Background to the witch-craze

Get Started. It's Free
or sign up with your email address
Background to the witch-craze by Mind Map: Background to the witch-craze

1. had to often suffer with fires. particularly in towns where they were overcrowded, had wooden houses with thatched roofs. they often kept candles in draughty places at night which was a hazard and instead of cleaning chimney would take a short cut via setting it on fire- this caused 80 houses to burn down in one incident. accidental fire was a great concern in the 16th-17th century.

1.1. hundred and fifty houses burned down when in woman in wolburn in 1595 started a fire by putting all her used bed straw on a fire.

1.1.1. some mostly fires started by carless women

1.1.2. fires also started due to industrial reasons- e.g. a dyer furnace was overheated leading to a fire that caused £200,000 worth of dmaadges in 1612 tiverton

1.2. had insufficient fire stopping methods. consisted of only leather buckets, rope to pull down thatches and a ladder. city of London employed rule to decrease amount of wooden houses but was hard to enforce. despite caution hard to stop a fire when underway and site of a fire was chaos. their best method was blowing up the houses surrounding the houses in order to prevent spreading of flames. however, this undoubtedly caused destruction

1.3. only fire insurance by end of 17th century. fires cost over £900,000 worth of damadges. this excludes small fires and also the fire of London which cost £10 million and left around 100,000 people homeless.

1.4. fires also

2. economic

2.1. in the 16th and 17th century, England was still mostly a agricultural-based in economy and was very sparse in terms of numbers. 5 and a half million by 1700 in england and wales.

2.2. Due to increased economy meant witch craze died down in England by the 17th century with only a few isolated cases. this is due to in times of less hardships less witch hunts compared to areas which suffered bad harvest and poor weather due to the mini ice age

2.3. people were earning less than they consumed and a third and a half were at subsistence level and were chronically unemployed

3. religious/belief

3.1. diabolical plot- the belief witches were selling their soul to the devil for exchange of wealth and importance

3.2. England a deeply religious state with religion being a major reason for conflict in the ears 1580-1750 due to the growth of dissenters and fear of Catholicism . these fears were further punctuated by the reigns of Charles 11 and James 11 and the interregnum

3.3. new scientific beliefs increased different ideologies which departed from the norm of Christianity. fear of witches grew a s a result through scientific discovery e.g. Francis Bacon who reformed the way science was viewed a stated preconceived ideas should no longer be accepted as facts.

3.4. the idea of witches causing disorder had been around for many gerneations before reaching a peak in 17th-18th century Europe as a result of hew ideas that threatened Christianity and a mini ice age leading to ardships which were mostly blamed on women

3.5. the country as a whole was superstitious, with these ideals preceding this generation but certainly in the 16th-17th century these beliefs had flourished vastly. One reason may be society as a whole was insecure due to political and economical clashes.

3.6. believed that mental illness steamed from the supernatural with most people that treated the illness being the clergy.

4. believed many disease couldn't be cured.

5. gained some significance during civil war as organised political and social campaigns e.g. john Lilburn imprisonment was protested by women. however, no effect at all with parliament retorting with sexist remarks telling women to go home.

6. London was a fast growing city with already half a million citizens. estimated a sixth of the entire population meant a time in the city before returning to their rural communities with a newly acquired urban standpoint and living conditions

7. 80% of the population lived in the countryside by 1688

8. social

8.1. women were an easy scapegoat for problems since woman were already seen as 2nd class citzens in europe

8.1.1. women held no wealth of there own despite even if they were a member of the gentry they would not own anything but instead be worth a lot

8.2. new books on witches opened to the public which would increased the fear of witches amongst the educated class e.g. nobility and gentry whom which have the wealth and the influence to inspire a witch hunt and prosecute large numbers of witches

8.2.1. 1599- Samuel Harsnett- discovery of the fraudulent practises of john darrel

8.2.2. 1609-johaness Kelper- Astronomia Nova

8.2.3. 1632- john George Fuchs von Dormheim became prince-bishop of Bamberg, triggering a witch craze

8.2.4. 1656- Thomas Ady's- A candle in the dark

8.2.5. 1662- the demon drummer of Tedworth case

8.2.6. 1687- Isaac Newton- Principia Mathematica

8.2.7. people who were bored or in neeed of money pften lied they had seen witches or had experiences with witches

8.2.8. 1712- The case of Jane Wienham

8.3. clear disparities between the poor and wealthy.

8.4. the Tudors and Stuarts had a very high mortality rates even amongst the nobility who would be subjected to better conditions. average age to die was 29.6 years for a man versus 70 today. even if they survived to be 30, usually would live with chronic pain for the rest of their short lives. Living conditions in London was even worse thus had a higher mortality rate

8.4.1. John Graunt-(England's first demographer) of every hundred live children born in London, 36 would die in their first 6 year and a further 24 would die within 10 years.

8.5. poor diet accounted for the pains of life and also high mortality rate. England depended on good harvest and 5 out of 6 times the harvest was good. it seemed during high death rates, mortality rates increased. However, it was unusual for a Tudor to die of exposure or starvation. it was more their diet which caused many of their illness. for example, the rich ate too much meat and their disdain for fresh vegetables meant they regularly suffered from constipation and a lack of vitamin A. Peasant instead prospered as they just ate vegetables therefore their teeth were better and they could only afford bread and meat in the 19th century so dint get gout or stones. However they also suffered as malnourished so were vulnerable to tuberculosis and gastric pains

8.6. people also died due to diseases which spread quickly due to poor hygiene and ignorance of how diseases spread. typhus, influenza, dysentery and small pox were all very serious epidemic which many people died from. the baddest of them all would be the endemic, the plague that returned in deadly bouts until the later quarter of the 17 the century. mostly affected the poor who lived in dirty and overcrowded conditions and was most rampant in towns. in 1563, there was 20,000 Londoners 1665, at least 68,000

8.7. the plague had very serious social effect,the rich fled to the countryside leaving the poor to die- resulted in robberies and unemployment and violence in towns, and also violence in countryside as country folk fearful with what the rich might have brought with them. Additionally, violence due to the ill treatment by authorities e.g. restriction of movements and quarantining.

8.8. doctors were useless in this time period, they followed the teachings of Hippocrates, Galen and Aristotle and were concerned with the four humours- phlegm, yellow bile, blood, black bile and looked at the symptoms of the disease rather than the disease itself. additionally, many felt urine testing was the best way to find out about disease, to the extent some felt they could look at only a urine sample rather than it with the patient- became so bad it had to be banned. to treat they subjected patients to purging and to leeches. outside knowledge could not be gained as the entire country and its visitors would be terrified of infection.

8.8.1. patients had to endure rudimentary styles of operation that was limited to cutting out stones, amputation etc. there was no antiseptic so many patients were fearful of undergoing this torture with the mortality rates after surgery being exceptionally high. surgeons were seen as inferior to physicians and they were so terrible as they didn't understand what was going on inside the body and had no X-rays to help them/

8.8.2. extremely ignorant to what caused plague. however some physicians actually pointed out that rats seemed to come out of their holes at time of plagues but they instead targeted cats and dogs which allowed plague to flourish and also sent the infected parties to be quarantined which further increased mortality rates. believed plague could be cured by arsenic, a happy disposition and tobacco. even the royal college of physicians set up in 1518 and the Royal society didn't know how to fight the plague. didn't matter these societies didn't know as their numbers were too small and too enclosed for the public to even gain anything from their knowledge. instead of physicians, people turned to apothecaries or surgeons. outnumbered physicians 5 to 1 apothecaries sold and prescribed medicine, physicians angry at encroachment so bagan legal battle that didn't end until 1704. despite what they offered being similar most people went to a apothecaries or to a wise herbal women, began idea of medicine at home with housewives building up an arsenal of medicine for their household. many people preferred treatment from a woman than a physician- even the most intelligent men in England felt physics should have never been invented as it gave the rich a advantage to get ell over the poor.

8.9. established punishment for women that served to humiliate and limit them e.g. the brank a metal device put over a woman's head making it impossible for them to speak

8.10. between 1603-1643 quite a lot of towns were well supplied with qualified doctors, Norwich had 17, Canterbury 22, Exeter 13 , York 10

8.10.1. despite physician fitting their price to their patient, seemed poor did not get as regular checkups as rich as couldn't afford it. John Bellers, 1714 stated many people had died from curable diseases but it was their poverty that prevented their recovery. part of utopian thinks who wanted state-funded medical service (NHS)

8.11. They hardly ever used a doctor when delivering babies, usually using midwives unlicensed and licensed however their techniques were rudimentary. 1687- 2/3 of stillbirths abortions or deaths by child-birth could be attributed to these lack of skills. To the point, some didn't want midwives and would hide from them.

8.12. only two hospitals, st Bartholomew and st Thomas in London by the end of the 17th cent.

8.13. mental illness disregarded or wrongly described as hysteria, a madness from the uterus which could be treated via purging and leeching.

8.14. fires held a social impact of teaching people the instability of their personal possession and also had damaging psychologically effects depending on how often where they lived was exposed to fires.

8.15. Frenchman in 1672 noted no business in England could be complete without pots of alcohol. during Charles 11 seemed no one went a day without alcohol and the clergy were angered that workmen seemed to get drunk once a week.

8.15.1. beer was cheap to make and its daily consumption was measured in pints it was diet for both adults and children. estimated 40 galleons drunk per person per year drunk so much a didn't have alternative beverages, was cheap and a better stimulant than meagre diet of cereal and mostly ate salt and meat which probably made men thirster created a spirit of optimism amongst the classes and in prisons, only until the 17th century that the nobility replaced the poor as the drunkest member of society.

9. political

9.1. England was in a state of political turmoil in this time period -Charles 1 beheaded in 1649 with republican rule continuing until it was forcibly removed in 1653.

9.1.1. through political problem easy to credit this with the acts of witches who were known for creating disorder. a fear further increased through the steady growth of dissenters

9.2. Succeeding this was the rule of Charles 11 which proved prosperous in terms of increasing the economy though increased trading and urbanisation, however lead to fear of Catholicism ha divided he English public and radicalized protestants who feared prosecution under a catholic power. This fear was further heightened when Charles brother James took on the throne. James was openly catholic and through pro-catholic legalisation such as the declaration of indulgence unversed opposition to the point they again forcibly removed a ruler and placed William of orange on the throne of 1688, following William's defeat of James in battle

9.3. despite modern views on life then. many people living there probably were well accustomed to low life expectancy, even the poor faced disease with a stoicism and were reluctant to listen to health regulations. instead of pushing for social reforms, the poor were content to being poor and instead looked to others sources for liberation. notably alcohol.

10. estimation that 100,000 people were executed for witchcraft across Europe with around 200,000 facing charges, although executions were uncommon in England compared to the rest of Europe

10.1. witch hunts happened predominantly in German-speaking territories. evidence witch-hunts in Sweden, Iceland southern Spain although seemed to pass completely in southern Italy.

10.2. no more than 1000 executions in England with the preferred treatment being hanging