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The Lancashire WitchesHistories and Stories$
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Robert Poole

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780719062032

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719062032.001.0001

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‘Those to whom evil is done’: family dynamics in the Pendle witch trials

‘Those to whom evil is done’: family dynamics in the Pendle witch trials

Chapter:
(p.58) 4 ‘Those to whom evil is done’: family dynamics in the Pendle witch trials
Source:
The Lancashire Witches
Author(s):

Jonathan Lumby

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719062032.003.0004

This chapter analyzes the network of relationships and motivations among the accusers and accused in the Pendle area, shedding light on the related trial of Jennet Preston of Gisburn. The chapter explores the question of what disposed gentry and magistrates in the Lancashire and Yorkshire borderland to promote the destruction of the Pendle witches in 1612. Two men of considerable standing in the society of those parts instigated the persecution: Roger Nowell and Thomas Lister. Close investigation reveals the interdependence of the two trials. The gentry accusers and magistrates in both cases were part of the same Protestant social network, and both had family experience of suffering at the alleged hands of witches. The families from the hill-country were crushed between the millstones of two different perceptions of the nature of witchcraft, millstones set on their dire motion by traumas in the families of the instigators. A whole web of connections, with many suggestions of family intrigue and manipulation is uncovered, bringing out an individual perspective on family breakdown, persecution and victimization.

Keywords:   family dynamics, Pendle witch trials, persecution, gentry accusers, victimization, Thomas Lister

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