there felt threatened on one side from Catholic insurgency and Jacobite invasion, and on the other from members of the Protestant ascendancy who sought to make Ireland an Anglican 'confessional state'. This latter aim was embodied in the Sacramental Test clause of the 1704 Irish Popery Act, which introduced a de facto ban on Presbyterian local and national office holding. Furthermore, all of this occurred against a backdrop of almost 'total' war with Louis XIV's France and intense party political struggle. High Church Tory polemicists, among whom William Tisdall figured prominently, argued in print that Presbyterians were inherently republican and rebellious and thus posed a serious threat to the Established Church and state in Ireland. These High Church arguments struck a chord with an Anglican elite that felt threatened by the growing strength of Ulster Presbyterianism, in terms both of population and of the extent, cohesion and sophistication of the Presbyterian ecclesiastical structure. Whigs, on the other hand, called for Protestant unity in the face of the common enemy, and questioned the commitment of their Tory rivals to the defence of the Revolution of 1688. (141)

The political situation not only made this particular instance of witchcraft more plausible; the accusation and trial provided party political factions, (142) in the part of north Antrim where Islandmagee lay, with an oppositional platform. (143) By explaining away Dunbar's symptoms in sceptical terms of direct demonic intervention and hallucination, Tisdall could attack head-on the Antrim Presbyterian elite who supported the accusation, in particular the occasional-conforming, Presbyterian Whig faction that dominated Carrickfergus borough corporation and was headed by Mayor Edward Clements. (144) Crucially for Tisdall, his position was shared by one of the two presiding judges in the trial, Tory Justice Anthony Upton. When summing-up the evidence, Upton advised the jury to bring in a not-guilty verdict, informing them that the accused should not be convicted on 'the sole testimony of the afflicted person's visionary images'. (145) This scepticism regarding the validity of spectral evidence was famously displayed by Sir Hale's assistant lawyer during the trial of Duny and Cullender in 1662. (146) The other presiding judge, Whig Justice of the Queen's Bench James MacCartney, instructed the Carrickfergus jury to find the defendants guilty. MacCartney, who in common with Upton was a native of County Antrim, was not only wary of Upton's high-flying motivations, but betrayed an implicit trust of the testimony of the (mainly) Presbyterian deponents of his home county. (147) The Islandmagee trial would prove the last for witchcraft in Ireland. Although the era of witch-hunting in Scotland and England officially ended in 1736 when their respective witchcraft laws were repealed by the Westminster parliament, (148) the Irish statute of 1586 remained law until April 1821, two decades after the dissolution of the Irish parliament. (149)

Prosecution rates for witchcraft were kept low in Ireland because the mass of the Catholic population did not levy accusations of witchcraft. This disinclination was rooted in the fact that older explanatory systems of misfortune, the unintentional evil eye and malevolent fairy attack, inhibited the development of European-style demonic/malefic witchcraft belief. This left behind a more benign variety of witch found to a lesser degree in other Celtic regions of Britain: impersonal and anonymous 'butter witches' who attacked dairy production at certain times of the ritual year and were easily prevented or countered by magical, ritualistic or pseudo-religious means. There was thus little need to seek punishment, protection or retribution from civil magistrates.

It has been argued here that in Protestant, settler Ireland there was a high level of belief in malefic and demonic witchcraft, but that this, contrary to previous readings, manifested itself in significant though sporadic numbers of formal accusation by Protestants, from the mid-seventeenth century onwards. Furthermore, in common with witchcraft accusation elsewhere, these cannot be accounted for by a single explanatory mechanism such as gender conflict or the charity-refused paradigm. Rather, they rather grew out of a variety of interpersonal conflicts, personal attitudes and anxieties, and were often played out against a backdrop of intense political, social and economic disruption, at both a local and national level.

That these accusations did not end in prosecution and possibly conviction at the hands of assize judges was due to the fact that they were levied at a time of high judicial scepticism towards witchcraft, not only in Ireland but in most of continental Europe. Moreover, the intervention of Presbyterian church courts ensured many accusations did not reach the agents of local law enforcement. In doing so these courts immunised the north of Ireland, for the most part, against the type of acts of communal justice experienced in England during the era of declining witchcraft prosecutions. The fact that these courts also censured witchcraft accusers for slander may have made it less attractive to levy accusations without careful consideration. These checks and balances occasionally failed to prevent witchcraft trials. This occurred infrequently, as it required a specific set of circumstances aligning themselves at just the right moment: an accusation of demonic possession, a believable young accuser, socially suspect 'witches', social and political strife, and a general heightened fear of the devil and his works.

Andrew Sneddon University of Ulster

(1) For reading earlier drafts, I am indebted to Professor Owen Davies and Dr Peter Elmer.

(2) See below, pp. 16-17.

(3) Trinity College, Dublin (herafter TCD), Archbishop King papers, MS 1995-2008/300, King to Cotton Mather [?], 3 October 1693; Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (hereafter PRONI), T/415/12, William Laud to John Bramhall, 1637/8; TCD, MS 883/1, Commonplace book relating to the natural history of Ireland, c. 1683, p. 297.

(4) The last person to be executed in England was in 1685 in Exeter, while the last conviction occurred in Hertfordshire in 1712.

(5) William Monter, 'Re-contextualizing British Witchcraft', Journal of Interdisciplinary History,

35:1 (2004), 106; Malcolm Gaskill, Crime and Mentalities in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 2002), p. 79n.

(6) The Survey of Scottish witchcraft, http://www.shc.ed.ac.uk/Research/witches/; Brian P. Levack, Witch-hunting in Scotland: Law, Politics and Religion (Abingdon, 2008), pp. 1-2.

(7) Elwyn C. Lapoint, 'Irish Immunity to Witch-Hunting, 1534-1711', Eire Ireland, 27 (1992), 79, 81-2; Raymond Gillespie, 'Women and Crime in Seventeenth-Century Ireland', in Margaret MacCurtain and Mary O'Dowd (eds), Women in Early Modern Ireland (Oxford, 1998), pp. 45-7.

(8) Bengt Ankarloo and Gustuv Henningsen (eds), Early Modern European Witchcraft: Centres and Peripheries (Oxford, 1990, repr. 2001), p. 440; Levack, Witch-hunting in Scotland, p. 7; James Sharpe, Instruments of Darkness: Witchcraft in Early Modern England (Philadelphia, 1996, repr. 1997), chap. 1-2; for a discussion of the problems associated with the division of culture into popular and elite traditions, see Pieter Spierenburg, The Broken Spell: A Cultural and Anthropological History of Pre-Industrial Europe (New Brunswick, 1991), pp. 49-59, and Barry Reay, Popular Culture in England, 1550-1750 (London, 1998), pp. 115-19.

(9) An Act Against Conjurations, Enchantments, and Witchcrafts, 5 Eliz. I, c.16 [Eng.] (1563); An Act Against Witchcraft and Sorcerie, 28 Eliz. I, c.2 [Ire.] (1586); Victor Treadwell, 'Sir John Perrot and the Irish Parliament of 1585-6', Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy (hereafter PRIA), 85C (1985), 229-301.

(10) Neal Garnham, 'How Violent was Eighteenth-Century Ireland?', Irish Historical Studies, 30:119 (1997), 388; Neal Garnham, 'The Criminal Law 1692-1760: England and Ireland Compared', in S. J. Connolly (ed.), Kingdoms United? Great Britain and Ireland since 1500 (Dublin, 1999), p. 216.

(11) By the 1730s, Roman Catholics made up around 80 per cent of the estimated 2.5 million people in Ireland. The population had grown by around 25 per cent in the previous 50 years, and their majority status was felt everywhere outside Protestant Ulster, especially in non-urban areas. See S. J. Connolly, Religion, Law and Power: The Making of Protestant Ireland, 1660-1760 (Oxford, 1992), pp. 43, 145-7.

(12) Lapoint, 'Irish Immunity to Witch-Hunting', 76-92.

(13) Raymond Gillespie, 'Ireland', in Richard M. Golden (ed.), Encyclopaedia of Witchcraft: The Western Tradition (4 vols, Denver and Oxford, 2007), II, p. 568.

(14) Gillespie, 'Women and Crime', pp. 43-7; Gillespie, 'Ireland', p. 568.

(15) J. Barry, 'Introduction: Keith Thomas and the Problems of Witchcraft', in J. Barry, M. Hester and G. Roberts (eds), Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe: Studies in Culture and Belief (Cambridge, 1996), pp. 8-9. See also Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic (London, 1972), chap. 17; Alan Macfarlane, Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England: A Regional and Comparative Study (London, 1970).

(16) Gaskill, Crime and Mentalities, pp. 34-6, 37-8, 46-9, 55-64; Malcolm Gaskill, 'Witchcraft in Early Modern Kent: Stereotypes and the Background to Accusations', in Barry et al. (eds), Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe, pp. 263-5, 271-6; Sharpe, Instruments of Darkness, p. 169.

(17) Sally Parkin, 'Witchcraft, Women's Honour and Customary Law in Early Modern Wales', Social History, 31:3 (2006), 298-9.

(18) For witchcraft and adolescence, see James Sharpe, 'Disruption in the Well-Ordered Household: Age, Authority and Possessed Young People', in Paul Griffiths, Adam Fox and Steve Hindle (eds), The Experience of Authority in Early Modern England (London, 1996), pp. 187-216; for old age see Edward Bever, 'Old Age and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe', in Peter N. Stearns (ed.), Old Age in Pre-Industrial Europe (New York, 1981), pp. 150-90; Lyndal Roper, Witch-Craze: Terror and Fantasy in Baroque Germany (New Haven, 2004), pp. 160-78. See below for research into reputation (n. 123) and gender (nn. 118-22).

(19) See below, pp. 11-12.

(20) See Christina Larner, Enemies of God: The Witch-hunt in Scotland (Baltimore, MD, 1981).

(21) Stuart MacDonald, 'Enemies of God Re-visited: Recent Publications on Scottish Witchcraft', Scottish Economic and Social History, 23:2 (2003), 76-7; Levack, Witch-hunting in Scotland, chap. 6.

(22) Levack, Witch-hunting in Scotland, pp. 1, 8; Lauren Martin, 'The Devil and the Domestic: Witchcraft, Quarrels and Women's Work in Scotland', in Julian Goodare (ed.), The Scottish Witch-hunt in Context (Manchester, 2002), pp. 74-7, 84-9; James Sharpe, 'Witch-hunting and Witch Historiography: Some Anglo-Scottish Comparisons', in Goodare (ed.), Scottish Witch-hunt in Context, pp. 185-6; Lauren Martin, 'Some Findings from the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft', in Julian Goodare, Lauren Martin and Joyce Miller (eds), Witchcraft and Belief in Early Modern Scotland (Basingstoke, 2008), pp. 59-61.

(23) See, Wolfgang Behringer, Witches and Witch-Hunts (Cambridge, 2004), chap. 4; Robin Briggs, Witches and Neighbours: The Social and Cultural Context of Witchcraft (2nd edn, Oxford, 2002), chap. 4-6, 8; Brian P. Levack, The Witch-hunt in Early Modern Europe (3rd edn, Harlow, 2006), chap. 5-6.

(24) For example Ankarloo and Henningsen (eds), Early Modern European Witchcraft, section iii.

(25) Mary McAuliffe, 'Gender, History and Witchcraft in Early Modern Ireland: A Re-Reading of the Florence Newton Trial', in Mary Ann Gialenella Valiulis (ed.), Gender and Power in Irish History (Dublin, 2009), pp. 39-58; Mary McAuliffe, 'From Alice Kyteler to Florence Newton; Witchcraft in Medieval Ireland', History Review, 12 (2001); Gillespie, 'Ireland'.

(26) These works are often based on limited primary source research and are not placed in their wider historiographical context. See Patrick Kennedy, Legends of Irish Witches and Fairies (Dublin, 1976, repr. 1980); Bob Curran, Ireland's Witches: A Bewitched Land (Dublin, 2005); Charles McConnell, The Witches of Islandmagee (Carrickfergus, 2002).

(27) Some useful but passing reference is made to witchcraft in Raymond Gillespie's cross- denominational study of religious belief in early modern Ireland: Devoted People: Belief and Religion in Early Modern Ireland (Manchester, 1997), pp. 40-1, 53, 64-5, 77.

(28) St John D. Seymour, Irish Witchcraft and Demonology (Dublin, 1913). See also, Classon Porter, Witches, Warlocks and Ghosts (Belfast, 1885).

(29) Briggs, Witches and Neighbours, p. 343.

(30) Ronald Hutton, 'The Global Context of the Scottish Witch-hunt', in Goodare (ed.), Scottish Witch-hunt in Context, pp. 31-2; Ronald Hutton, 'Witch-hunting in Celtic Societies', Past and Present, 212 (2011), 60-6; James Sharpe 'Witchcraft in the Early Modern Isle of Man', Cultural and Social History, 4:1 (2007), 9-20.

(31) See, Peter Elmer, 'Towards a Politics of Witchcraft in Early Modern England', in Stuart Clark (ed.), Languages of Witchcraft: Narrative, Ideology and Meaning in Early Modern Culture (Hampshire, 2001), pp. 101-18; Andrew Sneddon, Witchcraft and Whigs: The Life of Bishop Francis Hutchinson (Manchester, 2008), pp. 99, 125; Behringer, Witches and Witch-Hunts, pp. 101-5. For an alternative reading, where it is suggested that there is little evidence for a establishing a causal link between intensity of belief and prosecution rates, see Ian Bostridge, Witchcraft and its Transformations, c. 1650-c. 1750 (Oxford, 1997), p. 36; Stuart Clark, Thinking with Demons: The Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe (Oxford, 1997), pp. vii-viii.

(32) S. J. Connolly, Priests and People in Pre-famine Ireland, 1780-1845 (1982, repr. Dublin, 2001), p. 115.

(33) Hutton, 'Witch-hunting in Celtic Societies', 65.

(34) Gillespie, Devoted People, p. 64.

(35) William Camden, Britain, or A Chorographicall Description of the most Flourishing Kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland ... Written first in Latine by William Camden ... Translated Newly into English by Philemon Holland ... Revised, Amended, and Enlarged ... (London, 1610), p. 146.

(36) PRONI, DIO/1/22/1, Bishop Hutchinson's Commonplace Book, c.1721-30, 'witchcraft' page.

(37) Michael Manning, 'Dr Nicholas Madgett's "Constitutio Ecclesiastica" ', Journal of the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society, 9 (1976), 77.

(38) Connolly, Priests and People, p. 115; National Library of Ireland (hereafter NLI), G 1, 252(1), William Smith O'Brien, Paper on the traditions of the Irish peasantry, 1858; University College Dublin, Irish Folklore Commission Collection, 900, pp. 42-3, Alice Murphy, pupil of Adamstown School, County Wexford, 1938.

(39) Naturally occurring holed pebbles, usually made of flint, hung in loops of string in byres or about the necks of cattle.

(40) Notes on customs in Ireland (R. P. Mahaffy (ed.), Calendar of State Papers Relating to Ireland, 1601-3 (London, 1912), p. 687); Camden, Britain, p. 146; Connolly, Priests and People, p. 117; NLI, G 1, 252(1), Smith O'Brien paper, 1858; G. W. Saunderson, 'Butterwitches and Cow doctors', Ulster Folklife, 7 (1961), 72-3; Manning, ''Dr Madgett''s "Constitutio Ecclesiastica" ', 75; J. G. Dent, 'The Witchstone in Ulster and England', Ulster Folklife, 10 (1964), 46; Diarmaid O Muirithe and Deirdre Nuttall (eds), Folklore of County Wexford (Dublin, 1999), p. 75; Richard Jenkins, 'The Transformation of Biddy Early: From Local Reports of Magical Healing to Globalised New Age Fantasies', Folklore, 118 (2007), 166; Patrick F. Byrne, Witchcraft in Ireland (1969, repr. Dublin, 1973), p. 7.

(41) NLI, G 1, 252(1), Smith O'Brien paper, 1858; Thomas Johnson Westropp, 'Bewitching', Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 5th series, 7 (1902), 265.

(42) See Owen Davies, Witchcraft, Magic and Culture, 1736-1951 (Manchester, 1999), pp. 82-3.

(43) Sharpe, 'Witchcraft in Isle of Man', 14, 16; Hutton, 'Witch-hunting in Celtic Societies', 60, 65.

(44) Richard Suggett, A History of Magic and Witchcraft in Wales (Stroud, 2008), pp. 84, 45-6, 99-100.

(45) Hutton, 'Witch-hunting in Celtic Societies', 59-60; Eva Pocs, 'Evil Eye in Hungary: Belief, Ritual, Incantation', in Jonathan Roper (ed.), Charms and Charming in Europe (Palgrave, 2004), pp. 205-14.

(46) Hutton, 'Witch-hunting in Celtic Societies', 64.

(47) Reginald Scot, The Discoverie of Witchcraft ... (London, 1584, repr. New York, 1972), pp. 36-7. See also Thomas Ady, A Perfect Discovery of Witches ... (London, 1661), p. 104.

(48) Cunning-folk were ubiquitous, commercial magical practitioners who provided a range of services (love magic, fortune telling, thief detection, the finding of hidden treasure and lost or stolen property, as well as protection against and detection of witchcraft), using an array of tools, such as palmistry, horoscopes, astrological charts, almanacs, divination and spirit conjuration. In some areas, they provided cures for a number of natural (as opposed to supernatural) diseases afflicting humans and livestock. Cunning-folk were known by different names all over Europe: in Scotland, charmers, and in Ireland, variously as wise-women, charmers and cow or fairy doctors. To aid comprehension, the all-embracing term 'cunning-folk' will be used in this article. See Owen Davies, Popular Magic: Cunning-Folk in English History (London, 2003, repr. 2007), pp. 67-8, 84-8, 93-111, 163-4; Owen Davies, 'A Comparative Perspective on Scottish Cunning-folk', in Goodare et al. (eds), Witchcraft and Belief in Early Modern Scotland, pp. 187-8, 194-8; Briggs, Witches and Neighbours, pp. 146-60.

(49) Camden, Britain, p. 146; Gillespie, Devoted People, p. 65.

(50) TCD, MS 883/1, Commonplace book, c. 1683, p. 297.

(51) Edward MacLysaght, Irish Life in the Seventeenth-Century (2nd edn, Cork, 1950), p. 177; Ignatius Murphy, The Diocese of Killaloe in the Eighteenth Century (Dublin, 1991), p. 201; Jenkins, 'Biddy Early', 165, 168; Angela Bourke, The Burning of Bridget Cleary (London, 1999); Connolly, Priests and People, pp. 113-14.

(52) John Cother, Strange and Wonderful News from the County of Wicklow in Ireland ... (London, 1678), pp. 1-6.

(53) TCD, MS 883/1, Commonplace book, c. 1683, p. 17.

(54) Ibid.

(55) Hugh Cheape, 'Charms Against Witchcraft: Magic and Mischief in Museum Collections', in Goodare et al. (eds), Witchcraft and Belief in Early Modern Scotland, pp. 230-1. See also Alaric Hall, 'Getting Shot of Elves: Healing, Witchcraft and Fairies in the Scottish Witchcraft Trials', Folklore, 116 (2005), 19-36.

(56) Henry Mackle, 'Fairies and Leprechauns', Ulster Folklife, 10 (1964), 51-4; MacLysaght, Irish Life, pp. 177-8; Gillespie, Devoted People, pp. 50-1, 65, 109, 112.

(57) Camden, Britain, p. 147.

(58) TCD, MS 883/1, Commonplace book, 1683, p. 16.

(59) Jenkins, 'Biddy Early', 167-9. For other nineteenth-century cunning-folk see Connolly, Priests and People, pp. 115-16, 118.

(60) Richard Kieckhefer, European Witch Trials: Their Foundations in Popular and Learned Culture, 1300-1500 (London, 1976), pp. 10-16; Sharpe, Instruments of Darkness, p. 42.

(61) Anne Neary, 'The Origins and Character of the Kilkenny Witchcraft Case of 1324', PRIA, 83C (1983), 333-50.

(62) Seymour, Irish Witchcraft and Demonology, pp. 33-4.

(63) Bodleian Library, Oxford, Carte MS 57, fos 32r-33r, Sir Barnaby Fitzpatrick to [?], 4 May 1571.

(64) Christina Larner, Witchcraft and Religion: The Politics of Popular Belief, ed. A. Macfarlane (Oxford, 1984), p. 4; Richard Suggett, 'Witchcraft Dynamics in Early Modern Wales', in Michael Roberts and Simone Clarke (eds), Women and Gender in Early Modern Wales (Cardiff, 2000), p. 75; Levack, Witch-hunting in Scotland, pp. 127-8.

(65) TCD, MS 1995-2008/300, King to Mather [?], 3 October 1693; Thomas McCrie (ed.), The Life of Mr Robert Blair, Minister of St. Andrews, Containing his Autobiography, from 1593 to 1636 ... (Edinburgh, 1848), p. 89; Ezekiel Hopkins, The Works of the Right Reverend and Learned Ezekiel Hopkins, Late Lord Bishop of Derry in Ireland ... (3rd edn, London, 1710), pp. 105, 605; William Tisdall, 'Account of the Trial of Eight Reputed Witches, 4 April 1711', Hibernian Magazine (1775), p. 50; Stuart Clark, 'Satanic Libraries: Marsh's Witchcraft Books', in Muriel McCarthy and Ann Simmons (eds), The Making of Marsh's Library: Learning, Politics and Religion in Ireland, 1650-1750 (Dublin, 2004), p. 115; Clark, Thinking with Demons, pp. 461-4.

(66) Davies, Witchcraft, Magic and Culture, p. 80.

(67) Dublin City Archives, Gilbert Ms 169, ii, fo. 204, Copy of MS containing collections of Sir James Ware, 4 October 1630.

(68) Thomas Jervis to Humphrey Owen, Dublin, 21 March 1667/8 (W. J. Smith (ed.), Herbert Correspondence: The Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century Letters of the Herberts of Chirbury (Dublin, 1963)).

(69) W. D. Killen (ed.), A True Narrative of the Rise and Progress of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, by the Rev Patrick Adair, 1623-70 (Belfast, 1866), pp. 299-300.

(70) Crawford Gribben, God's Irishmen: Theological Debates in Cromwellian Ireland (Oxford, 2007), p. 140.

(71) British Library (hereafter BL), Add. MS 31881, fo. 150r, Diocese of Killaloe Court Book, 10 August 1704.

(72) Arthur Annesley and William Beale, to the committee of both houses, Belfast, 12 January 1645/6 (Charles McNeil (ed.), The Tanner Letters: Original Documents and Notices of Irish Affairs in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Dublin, 1943), p. 206).

(73) Davies, Witchcraft, Magic and Culture, pp. 81-4; Neal Garnham, The Courts, Crime and the Criminal Law in Ireland 1692-1760 (Dublin, 1996), pp. 32-3; Sharpe, Instruments of Darkness, pp. 216-17; James Sharpe, Crime in Early Modern England, 1550-1750 (2nd edn, Edinburgh, 1999), pp. 40-2, 54-6.

(74) James Sharpe, Witchcraft in Early Modern England (Edinburgh, 2001), pp. 24-31; Levack, Witch-hunting in Scotland, p. 27; Malcolm Gaskill, 'Witchcraft and Evidence in Early Modern England', Past and Present, 198 (2008), 39-45; Sharpe, Instruments of Darkness, pp. 57, 233; J. A. Sharpe, The Bewitching of Anne Gunter (London, 2001), p. 71; Garnham, Courts, Crime and the Criminal Law, p. 246.

(75) Sharpe, Instruments of Darkness, pp. 128-46, 215-16, 227-34; Davies, Witchcraft, Magic and Culture, pp. 79-84.

(76) Brian P. Levack, 'The Decline and End of Scottish Witch-Hunting', in Goodare (ed.), Scottish Witch-Hunt in Context, pp. 166-81; Levack, Witch-hunt in Early Modern Europe, pp. 253-64.

(77) Levack, Witch-hunting in Scotland, pp. 4, 17-30, 135-9.

(78) Sharpe, Crime in England, pp. 50-6; Neal Garnham, 'Local Elite Creation in Early Hanoverian Ireland: The Case of the County Grand Juries', Historical Journal, 42:3 (1999), 624.

(79) Huntington Library, San Marino, California, Hastings Collection, Irish papers, HA 15969, p. 6, Christopher Wandesford to [John Bramhall], 4 September 1640; Jane H. Olmeyer, Civil War and Restoration in the Three Stuart Kingdoms: The Career of Randal Macdonnell, Marquis of Antrim, 1609-1683 (Cambridge, 1993), pp. 29-30, 49, 75-6, 195; M. O'Cathain, 'Witchcraft in Ulster 1608-1731', unpublished research paper, University of Ulster, 2006.

(80) Huntington Library, HA 15969, Wandesford to Bramhall, 4 September 1640.

(81) S. J. Connolly, Divided Kingdom: Ireland 1630-1800 (Oxford, 2008), pp. 24-31.

(82) Andrew Sneddon, Witchcraft and Magic in Ireland, 1586-1949 (London, forthcoming), chap. 2. See also Daniel Higgs, The Wonderfull and True Relation of the Bewitching a Young Girle in Ireland (Dublin[?], 1699), p. 7. Higgs's work is the only known published pamphlet dedicated solely to an Irish witchcraft trial and is generally but erroneously believed to be no longer extant: see Levack, Witch-hunting in Scotland, p. 189n.

(83) See below, pp. 20-24.

(84) Davies, Witchcraft, Magic and Culture, p. 82.

(85) Christopher Crofts to Sir John Perceval, 15 March 1685/6 (Historical Manuscripts Commission, Egmont Manuscripts (2 vols, Dublin, 1909), II, 181-2); Gillespie, Devoted People, p. 65.

(86) Garnham, Courts, Crime and the Criminal Law, p. 104.

(87) BL, Sloane MS 4227, fo. 81r, 'Ms of Morrice's Memoirs of Roger Boyle, first earl of Orrery', c. 1657-59. Thanks to Dr Peter Elmer for providing this reference. See also n. 118 below.

(88) See below, pp. 23-24.

(89) Allen Library, Dublin, Jennings MS J2/Box 263, item 14, Transcript of Commonwealth papers, 9 February, 15 November 1656.

(90) Owen Davies, 'Decriminalising the Witch: The Origin and Response to the 1736 Witchcraft Act', in Jo Bath and John Newton (eds), Witchcraft and the Act of 1604 (Leiden, 2008), p. 209.

(91) See PRONI, DIO/1/22/1, Bishop Hutchinson's Commonplace Book,'witchcraft' page: 'Smith a diss[ente]r, rich, vomit[e]d straw Ampersand bound to the A[rch]b[isho]p'; BL, Add. MS 31881, fo. 150r, Killaloe Court Book, 10 August 1704.

(92) Julian Goodare, 'Witch-hunting and the Scottish State', in Goodare (ed.), Scottish Witch-hunt in Context, p. 139; Davies, 'Decriminalising the Witch', pp. 209-10.

(93) PRONI, CR4/12/B/1, p. 23, Templepatrick Session Minutes, 27 July 1647; PRONI, D/1759/1/A/1, pp. 93-4, Antrim Presbytery Minutes, 14 February 1655/6. Although the Presbyterian Church in Ireland officially separated from the Church of Ireland in the 1640s, it was only in the very late seventeenth and early eighteenth century that its congregations increased dramatically due to immigration and it became a highly organised ecclesiastical institution, consisting of the Ulster Synod and various presbyteries and sessions. See Connolly, Religion, Law and Power, pp. 43, 145-7, 167.

(94) Union Theological College, Belfast, CR 3/26/2/1, pp. 35, 36, 42, 88, Strabane Presbytery Minutes, 2 July, 13 August 1718, 4 March 1718/19.

(95) PRONI, MIC 1P/37/4, Carnmoney Session Minutes, 5 April 1721.

(96) Ibid., 24 October 1731.

(97) An Act Against Witchcraft and Sorcerie, 28 Eliz. I, c.2 [Ire.] (1586); Goodare, 'Introduction', in Goodare (ed.), Scottish Witch-hunt in Context, pp. 4-6; Joyce Millar, 'Devices and Directions: Folk Healing Aspects of Witchcraft Practice in Seventeenth-Century Scotland', in Goodare (ed.), Scottish Witch-hunt in Context, pp. 91, 104; Davies, Popular Magic, pp. 9, 14-17, 164-8; Davies, 'Scottish Cunning-folk', pp. 191-2. For similar clerical opposition to popular magic in seventeenth-century New England, see Richard Godbeer, The Devil's Dominion: Magic and Religion in Early Modern New England (Cambridge, 1992, repr. 2002), pp. 60-6, 69-74, 81-84.

(98) PRONI, D1759/1/A/2, p. 72, Antrim Presbytery Minutes, 5 February 1672/3; Presbyterian Historical Society, Belfast, Aghadowey Session Minutes, 1701-65: 8, 25 April, 9 May 1703; PRONI, MIC 1P/37/4, Carnmoney Session Minutes, 1 August 1703.

(99) PRONI, D1759/1/A/2, p. 54, Antrim Presbytery Minutes, 3 September 1672; George Hill (ed.), The Montgomery Manuscripts, 1603-1706: Compiled from Family Papers (2 vols, Belfast, 1869), I, p. 205 n. 38; Seymour, Irish Witchcraft and Demonology, pp. 48-9.

(100) Davies, 'Decriminalising the Witch', pp. 209-13.

(101) Lapoint, 'Irish Immunity to Witch-Hunting', 77 n. 4. For a discussion of vigilante action in Europe, see Levack, Witch-hunt in Early Modern Europe, pp. 74, 289-90.

(102) Seymour, Irish Witchcraft and Demonology, pp. 15-26, 35, 45-6, 61-75, 111-26.

(103) Sneddon, Witchcraft and Magic in Ireland, chap. 2.

(104) Seymour, Irish Witchcraft and Demonology, p. 46.

(105) See Sir William Drury and Sir Edward Fitton to the English Privy Council, 20 November 1578 (Calendar of Carew Manuscripts (6 vols, London, 1867-73), II, p. 144).

(106) Jospeh Glanvill, Saducismus Triumphatus: or Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions (3rd edn, London, 1689), pp. 372-3, 377-8, 384-5.

(107) Seymour, Irish Witchcraft and Demonology, p. 73.

(108) Higgs, Wonderfull and True Relation, pp. 6-7, 9-12.

(109) Levack, Witch-hunting in Scotland, pp. 117-18; Phillip C. Almond, Demonic Possession and Exorcism in Early Modern England: Contemporary Texts and their Cultural Contexts (Cambridge, 2004), pp. 27-37; Andrew Cambers, 'Demonic Possession, Literacy and "Superstition" in Early Modern England', Past and Present, 202 (2009), 13-14; Clark, Thinking with Demons, p. 391.

(110) Glanvill, Saducismus Triumphatus, pp. 372-86.

(111) Almond, Demonic Possession, pp. 1-8; Davies, Popular Magic, pp. 105-7; Sharpe, Anne Gunter, p. 141; Clark, Thinking with Demons, pp. 390-1.

(112) Glanvill, Saducismus Triumphatus, p. 381.

(113) For an excellent discussion of this historiography, see Clark, Thinking with Demons, pp. 391-3.

(114) Phillip C. Almond, Witches of Warboys: An Extraordinary Story of Sorcery, Sadism and Satanic Possession (London, 2008), pp. 174-6.

(115) Almond, Demonic Possession, pp. 14-15, 22-6; Sharpe, 'Disruption in the Well-Ordered Household', pp. 118-19; Levack, Witch-hunt in Early Modern Europe, pp. 139-40.

(116) Elmer, 'Politics of Witchcraft', p. 104.

(117) Peter Elmer, Valentine Greatrakes (forthcoming), chap. 4. I wish to thank Dr Elmer for allowing me to read sections of this book prior to publication.

(118) See Sharpe, Instruments of Darkness, pp. 173-4, and Clive Holmes, 'Women: Witnesses and Witches', Past and Present, 14 (1993), 45-6.

(119) See Marianne Hester, Lewd Women and Wicked Witches: A Study in the Dynamics of Male Domination (London, 1992), chap.6-8.

(120) Malcolm Gaskill, 'The Devil in the Shape of a Man: Witchcraft, Conflict and Belief in Jacobean England', Historical Research, 71 (1998), 144-5; Malcolm Gaskill, 'Masculinity and Witchcraft in Seventeenth-Century England', in Alison Rowlands (ed.), Witchcraft and Masculinities in Early Modern Europe (Basingstoke, 2009), pp. 171-2; Alison Rowlands, 'Witchcraft and Old Women in Early Modern Germany', Past and Present, 173 (2001), 50-89.

(121) Karen Jones and Michael Zell, ' "The Divels Speciall Instruments": Women and Witchcraft before the "Great Witch-Hunt" ', Social History, 30:1 (2005), 45-63; Frances Timbers, 'Witches' Sect or Prayer Meeting? Matthew Hopkins Revisited', Women's History Review, 17:1 (2008), 21-37.

(122) McAuliffe, 'Gender, History and Witchcraft', pp. 40, 48-54.

(123) Sharpe, Witchcraft in Early Modern England, p. 45; Gaskill, Crime and Mentalities, pp. 57-8;

Rowlands, 'Witchcraft and Old Women', 79-85.

(124) Glanvill, Saducismus Triumphatus, p. 383.

(125) Unless otherwise specified, the following narrative of the Islandmagee witchcraft trial is based on Anon., 'Eye-witness Account of the Islandmagee Witch Trial, 1711', ed. Samuel McSkimmin, in The Islandmagee Witches: A Narrative of the Suffering of a Young Girl Called Mary Dunbar (Belfast, 1822), pp. 2-33; TCD, MS 883/2, pp. 273-85, 'Examinations and Depositions Taken in the Co. Antrim Respecting Witches', March 1711. The names of the convicted were Catherine (Kate) McCalmont, Janet Liston (alias Sellor), Elizabeth Sellor and Janet Carson, all of Islandmagee; Janet Main or Mean of Broadisland; Janet Latimer of Irish Quarter, Carrickfergus; Janet Millar, of Scotch Quarter, Carrickfergus; and Margaret Mitchell of Kilroot.

(126) Dixon Donaldson, Historical, Traditional and Descriptive Account of Islandmagee (1927, repr. Newtonabbey, 2002), p. 42.

(127) The Fly-Post, or the Post Master, 14 April 1711; Porter, Witches, Warlocks and Ghosts, p. 11.

(128) Higgs, Wonderfull and True Relation, pp. 4-5, 8, 13.

(129) 'Eye-Witness Account, 1711', p. 10.

(130) 'Eye-Witness Account, 1711', pp. 8-9, 10-17, 20-3, 26, 28; TCD, MS 883/2, p. 275, Deposition of Mary Dunbar, 12 March 1711.

(131) Sharpe, Instruments of Darkness, pp. 223-6.

(132) 'Eye-Witness Account, 1711', pp. 9-15.

(133) Ibid., pp. 15-17, 20, 22-4, 26, 28.

(134) TCD, MS 883/2, pp. 273-85, 'Examinations and Depositions', March 1711. The witnesses who gave written depositions included 'John Smith of Lairne', 'W[illia]m Fenton of Islandmagee', 'H[ug]h Wilson (Islandmagee)', 'James Blyth of Bank', Co. Antrim, and 'James Hartridge, of Islandmagee, Gent.' The only female deponent was Mary Dunbar.

(135) 'Eye-Witness Account, 1711', p. 32. Witnesses for the prosecution at the trial included James

Blythe, Hugh Wilson, Patrick Adair, Rev. Ogilvie, Charles Lennon, Rev. Skeffington, curate of Larne, James Hartridge, James Hill, James Cobham, Presbyterian minister of Broadisland, and John Smith. The only female witness was young Mrs Hartridge.

(136) 'Eye-Witness Account, 1711', pp. 11, 32.

(137) TCD, MS 889, fo. 31v, Samuel Molyneux to Thomas Molyneux, 14 May 1711.

(138) Tisdall, 'Account of Eight Witches', p. 48.

(139) 'Eye-Witness Account, 1711', pp. 13, 16, 22-3, 11.

(140) Levack, Witch-hunting in Scotland, pp. 115-28; Peter Maxwell-Stuart, 'Witchcraft and Magic in Eighteenth-Century Scotland', in Owen Davies and William De Blecourt (eds), Beyond the Witch-Trials: Witchcraft and Magic in Enlightenment Europe (Manchester, 2004), pp. 84-5; Sharpe, Anne Gunter, pp. 7-8, 62-3; John Putnam Demos, Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England (Oxford, 1982); Carol F. Karlsen, The Devil in the Shape of a Woman (New York, 1987, repr. 1989).

(141) D. W. Hayton, 'Presbyterians and the Confessional State: The Sacramental Test as an Issue in

Irish Politics, 1704-1780', Bulletin of the Proceedings of the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland, 26 (1997), 11-12, 16-18.

(142) For political motivation as an explanatory factor in witchcraft trials, see Annabel Gregory,

'Politics and "Good Neighbourhood" in Early Seventeenth-Century Rye', Past and Present, 113 (1991), 38-66; Peter Elmer, 'Saints and Sorcerers: Quakerism, Demonology and the Decline of Witchcraft in Seventeenth-Century England', in Barry et al. (eds), Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe, pp. 145- 77. For the ideological use of witchcraft by opposing Whig and Tory factions in England, see P. J. Guskin, 'The Context of Witchcraft: The Case of Jane Wenham (1712)', Eighteenth-Century Studies, 15:1 (1981), 48-71; Bostridge, Witchcraft and its Transformations, chap. 5.

(143) Samuel McSkimmin, The History and Antiquities of the County of the Town of Carrickfergus (2nd edn, Belfast, 1823), pp. 75-7; D. W. Hayton, Ruling Ireland 1685-1742: Politics, Politicians and Parties (Woodbridge, 2004), p. 202.

(144) Tisdall, 'Account of Eight Witches', p. 50; Hayton, Ruling Ireland, p. 202.

(145) Tisdall, 'Account of Eight Witches', p. 50.

(146) Sharpe, Instruments of Darkness, pp. 191, 226. For a detailed account of this trial see Gilbert Geis and Ivan Bunn, A Trial of Witches: A Seventeenth-Century Witchcraft Prosecution (London, 1997).

(147) F. E. Ball, The Judges in Ireland, 1221-1921 (2 vols, New York, 1927), II, pp. 17, 23, 51-2, 66-7.

(148) See Ian Bostridge, Witchcraft Repealed, in Brian P. Levack (ed.), New Perspectives on Witchcraft, Magic and Demonology: Witchcraft in the British Isles and New England (New York, 2001), pp. 341-66.

(149) The Times, 8, 24, 29 March, 3, 7 April 1821.
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