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History of Britain - Changing Lives

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9.Pendle Witches
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1612

What do the witch-hunts of the early 17th century tell us about changes in village life in the early modern period? (6.75 mins)

10.Iron and Industry
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1700 - 1781 next video 10/17next

iconChapter Breakdown

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1. What does the obscure story of the Pendle Witches reveal about early 17th century society?
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2. Extracting truth from this fantastical story: a tragic tale of women on the margins.
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3. The long view: what happened in Pendle as a consequence of the slow breakdown of the traditional village unit.
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4. The short view: unemployment, a migrant population, and the impact of the Poor Laws.
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5. The persecution of so-called 'witches' explained by one contemporary observer.

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iconLocation details


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We shot the entirety of this module in Newchurch-in-Pendle in Lancashire. There's not much to see in the village. "Witches Galore", the gift shop, keeps alive the memory of the witch-hunts. Check out the 'eye of God' in the west side of the church tower.


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Pendle Hill sits oppressively overhanging the landscape, in the southwest corner of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

This was where George Fox, the founder of the Quaker movement, had a 'visitation' - it's the perfect environment for such other-worldly goings on...

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