What’s the difference between Great Britain and the United Kingdom?

 

The Pendle Witches

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It is the most famous witch trial of the 17th century, the case of the Pendle Witches. Twelve women were accused of witchcraft, and while one died, eleven went to trial. One was tried and found guilty at York while ten of the ‘witches’ were tried at Lancaster. Only one woman was found not guilty.

Six of the eleven ‘witches’ on trial came from two rival families in Pendle. Elizabeth Southerns (Old Demdike) and Anne Whittle (Mother Chattox) were the old, poverty stricken matriarchs of the Demdike and Chattox families respectively. For over fifty years, Old Demdike had been known as a witch and in the 17th century, it was an accepted part of village life that some village healers practised magic and dealt in herbs and medicines.

The 17th century was also a time when witchcraft was not only feared but also fascinated. King James I was greatly interested in witchcraft even before he became King of England in 1603. One of King James’s literary works, Daemonologie, instructed readers to condemn and prosecute both supporters and practitioners of witchcraft. As the scepticism of the King was heightened, the feelings of unrest and fear over witchcraft became familiar with his people.

The story of the Pendle Witches began with the altercation between one of the accused ‘witches’, Alizon Device, and John Law, a pedlar. While travelling, Alizon passed John Law on the road and asked for some pins though Law refused her request. It is said that Alizon cursed John Law and a short while after he suffered a stroke, for which he blamed Alizon and her mystical powers. When the incident was brought to trial, Alizon Device confessed that she had instructed the Devil to blame John Law. After further questioning, Alizon divulged that her grandmother, Old Demdike, and members of the rival Chattox family regularly practiced witchcraft. The two families had been feuding for years and for the Chattox family, Alizon’s accusations were just an act of revenge.

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The trials of the Pendle Witches were held at Lancaster Castle on 17th and 19th August 1612. The dark, damp and dirty dungeon where the ‘witches’ were held were too much for Old Demdike to bear and she died before she could be brought to trial. One of the most surprising things about the Pendle Witch trials was the principal supplier of evidence. Jennet Device was only nine years old and usually wouldn’t have been allowed to testify in a trial because of her age. Under King James I’s system, all standard rules were suspended when giving evidence in a witch trial. Jennet gave evidence against her mother, sister and brother. It was reported that when the young girl spoke against her mother, Elizabeth, the accused witch had to be dragged from court screaming and cursing her daughter.

Alizon Device, Elizabeth Device, James Device, Anne Whittle, Anne Redferne, Alice Nutter, Katherine Hewitt, John Bulcock and Jane Bulcock were all found guilty at Lancaster. They were hanged at Gallows Hill on 20th August 1612. Elizabeth Southern lost her life while awaiting trial, and Alice Grey was found not guilty.

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In the present day, Pendle Hill hosts a Halloween hilltop gathering every year and in the Borough of Pendle, the witches have become the inspiration for its tourism and heritage industries.

So this Halloween, why not pay a visit to Pendle Hill and relive the sorcery and paranormal goings-on that occurred there over 400 years ago. You’re sure to be in for a spooky surprise!

Being British

I’ve been watching a new programme on TV called “Very British Problems”, and it gave me an idea for a blog post.

What is ‘British’?  What does it mean to be British?

Well.  Here’s my take.

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Sitting on a bench, eating fish and chips straight from the paper.

Donkey rides on the beach.

Queuing.

Chivalry.

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Being too polite (even when people don’t deserve it).

Overusing the word “sorry”.

Sarcasm (British sarcasm is very different to the rest of the world).

Scones stuffed with jam and freshly whipped cream.

Pots of tea with china cups.

Gordon Ramsay.  By the way…  He rocks!

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Bangers and mash.

We also have a fancy name for cheese on toast…  “Welsh Rarebit”.

David Beckham.

The Spice Girls.

The Beatles.

Genesis.

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Phil Collins.

Take That (bleurgh).

Black Sabbath.

Queen.

Doctor Who.

All-doctors

James Bond.

Mini Cooper.

Aston Martin.

Jaguar.

Rolls Royce.

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Stephen Hawking.

Stephen Fry.

Bill Bailey.

Billy Connolly.

Russell Brand.

Robert Carlyle.

Queen Elizabeth II

Prince William.

Prince Harry.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Cockney rhyming slang.

We’re pretty good at tongue twisters too.

William Wordsworth.

William Shakespeare.

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The Bronte sisters.

Jane Austen.

Robert Burns.

Robert the Bruce.

William Wallace (aka Braveheart – yes.  He was a real man).

Robert Roy Macgregor (Rob Roy – yes.  He was real too).

Highland bagpipes.

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Haggis, neeps and tatties.

The Loch Ness Monster (Nessie.  And of course, his sister – Morag).

Peter Pan (J. M. Barrie was Scottish).

St George.

George and the Dragon.

The Union Jack.

Britannia.

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The BBC Proms.

Last Night of the Proms.

The BBC.

The Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo (best in the world).

Castles.

Forests.

Robin Hood.

Marks and Spencer.

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Asda.

Sainsbury’s.

Mark Sheppard.

Alan Rickman.

Colin Firth.

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Judi Dench.

Zoe Wannamaker.

Harry Potter!

Orlando Bloom.

Joseph Morgan.

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Stonehenge.

Callenish Stone Circle.

Tower Bridge.

The Tower of London.

Buckingham Palace.

Big Ben (is actually the name of the bell; not the clock tower).

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I think this list is sufficient enough at the moment…  I could probably go on forever; and I am sure that you could too.

So what do you think?  When you think of all things British, what comes to your mind?

30 Day Writing Challenge – DAY 5

List 5 places that you would like to visit

1.  Canada

2.  Australia

3.  New Zealand

4.  Russia

5.  The Shetland Isles