Sunday, 23 October 2011

Witchfinder General

We went to Manningtree, Essex yesterday for the launch of Fangtales - a vampire anthology for teens. Manningtree is the birthplace of one Matthew Hopkins, the celebrated witchfinder of the early seventeenth century. He allegedly held the post of witchfinder for a mere two years (1645-1647) although the title was never officially given to him by Parliament. He was definitely not a man to cross for sure, being responsible for the death of more than three hundred women - again allegedly! According to the Parish records of Mistley, the next village to Manningtree, Matthew Hopkins died of 'consumption' and is buried in the churchyard there.

There is definitely an eerie feel to the old bridge between the two villages, the bridge where poor women were thrown from during the witch trials. Trussed up and thrown into the river; if they drowned they were innocent because the waters accepted them, and if they floated they were witches. A lose lose situation.
Thank heavens for the 21st century!

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