Chapter 6D - Hopkins And The East Anglian Witch Craze Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 6D - Hopkins And The East Anglian Witch Craze Deck (24)
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What were Matthew Hopkins and John Stearne motives? What was their influence

-They could charge a fee of as much as £23 from one town which was enormous sum considering their work only took a few days
-MAY have been influenced by religious factors. Protestants chasing out Catholics
-Responsible for deaths of around 400 people which is more than double the amount executed for WC in England in the previous century


What caused the English Civil war? Long answer

-Supreme power was rested in the Monarch but parliament had become more Powerful as they could make and amend laws with the approval of the monarch
-Charles I came to blows with them in late 1620's over his approach to finance and failed military expeditions. He dissolved them in 1629 and ruled alone for 11 years. Recalled them in 1640 in order to persuade them to vote him the funds in order to fight a war with the Scots
-MP's were Puritan but Charles seemed to be catholic in appearance and he collected dubious taxes (including ship tax)
-Jan 1642 Charles attempted to arrest 5 MP's who had acted as ringleaders in an attempt to restrict his power. They fled and Charles left London to raise an army in an act of self defence. August 1642 Charles raised his standard at Nottingham signalling the start of the civil war


What impact did the war have in East Anglia in a social sense?

-Suffolk served as parliaments main recruiting ground.
-At a time when mortality rates for both adults and children were already high, further deaths from the war added to a strained existence
-many accused witches were left alone and vulnerable by husbands
-chaos of war allowed long-held suspicions to be brought to the surface
-the traditional authority of the COE and local gentry was undermined as parliament areas ejected undesirable ministers from their churches and replaced them with puritan ones
-with no real authority to govern 'fear within' began to grow


What was the legal structure in east anglia during the war?

-assize courts were unable to function normally and justice was carried out by local magistrates or by other individuals with limited legal experience
-considered to dangerous for the assize judges to make their up from London
-July 1645, the earl of Warwick and one of the most senior Parliamentarians was sent to oversee the Essex summer Assizes at Chelmsford with little legal knowledge. He sentenced 19 women to hang
-WC was able to spread quickly. Mayors and town councillors were thankful for the services of people such as Hopkins as they provided what appeared to be actual legal knowledge. They could not act as judges but they did collect evidence and interrogate


What impact did crop failure have on an increase in WC?

-wet summers combined with freezing winters led to regular crop failures. 1646 the summer was very wet with disease affecting livestock and crops causing them to rot
-the price of meat and cheese rose dramatically, seed-corn had to be eaten which threatened the next years harvest
-This was viewed as a sign from the heavens, it was a punishment from god.
-With such confusion and misery it was easy to blame witches for peoples misfortune


How did Land use change throughout the 1600's in east anglia?

-enclosure of common land meant the Rich acquired more land to feed cattle leaving the poor residents feeling left out from any prosperity.
-landlords could see more money in evicting tenants and enclosing the land in order to focus on one particular agricultural product
-Charity from the rich was now very rare and those who benefited from enclosure were reluctant to give to beggars
-Sir Miles Sandys enclosed 4k acres of common land evicting 30 families


What economic impact did the civil war have?

-price of livestock up 12% and grain up 15% because of the huge resources required by both armies
-food from the land was consumed in huge quantities which drove up the prices without increasing the wages
-1643 weekly assessment: a tax introduced by parliament that was collected in east anglia at a rate 12 times higher than the ship tax from the 1630's which charged people who lived in costal towns to pay for the navy
-Margaret Moore was evicted from her cottage and fell into begging. She was later accused of killing livestock and causing crop failures as well as the murder of a child all through WC


How many were accused and killed by Hopkins and where were the trials located?

-700 accused or faced trial and 300-400 killed between 1645-1647
-began in Essex then spread to Suffolk, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire and many other east Anglican counties


How did Hopkins begin the hunts?

-1644 he was kept awake by meeting of witches near his house in Manningtree
-Him and stearne ID women and in March 1645 presented their accusations to local magistrate Sir Harbottle Grimston. They did not act as judges themselves but began to offer a fee for their services
-First accused was Elizabeth Clarke an old women with one leg who had long bee suspect. Devil mark found on her and she then named Rebeca West who turned witness for the Crown
-July trials were held at Chelmsford were 20 were found guilty including Clarke


How did Hopkins and Stearne's hunts develop

-spent next 2 years apart investigating accusations separately
-over 120 were examined in Suffolk including 80 year old royalist clergyman, John Lowes, who aggravated his parishioners
-Hopkins then went to Yarmouth, Aldeburgh and all along the Norfolk coast were he sent around 40 women for trial at the assizes in 1645
-8 women the n tried in Huntingdonshire in 1646. Invited to Kimbolton where accusations had been made before but had not been acted on
-no geographical pattern to the accusations they just followed the money


What gender did Hopkins and stearne look to accuse?

-A study of the 124 confirmed suspects in Suffolk shows that the trials were organised and deliberate violence carried out on women. Although 20% of the Suffolk accused were men, they were already associated with a female accused witch.
-The accusations were cantered on female tasks and spaces (kitchen)
-poor women were involved in dairy farming so when things went wrong, such as ill cattle, they were to blame
-Hopkins keen to find evidence of sexual activity with Devil
-Muders of husbands and kids often referred to in trials with Susana Stegold found guilty of killing husband after unhappy marriage


What class of society did Hopkins and Stearne look to accuse?

-wide variety of occupations and background recorded
-However literacy levels are indicators of type of people accused
-most people who left no signature, and therefore were illiterate, found themselves accused. But most of the searches also left no signature which indicates that they were the neighbours of the accused and not well educated people
-Witness did leave a signature which shows that they're were most likely landowners or clergy


What were the roles of Hopkins and stearne?

-uniform investigations that followed the same procedures
-neither had qualifications but were born into puritan tradition
-Hopkins dubbed himself the "Witcfinder General"
-they made assessments of suspected witches quickly and efficiently before moving onto receive their next invitation
-They were paid by the town councils and parishes and also had their expenses paid for
-they stayed long enough to start the proceedings with interrogations (with the help of local magistrates) then left others to continue the cases to trial


What did Hopkins and Stearne want to uncover?

-relationship between suspect and the devil
-Devi marks
-other witches


What methods did Hopkins and stearne use?

-isolation of suspect
-search for devils mark
-'watching' where a suspect would be deprived of sleep and watched by a group of people working in shifts (most successful+controversial)
-other torture
-swimming test (been approved by James I in Daemonologie)


What is Hopkins background?

-son of puritan clergyman he was raised in strictest ways of godliness, little known about his life before or after 1645-47
-likely born around 1620 so he would have been 25 and no older than 28 when he died
-came into some inheritance and established himself as a gentleman in Manningtree.
-evidence that parliament had appointed Hopkins as their agent to discover witches. In this era they must have had letters of safe-passage from a high power to avoid being captured by either side
-likely that he had so much power as he was in the right place at the right time; a Puritan man who presented himself as a saviour at a time of great crisis


What is John Stearne's background?

-older than Hopkins (mid 30's)
-grew up in rural Suffolk, had a wife and a daughter
-good working knowledge of scripture and died in 1670
-It was Stearne who first received a warrant to search suspected witches in Manningtree, Hopkins volunteered to assist him
-passionate about hunting
-some suggest neither he nor Stearne believed themselves to have any power but acted as facilitators who simply assisted accusers


How did growing costs affect the witch hunts in east anglia?

-imprisonment cost around £50, feeding the witches, the assize trials themselves, executions with around £3 spent per burning and the fees demanded by Hopkins and Stearne were controversial
- Trial in Aldeburgh cost around £40 which was 1/7 of the entire towns annual budget so a special tax was raised to pay them
-1647 Stearne returned home to family after death of Hopkins and reluctant judges(reluctant over costs)made the hunts near impossible.
-funds were begin drained by the war so hunting became an unneeded luxury
-evidence that costly lawsuits were filed against Stearne for wrongful convictions


How did the re-establishment of traditional authority effect the east Anglian hunts?

-majority of the fighting in civil war ended when Charles surrendered in 1646 in Newark and east Anglia was safe enough for the assize courts to return
-many Royalist Gentry were able to return to wastes and began punishing their tenants and servants if they had fought for parliament
-end of the war meant some relief was given to suffering population which eased panic and fear in the region


What 2 cases showed that the witch hunts were coming to a close?

-Hopkins visited King Lynn in 1646 to give evidence against 9 accused. All pleaded not guilty, only 2 were convicted, Hopkins was given £2 for his testimony and departed from the town quickly
-second case occurred 2 days later (sept 26th) at the Ely assize court. 3 women were accused and subsequently acquitted possibly at the direction of the experienced judge, John Godbold


What happened at the Norfolk assize in 1647?

-the judges were given a list of questioned complied by a number of leading gentry who had taken issue with aspects of the hunt
-they were influenced by John Gaule
-the 9 questions attacked the methods and motivations behind Hopkins


Who was John Gaule?

-Minister of Great stughton in 1646
-His parish lay between Kimbolton and St Neots where a number of suspects had been investigated
-he was aware that his parishioners were blaming witches for their misfortunes but he instead believed that their own sins were to blame
-visited one of the detained suspects at Huntingdon to hear an account of what happened to her


How did Gaule attack Hopkins and Stearne?

-Presented his criticisms in "Select cases of conscience touching witches and withcrafts" 1646
-agreed with with hunting and that witches were bad but disliked their methods most notably watching
-pleaded for common sense and restraint following up accusations of WC.
-alleged that the Cruz for witch hunting was becoming idolatrous as people in east anglia were praising witch finders more than they praised God


Why did Gaule attack the witch hunters? Were his attacks successful?

-he was a conservative who was angry with how the civil war disrupted the country. Churches were being used as stables and vise versa.
-annoyed that the hunters assumed authority where in reality they had none
-little support initially but his work helped to convince the authorities and judges that the hunts were not longer necessary as traditional authority was re-established and the costs of investigations increased