Historical Background
           English Reformation 1534 - Anglican Catholic Church
                       Henry VIII breaks with Rome, rejects Papacy
           Elizabeth I Tudor (1558-1603)
           James I Stuart (1603-25) formerly James VI of Scotland
           English Civil War (1640-1660) Charles I executed 1649

I.  Contrast with continental witch trials

  "old crime"--maleficium as specific harm
            not "new crime" of diabolism
             results in small scale, individual trials

       absence of inquisitorial procedure and no torture
             accusatory procedure in Anglo Saxon common law

       crime of withcraft defined as criminal offense,
            not as heresy (as on continent)
            result: penalty is hanging, not burning

II. English Witchcraft legislation  
                 (see xerox packet, or link on web page to statutes)
      Three statutes :   
            1542: maleficium & sorcery defined as felonies   
                           (felony = capital crimes)

1563: death by maleficium = felony
                          lesser maleficial injuries = pillory

 1604: prohibits "feeding or entertaining evil spirits"
                   types of evidence used in absence of torture
                          i. search for witches' mark ("pricking" a witch)
                          ii. familiars: animals fed by witches' teat (tit)

III. Chronology   1559-1736 (executions approx. = 500)
1603-1625, peak under James I - Scottish influence
1645-1647 campaign of Matthew Hopkins:
                   "Witchfinder General" -- self appointed, for hire by towns
                          active during English Civil War (1640-1660)
                          responsible for approximately 200 executions

       1685 - Last execution for witchcraft in England
       1736 - Repeal of 1604 w/c statute

Readings on England:
Christina Larner, "Witch beliefs & witch hunting in
England and Scotland"
                           in Xerox packet, section #2, also on link to be posted                      
Confessions of the Chelmsford witches, Kors & Peters, #46, pp. 302-308
Brian Levack, Chap. 7, "The British Isles, " pp. 200-206
          Note that here"Britain" and British refers to England & Scotland together.