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Witchcraze. Split from another thread


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Did anyone ever see the UK tv film Witchcraze. I may have posted about it before will just take a look.

Yer tiz.

It had alot to do with King James VI If you ever get a chance to watch it do. I have searched in vain for it.

anyway heres the bit I was looking for.

Its from the Scotsman


Published Date: 21 October 2002




THE bloody tale of one of the most notorious witch-hunts in history is to be retold in a television documentary filmed at castles and beaches across the Lothians.

The story of the North Berwick witch hunt, a dark tale of kings and devils, evil spells and torture, is to be featured in a BBC2 docu-drama, Witchcraze.


It will tell the horrific story of East Lothian men and women who were burned at the stake,

accused of treason and witchcraft for allegedly summoning up a storm to sink one of King James VI?s ships in 1590.


Central to the story is a young healer, Agnes Sampson, who was burned at the stake, after being identified as the ringleader of the coven.


The witch hunt began after the king?s fleet was hit by a terrible storm as he returned from Denmark with Queen Anne.


The king and queen survived, but the ship laden with their wedding gifts sunk, and King James became obsessed with the idea that evil spirits had been set upon him.


Suspicions fell upon young Agnes Sampson, who was known as a healer and midwife who used herbs and old Catholic chants to cure ailments.


Following brutal torture, she confessed to plotting to bring about the king?s death, and her statements were used to round up dozens of other "suspects" in the case.


The young woman, from Nether Keith, near Humbie, also gave a series of bizarre accounts of her activities as a witch, in which she said she had met the Devil and given herself to him as a servant.


She then described how she had intoned spells over a dead cat before hurling it into the sea to summon up the storm which hit the king?s fleet.


Even King James? cousin, Francis Stuart, Earl of Bothwell, was named in the list of those behind the satanic plot and, though Bothwell was eventually cleared , Agnes and many others were not so fortunate.


Mark Hayhurst, producer of Witchcraze, said: " What attracted us to the story was its political aspect, the way it connects with the Church and State at the highest level."


Filming for the programme, which will be screened in the new year as part of a series on heresy, is nearing completion after recording at locations in Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife.


The starring role will be taken by Edinburgh actress Cathleen McCarron, who plays the unfortunate Agnes Sampson.


Among the buildings to appear in the docu-drama is Craigmillar Castle, which was used as the setting for scenes in the great hall, while Gosford House near Longniddry took the place of the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Magdalen Chapel in the city?s Cowgate was used as St Giles? Cathedral because it was decided the chapel remained far closer to how an original 16th century church would have looked. Village scenes were also shot near Cupar in Fife.


Some of the most dramatic footage was taken at St Abbs in East Lothian, where the cliffs formed a dramatic background for the scenes of the executions.


Production staff said it felt odd to film the horrendous scenes of lynching, hanging and people being consumed by flames against such a beautiful backdrop.


But a spokesman for the crew said: "We had a fantastic time. The scenery was stunning and we got a lot of help from the local people."


According to historians, 16th-century records of the North Berwick trial have played a major part in forging common ideas about witchcraft .


Dr Joyce Miller, a research fellow involved with the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft at Edinburgh University, said: "Agnes Sampson?s case details a lot of information that fits in with our ideas of what witches are.


"She said they met the Devil, used rituals involving cats and bits of corpses and tried to murder the king. One of the things that is interesting about it is that it became our standard idea of what witches did."


Reign of terror for Scots


THE infamous North Berwick Witch Hunt of 1590 to 1592 marked the real beginning of almost two centuries of torture and execution in Scotland.


Withcraft had been outlawed in the country only a few decades earlier, in 1563, but it was King James VI who turned witch hunts into a major feature of Scottish life.


Married to the Danish Queen Anne, he spent time in his wife?s home country, and was greatly influenced by "new" ideas about the black arts, which were fashionable in the Danish court at the time.


After being caught in a terrible sea storm, his paranoia along with plotting nobles appeared to convince him that a coven was based in North Berwick. He took a great personal interest in the case which led to the "ringleader" of the coven, Agnes Sampson, and several others to be burned at the stake.


Between 1563 and 1735 around 3500 people were accused of witchcraft.


Some accounts say that almost half of those accused were executed, but more recent research suggests the real number is closer to one in ten.


The last recorded burning of a witch took place in Sutherland in 1722.

My Family are from Lothian

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I haven't seen it but really fancy watching it.


I live not too far from North Berwick and a couple of miles from Humbie.

Also the Earl of Bothwell resided in the castle in my village and bits of it were used to build my house (useless info there) and a witch was burned in the village.


The Lothians were one of the worst places for witch hunts in Scotland.


A few years ago they thought it would be nice to re enact the burning of Agnes Sampson for Samhain.


I somehow didn't fancy watching that but at least they haven't forgotten her.


Thanks Spinney I'll keep an eye out for that.:thanks:

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