Norman Britain and Witchcraft (11th-12th century)

A scene from the medieval period depicting Norman soldiers in their distinctive armor, marching through an English village. The soldiers are shown in a formation, showcasing their disciplined military might. In the foreground, a group of old women, dressed in traditional Anglo-Saxon clothing, are visibly frightened and taken aback by the imposing presence of the Norman troops. The women's expressions and body language convey their fear and uncertainty as they witness the soldiers' procession. The setting is rustic, with thatched-roof cottages and a cobblestone path, capturing the historical context and the tension between the Norman conquerors and the local population.

Reading Time: 6 minutes As we enter the high mediaeval period, for the first time we see the collision of Norman Britain and witchcraft. The Norman view of witchcraft began to seriously influence English thought and culture post the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Normans, originally from what is now Normandy in France, brought with them to England their … Read more

Witches In Saxon Britain (5th-11th century)

A man works with herbs over a steaming cauldron outside a Saxon village to illustrate witches in Saxon Britain.

Reading Time: 4 minutes The Anglo-Saxons, who inhabited and ruled parts of Britain from the 5th century until the Norman Conquest in 1066, had their own beliefs and practices regarding witchcraft and magic. However, understanding their views requires interpreting limited historical records, as much of what is known of witches in Saxon Britain comes from texts written after the … Read more

Viking Britain & Witchcraft

An illustration of the Norse goddess Freya watching over the Viking invasion of Britain.

Reading Time: 4 minutes The Vikings, a formidable force from Scandinavia, brought not only their prowess in warfare to Britain between the 8th and 11th centuries but also their intricate beliefs in witchcraft and magic. The Viking Age, saw the spread of the Norse culture and its unique practices, including the mystical art of “seiðr,” across the British Isles. … Read more

Witches In Roman Britain (1st-5th century)

A male witch in Roman Britain on trial.

Reading Time: 3 minutes The Influence of Greek Mythology on Roman Witchcraft Beliefs Witches in Roman Britain were subject to the same laws and beliefs as they were throughout the Empire, and these were, in turn, often further influenced by local customs and possibly pragmatic decisions about local beliefs. Nevertheless, while known for their own eclectic religious practices, the … Read more

Witchcraft And Celtic Britain (pre-AD 43)

An illustration of Celtic people sitting by a riverbank receiving a lesson. Were beliefs in witchcraft and Celtic Britain the same?

Reading Time: 5 minutes Celtic beliefs about witchcraft, as with many aspects of ancient Celtic culture, are somewhat obscured by the lack of direct written records from the Celts themselves. In particular, we lack first hand written documents about witchcraft and Celtic Britain from that time period. Much of what is known comes from archaeological evidence and accounts written … Read more

Witchcraft in Britain

Witches from across British history stand and sit around a campfire under trees in the moonlight.

Reading Time: 6 minutes Introduction to Witchcraft in Britain if you have any interest in the history of witchcraft in Britain, you probably already know about the hysteria of the 17th century witch hunts in Britain. This was a time when superstition and fear ruled a country already deeply divided along religious and political lines. The English civil war … Read more