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Title: Perspectives on male witches in early modern England
Author: Morgan, S.
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2019
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Historians agree that those accused of witchcraft during the early modern period were predominantly women. Yet not all of those brought before the assize courts in England were female. Approximately twenty-five percent of those accused were men. However, they have generally been dismissed as by-products of the witch hunts, accused only through relationships with a woman or else as part of the mass hysteria created by witch panics in which traditional stereotypes often broke down. This work seeks to challenge these assumptions and ask how men found themselves to be accused of witchcraft when there was such a strong association with magic and women in the learned demonology of the period. Were they just by-products of a campaign directed against women or were they legitimate targets for accusations of witchcraft? Through an examination of the major demonological texts of early modern England, popular witchcraft pamphlets and records from the secular and ecclesiastical courts of England this work argues that male witches could be independent, legitimate targets of witchcraft accusations and that the learned demonologists and theologians of early modern England possessed no conceptual barrier to the idea of a male witch. It is not the aim of this thesis to challenge the place of women within witchcraft historiography. Rather it suggests that our current theory needs to integrate the idea of male witches and examine how they fit within the wider context of witchcraft beliefs during the early modern period in an effort to advance further our understanding of the early modern English mentalities to witches and witchcraft.
Supervisor: Austin, Kenneth ; Hutton, Ronald Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available