The North Berwick Witch Trials

Mari Wells

The North Berwick Witch Trials
St Andrews Auld Kirk from the north

Back over to the east coast of Scotland this week, to North Berwick, a town about 30 miles south of Edinburgh. If you read my first guest post for Mari, you’ll recall me talking about King James VI of Scotland, who, it has to be said, had a bit of a downer on witches. He was the one who ordered hundreds of ‘witches’ to be executed on Castlehill in Edinburgh. This all started when he discovered that a coven in North Berwick had plotted to kill him and his wife, Anne of Denmark, as they sailed home to Scotland from Norway.

The story began in 1590 when the deputy bailiff of Tranent in East Lothian, David Seaton, found out that his maid Gilly Duncan was leaving the house at night without permission. He also discovered that she was known locally to possess skill in healing…

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