How old were witches in early-modern England?

It is easier to discuss the age of women prosecuted for witchcraft in 17th century continental Europe (see previous blog post) than in England because their age was sometimes specified in court records. This was very rarely the case in English records. Women’s marital status was, however, generally given, so ‘wife’ and ‘widow’ can be […]

Anthony Ryle 1927-2016

Anthony Ryle (we all knew him as Tony) died on 29th September at the age of 89 in a Sussex nursing home where he was a resident with Flora, his wife. He had been unwell for a number of years, though nonetheless active until very recently, and he faced circumstances with his customary realism, and […]

How old were witches in 17thc Europe?

In my article ‘Poor, Old and Ugly?’ in the August 2016 issue of History Today (and reproduced here with permission) I argue that women prosecuted for witchcraft in 16th and 17th century England were not usually the stereotypical old hags, living on the margins of society, that you find in folk tales. This stereotype was of […]