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WITCHCRAFT, THE PRESS, AND CRIME IN IRELAND, 1822–1922

  • ANDREW SNEDDON (a1) and JOHN FULTON (a1)
Abstract

Drawing on witchcraft cases reported in newspapers and coming before Ireland's courts, this article argues that witch belief remained part of Protestant and Catholic popular culture throughout the long nineteenth century. It is shown that witchcraft belief followed patterns established in the late eighteenth century and occasioned accusations that arose from interpersonal tensions rather than sectarian conflict. From this article, a complex picture emerges of the Irish witches and their ‘victims’, who are respectively seen to have fought accusation and bewitchment using legal, magical, physical, and verbal means. In doing so, the contexts are revealed in which witchcraft was linked to other crimes such as assault, slander, theft, and fraud in an era of expansion of courts and policing. This illustrates how Irish people adapted to legal changes while maintaining traditional beliefs, and suggests that witchcraft is an overlooked context in which interpersonal violence was exerted and petty crime committed. Finally, popular and elite cultural divides are explored through the attitudes of the press and legal authorities to witchcraft allegations, and an important point of comparison for studies of witchcraft and magic in modern Europe is established.

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Ulster University, Cromore Road, Coleraine, bt52 1saa.sneddon@ulster.ac.uk
Ulster University, Cromore Road, Coleraine, bt52 1safulton-j1@ulster.ac.uk
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The authors thank the Historical Journal’s anonymous reviewers, Dr Elaine Farrell, Dr Kyle Hughes, Dr Leanne McCormick, and Dr John Privilege for their valuable comments on earlier drafts of this article.

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References
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1 Hutton, R., ‘Witch-hunting in Celtic societies’, Past and Present, 212 (2011), pp. 4371; Lapoint, E. C., ‘Irish immunity to witch-hunting, 1534–1711’, Éire-Ireland, 27 (1992), pp. 7692; Sneddon, A., Witchcraft and magic in Ireland (Basingstoke, 2015), chs. 1, 35; idem, Possessed by the devil: the history of the Islandmagee witches (Dublin, 2013).

2 See Sneddon, Witchcraft in Ireland, chs. 1, 4–6; J. Fulton, ‘Clerics, conjurors and courtrooms: witchcraft, magic and religion in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Ireland’ (Ph.D. thesis, Ulster University, 2016), ch. 1. For a discussion of butter-witches in medieval and early modern Ireland, see Hutton, ‘Witch-hunting’, pp. 63–6; and Sneddon, A., ‘Witchcraft belief and trials in early modern Ireland’, Irish Economic and Social History, 39 (2012), pp. 125, at pp. 6–9.

3 Sneddon, Witchcraft in Ireland, chs. 2, 6–7.

4 Discussions of decline in witchcraft trials and elite belief include Levack, Brian P., Witch-hunting in Scotland: law, politics, and religion (Edinburgh, 2007), ch. 8; Sharpe, James, Instruments of darkness: witchcraft in early modern England (Philadelphia, PA, 1996), chs. 10–11; Porter, R., ‘Witchcraft and magic in Enlightenment, romantic and liberal thought’, in Gijswijt-Hofstra, M., Levack, B. P., and Porter, R., eds., The Athlone history of witchcraft and magic in Europe (6 vols., London, 1994–2002), v, pp. 193226; Bever, E., ‘Witchcraft prosecutions and the decline of magic’, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 40 (2009), pp. 263–93, at pp. 264–72, 291–2; Elmer, P., Witchcraft, witch-hunting, and politics in early modern England (Oxford, 2016), chs. 6–7; Hunter, M., ‘The decline of magic: challenges and response in the early English Enlightenment’, Historical Journal, 55 (2012), pp. 399425. English dissenters and Scottish Godly elites, however, were reluctant to reject traditional demonological beliefs; see Young, F., English Catholics and the supernatural, 1553–1829 (Farnham, 2013), ch. 5; Davies, O., ‘Methodism, the clergy, and popular belief in witchcraft and magic’, History, 82 (1997), pp. 252–65, at pp. 255–60, 263–5; Henderson, L., Witchcraft and folk belief in the Age of Enlightenment: Scotland, 1670–1740 (Houndmills, 2016), pp. 188–9, 327.

5 Giolláin, D. Ó, ‘The fairy belief and official religion in Ireland’, in Narváez, P., ed., The good people: new fairylore essays (Lexington, KY, 1997), pp. 199212; R. Jenkins, ‘Witches and fairies: supernatural aggression and deviance among the Irish peasantry’, in Narváez, ed., The good people, p. 306; Connolly, S. J., Priests and people in pre-Famine Ireland, 1780–1845 (Dublin, 2001), pp. 112–29; Correll, T. C., ‘Believers, sceptics, and charlatans: evidential rhetoric, the fairies and fairy healers’, Folklore, 116 (2005), pp. 118; Bourke, A., ‘The baby and the bathwater: cultural loss in nineteenth-century Ireland’, in Foley, T. and Ryder, S., eds., Ideology and Ireland in the nineteenth century (Dublin, 1998), p. 79; Connolly, S. J. and Holmes, A. R., ‘Popular culture, 1600–1914’, in Kennedy, L. and Ollerenshaw, P., eds., Ulster since 1600: politics, economy, and society (Oxford, 2013), pp. 109–16.

6 M. Gijswijt-Hofstra, ‘Witchcraft after the witch-trials’, in Gijswijt-Hofstra, Levack, and Porter, eds., Athlone history of witchcraft, pp. 143–4; Connolly, Priests and people, pp. 115–16; Danaher, Kevin, The year in Ireland (Dublin, 1972), pp. 109–18.

7 Holmes, A. R., The shaping of Ulster Presbyterian belief and practice, 1770–1840 (Oxford, 2006), pp. 101–3, 309–13.

8 Foster, R. F., Words alone: Yeats and his inheritances (Oxford, 2011), ch. 3; , idem, Paddy and Mr Punch: connections in Irish and English history (London, 2011), pp. 212–32; Brown, T., The literature of Ireland: culture and criticism (Cambridge, 2010), pp. 1921; Fitzsimon, B. Taylor and Murphy, J. H., eds., The Irish Revival reappraised (Dublin, 2004); Leerssen, J., Remembrance and imagination: patterns in the historical and literary representation of Ireland in the nineteenth century (Cork, 1996), pp. 197216.

9 The role of gender in shaping nineteenth-century British magical mentalities has only begun to be explored: Bell, K., The magical imagination: magic and modernity in urban England, 1780–1914 (Cambridge, 2012), p. 157; Davies, O., Witchcraft, magic and culture, 1736–1951 (Manchester, 1999), pp. 174, 193.

10 Waters, T., ‘Belief in witchcraft in Oxfordshire and Warwickshire, c. 1860–1900: the evidence of the newspaper archive’, Midland History, 34 (2009), pp. 103–5; , idem, ‘Maleficent witchcraft in Britain since 1900’, History Workshop Journal, 80 (2015), pp. 99122; Suggett, R., A history of magic and witchcraft in Wales (Stroud, 2008), chs. 5–7; Henderson, L., ‘Charmers, spells and holy wells: the repackaging of belief’, Review of Scottish Culture, 19 (2007), pp. 1026; Henderson, Witchcraft and folk belief, chs. 6–8. For continuing belief in witchcraft in modern Europe and America: Davies, O., America bewitched: the story of witchcraft after Salem (Oxford, 2013), pp. 121; Davies, O. and Blécourt, W. de, eds., Beyond the witch trials: witchcraft and magic in Enlightenment Europe (Manchester, 2004); de Blécourt, W. and Davies, O., eds., Witchcraft continued: popular magic in modern Europe (Manchester, 2004); Worbec, C. D., ‘The 1850 prosecution of Gerasim Fedatov for witchcraft’, Russian History, 40 (2013), pp. 381–97; Henningsen, G., ‘Witch persecution after the era of the witch trials’, ARV: Scandinavian Yearbook of Folklore, 44 (1988), pp. 103–53.

11 N. Garnham, ‘Crime, policing, and the law, 1600–1900’, in Kennedy and Ollerenshaw, eds., Ulster since 1600, pp. 90–1. It must be noted, however, that ‘the ‘Irish system of criminal justice was certainly distinguishable from that of England’, particularly with regard to the social and economic contexts in which it operated: Howlin, N., ‘Nineteenth-century criminal justice: uniquely Irish or simply not English?’, Irish Journal of Legal Studies, 33 (2013), pp. 6789, at p. 88.

12 O'Donnell, I., ‘The fall and rise of homicide in Ireland’, in Body-Gendrot, S. and Spierenburg, P., eds., Violence in Europe: historical and contemporary perspectives (New York, NY, 2008), pp. 82–3.

13 Three online newspaper databases have been consulted: British Library/Gale, British Newspapers, 1600–1950 series, the British Library/Brightsolid platform The British Newspaper Archive, and the Irish Newspaper Archive. The Freeman's Journal and Belfast Newsletter have been sampled in five-year batches from the mid-eighteenth up to the early twentieth century, using relevant terms including: ‘witch’, ‘witchcraft’, ‘magic’, ‘superstition’, ‘conjuror’, ‘fairy doctor’, ‘fairy man/woman’, ‘bean feasa’, ‘cunning-folk’, and ‘wise woman/man’.

14 Davies, O. and Matteoni, F., ‘“A virtue beyond all medicine”: the hanged man's hand, gallows tradition and healing in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England’, Social History of Medicine, 28 (2015), pp. 686705; Davies, O., ‘Newspapers and the popular belief in witchcraft and magic in the modern period’, Journal of British Studies, 37 (1998), pp. 139–65, at pp. 139–40.

15 Griffin, B., Sources for the study of crime in Ireland, 1801–1921 (Dublin, 2005), pp. 86–8.

16 Conley, C. A., Melancholy accidents: the meaning of violence in post-Famine Ireland (Oxford, 1999), p. 8.

17 For the catastrophic extent of this loss and details of surviving sources, see Griffin, Sources for the study of crime in Ireland.

18 Davies, ‘Newspapers and popular belief’, pp. 141–52; idem, Witchcraft, magic and culture, pp. 193–212.

19 O'Brien, M., ‘Journalism in Ireland: the evolution of a discipline’, in Rafter, K., ed., Irish journalism before independence: more a disease than a profession (Manchester, 2011), pp. 1012; Andrews, A., Newspapers and newsmakers: the Dublin nationalist press in the mid-nineteenth century (Liverpool, 2014), pp. 79; Munter, R., The history of the Irish newspaper, 1685–1760 (Cambridge, 1967).

20 M. Foley, ‘How journalism became a profession in Ireland’, in Rafter, ed., Irish journalism, pp. 22–35; O'Brien, ‘Journalism’, pp. 16–20.

21 Foley, ‘How journalism became a profession’. For the politicization of nineteenth-century Irish newspapers, see Legg, M. L., Newspapers and nationalism: the Irish provincial press, 1850–1892 (Dublin, 1999); Regina Uí Chollatáin, ‘Newspapers, journals and the Irish Revival’, in Rafter, ed., Irish journalism, pp. 160–73.

22 O'Donnell, I., ‘Killing in Ireland at the turn of the centuries: contexts, consequences, and civilising processes’, Irish Economic and Social History, 37 (2010), p. 72.

23 Griffin, B., The Bulkies: police and crime in Belfast, 1800–1865 (Dublin, 1997), chs. 1, 2, 9; Lowe, W. J. and Malcolm, E. L., ‘The domestication of the Royal Irish Constabulary, 1836–1922’, Irish Economic and Social History, 19 (1992), pp. 2748; Malcolm, E., The Irish policeman, 1822–1922: a life (Dublin, 2006), ch. 1; Farrell, E., ‘A most diabolical deed’: infanticide and Irish society, 1850–1900 (Manchester, 2013), pp. 166–7; McCabe, D., ‘Open court: law and the expansion of magisterial jurisdiction at petty sessions in nineteenth-century Ireland’, in Dawson, N. M., ed., Reflections on law and history: Irish Legal History Society discourses and other papers, 2000–2005 (Dublin, 2006), pp. 126–50; idem, ‘Magistrates, peasants and the petty session courts, Mayo, 1823–1850’, Cathair na Mart, 5 (1985), pp. 4553; McMahon, R., ‘“For fear of the vengeance”: the prosecution of homicide in pre-Famine and Famine Ireland’, in McMahon, R., ed., Crime, law and popular culture in Europe, 1500–1900 (Cullompton, 2008), pp. 138–89.

24 Davies, ‘Newspapers and popular belief’, pp. 144–5; Waters, T., ‘Magic and the British middle classes, 1750–1900’, Journal of British Studies, 54 (2015), pp. 632–53, at p. 646.

25 Barclay, K., ‘Stereotypes as political resistance: the Irish police court columns, c. 1820–1845’, Social History, 42 (2017), pp. 257–80, at pp. 261–4, at p. 262.

26 Ibid., p. 262.

27 Waters, ‘Magic and middle classes’, pp. 633, 639–44.

28 Ibid., pp. 644 n. 31.

29 Fulton, ‘Conjurors and courtrooms’, chs. 3 and 4.

30 Davies, ‘Newspapers and popular belief’, pp. 155–6, 164; Waters, ‘Magic and middle classes’, pp. 632–53.

31 For further examples, see Belfast Newsletter, 11 Apr. 1834, 16 Aug. 1856; and Irish Times, 16 Aug. 1886.

32 Waterford Chronicle, 6 July 1844.

33 Cork Examiner, 5 July 1844; Tipperary Vindicator, 10 July 1844.

34 Waterford Chronicle, 6 July 1844.

35 Irish Times, 18 July 1879.

36 Kildare Observer, 7 July 1900.

37 For examples of this, see Nenagh Guardian, 20 Aug. 1870; Belfast Newsletter, 9 June 1870, 25 July 1870; Irish Times, 18 July 1879.

38 Barclay, ‘Irish police court columns’, p. 262.

39 See cases in section III below for examples of this.

40 See Belfast Newsletter, 11 Apr. 1834, 28 July 1869; Roscommon Journal and Impartial Reporter, 22 Oct. 1864; Ballymena Observer, 28 Apr. 1911.

41 Bourke, A., The burning of Bridget Cleary: a true story (London, 1999), pp. 128–9. See also Irish Times, 5, 13 July 1895; Times, 22 July 1895; and Southern Star, 6 July 1895.

42 See Anglo-Celt, 16 Apr. 1857; Dublin Weekly Journal, 26 Apr. 1864; Irish Times, 27 Apr. 1895; Irish Independent, 30 Apr. 1921; A. Sneddon, ‘Witchcraft, representation and memory in modern Ireland’, forthcoming.

43 For a discussion of these sources, see Almqvist, Bo, ‘Irish migratory legends on the supernatural’, Béaloideas, 59 (1991), pp. 143; idem, ‘The Irish Folklore Commission: achievement and legacy’, Béaloideas, 45–7 (1977–9), pp. 6–26; MacCárthaigh, C., Ó Catháin, S., uí Ógáin, R., and Watson, S., eds., Treasures of the National Folklore Collection (Dublin, 2010).

44 Conley, Melancholy accidents, pp. 8–9; Vaughan, W. E., Murder trials in Ireland, 1836–1914 (Dublin, 2009), pp. 35.

45 McCabe, ‘Open court’, pp. 128, 137–8.

46 Other occupations given include: 4 servants, 3 cunning-folk, a tailor, a publican, a schoolteacher, and a retired police constable.

47 The province/county breakdown is as follows: Ulster = 19 cases: Down 6, Antrim 5, Cavan 5, Tyrone 2, Fermanagh 1; Munster = 13 cases: Tipperary 4, Cork 1, Kerry 2; Limerick 2, Clare 2, Waterford 2; Connaught = 7 cases: Leitrim 2, Galway 1, Sligo 3, and Mayo 1; Leinster = 8 cases: Dublin 2, Wexford 1, Kilkenny 1, Carlow 1, Louth 1, Queens, 2. Source: Irish newspapers, 1822–1922.

48 Howlin, ‘Criminal justice’, pp. 82–3.

49 For a witchcraft case that does not follow this pattern, see the below discussion of the trials of David and Letitia Boyd in Co. Antrim in 1896.

50 Waters, ‘Maleficent witchcraft’. See also Davies, O., ‘Urbanisation and the decline of witchcraft: an examination of London’, Journal of Social History, 30 (1997), pp. 597617.

51 For an overview of Irish petty sessions, see McCabe, ‘Open court’, pp. 126–62. Owen Davies has made the same argument in relation to witchcraft in late nineteenth-century Somerset: Davies, O., A people bewitched: witchcraft and magic in nineteenth-century Somerset (Trowbridge, 1999), p. 112.

52 Davies, O., Popular magic: cunning-folk in English history (London, 2007); de Blécourt and Davies, eds., Witchcraft continued, chs. 2, 7, 8, 9.

53 See Sneddon, Witchcraft in Ireland, chs. 3, 7; Fulton, ‘Conjurors and courtrooms’, chs. 1, 5–6.

54 Gaskill, M., Crime and mentalities in early modern England (Cambridge, 2000), pp. 57–8; Davies, People bewitched, pp. 141–6, 150; Sneddon, Witchcraft in Ireland, p. 60.

55 Fitzpatrick, D., ‘Class, family and rural unrest in nineteenth-century Ireland’, in Drudy, P. J., ed., Ireland, land, politics and people (London, 1982), pp. 3941, 53–5; Brophy, C. S., ‘“What nobody does now”: imaginative resistance of rural labouring women’, in Brophy, C. S. and Delay, C., eds., Women, reform and resistance in Ireland, 1850–1950 (Basingstoke, 2015), p. 185; Conley, Melancholy accidents, p. 5.

56 Proudfoot, L., ‘Markets, fairs and towns in Ireland, c. 1600–1853’, in Borsay, P. and Proudfoot, L., eds., Provincial towns in England and Ireland: change, convergence and divergence (Oxford, 2002), p. 95; L. Kennedy and P. M. Solar, ‘The rural economy, 1600–1914’, in Kennedy and Ollerenshaw, eds., Ulster since 1600, pp. 170–3.

57 Miller, I., Reforming food in post-Famine Ireland: medicine, science and improvement, 1845–1922 (Manchester, 2014), pp. 121–4; Bourke, Bridget Cleary, pp. 100–1, 146–7. See also Downey, L., ‘The Cork butter exchange, 1770–1924’, Ulster Folklife, 57 (2014), pp. 3347.

58 Jenkins, ‘Witches and fairies’, p. 305.

59 O'Donnell, I., ‘Lethal violence in Ireland, 1841 to 2003: famine, celibacy and parental pacification’, British Journal of Criminology, 5 (2005), pp. 671–95, at pp. 673–7, 683; idem, ‘Killing in Ireland’, pp. 61, 71; Urquhart, D., ‘Irish divorce and domestic violence, 1857–1922’, Women's History Review, 22 (2013), pp. 820–37, at pp. 825–7; Finnane, M., ‘A decline in violence in Ireland? Crime, policing and social relations, 1860–1914’, Crime, History and Societies, 1 (1997), pp. 5170; Conley, C. A., ‘The agreeable recreation of fighting’, Journal of Social History, 33 (1999), pp. 5772; idem, Melancholy accidents, pp. 7, 17, 20–37, 51–9, 215; McMahon, R., Homicide in pre-Famine and Famine Ireland (Liverpool, 2013); , idem, ‘“A violent society”? Homicide rates in Ireland, 1831–1850’, Irish Economic and Social History, 36 (2009), pp. 120; McCullagh, C., ‘A tie that binds: family and ideology in Ireland’, Economic and Social Review, 22 (1991), pp. 199211.

60 Conley, Melancholy accidents, pp. 90–7.

61 Cork Examiner, 12 Nov. 1861; Evening Freeman, 16 Nov. 1861; Waterford Chronicle, 22 Nov. 1861; Mitchelstown petty sessions order book, 8 Nov. 1861, National Archives Ireland (NAI), court order books: petty session books, CS/PS1/7278.

62 Irish Examiner, 12 Nov. 1861.

63 Irish Times, 21 Apr. 1879; Roscommon and Leitrim Gazette, 26 Apr. 1879. For similar cases in Co. Limerick in 1880, and in Co. Waterford in 1888, see Dublin Daily Express, 28 May 1880; Munster Express, 26 May 1888.

64 Conley, Melancholy accidents, pp. 32–3.

65 Nationalist and Leinster Times, 15 July 1893.

66 Nenagh Guardian, 20 Aug. 1856. See also Belfast Newsletter, 16 Aug. 1856.

67 Kerry Sentinel, 14 May 1892; Census Ireland, 1901, www.census.nationalarchives.ie; Kerry Evening Post, 11 May 1892; Irish Examiner, 11 May 1892.

68 Kerry Evening Post, 10 Aug. 1892; Census Ireland, 1901. See also Kerry Weekly Reporter, 13 Aug. 1892.

69 Dundalk Democrat, 13 July 1901; Forkhill petty sessions order book, July 1901, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), HA/1/52/A/26.

70 Kilkenny People, 22 Feb. 1908; Census Ireland, 1911, www.census.nationalarchives.ie.

71 Anglo-Celt, 2 Nov. 1918; Census Ireland, 1911.

72 Anglo-Celt, 2 Nov. 1918.

73 Waters, ‘Witchcraft in Oxfordshire’, p. 107; Porter, ‘Witchcraft and magic’, pp. 266–72.

74 Irish Times, 14 June 1911; Census Ireland, 1911.

75 Dublin Daily Express, 15 July 1911; Castlebar, Co. Mayo, prison register, 10 June 1911, NAI, Castlebar prison registers, 1878–1919, book number 1/4/4, item 2. For asylums and criminal lunacy in nineteenth-century Ireland, see Cox, C., Negotiating insanity in the southeast of Ireland, 1820–1900 (Manchester, 2012); Finnane, M., Insanity and the insane in post-Famine Ireland (London, 1981), ch. 3; Prior, P. M., Madness and murder: gender, crime and mental disorder in nineteenth-century Ireland (Dublin, 2008), chs. 1–3.

76 O'Donnell, ‘Killing’, pp. 59–62.

77 Tipperary Vindicator, 21 May 1861.

78 Tipperary Free Press, 3 July 1866. See also William O'Brien [complainant], James Keane [defendant], Bansha petty sessions, Co. Tipperary, 2 July 1866, NAI, court order books: petty session books, CS/PS 1/9267.

79 Anglo-Celt, 18 July 1896.

80 Anglo-Celt, 11 July 1908; Census Ireland, 1911.

81 James McCaffrey [complainant], Mary McCaffrey [defendant], Belturbet petty sessions, Co. Cavan, 4 July 1908, NAI, court order books: Co. Cavan petty session books, CS/PS 1/2574.

82 Anglo-Celt, 9 Jan. 1851.

83 Dublin Evening Mail, 6 July 1860. See also King's County Chronicle, 11 July 1860; Kerry Evening Post, 11 July 1860.

84 Belfast Newsletter, 31 Mar. 1837.

85 O'Donnell, ‘Lethal violence’, p. 672.

86 Cork Constitution, 21 Sept. 1864; Carlow Post, 24 Sept. 1864; Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier, 20 Sept. 1864.

87 Nenagh Guardian, 9 Oct. 1895; Thomas Meehan [complainant], William Burke [defendant], 19 Sept. 1895, NAI, court order books: Cahir petty sessions, Co. Tipperary, CS/PS 1/2789. Thomas Meehan [complainant], William Burke [defendant], 3 Oct. 1895, NAI, CS/PS 1/2789.

88 Belfast Newsletter, 18 Mar. 1896, 19 Mar. 1896, 20 Mar. 1896, 2 July 1897, 9 July 1897, 16 July 1897; Pall Mall Gazette, 20 Mar. 1896; Freeman's Journal, 20 Mar. 1896; crown book of Carrickfergus, 1894–9, PRONI, ANT/1/2/B/2; true bill, Carrickfergus spring assizes, 17 Mar. 1896, PRONI, ANT/1/2/L/6/8; petty sessions district of Whiteabbey, 14 Mar. 1896, PRONI, ANT/1/2/L/6/8/29.

89 In nineteenth-century England, magistrates were similarly approached to bring criminal charges of witchcraft despite a lack of statutory provision: Davies, Witchcraft, magic and culture, pp. 100–3.

90 Freeman's Journal, 8 Sept. 1830. See also Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier, 9 Sept. 1830; Morning Post, 16 Sept. 1830.

91 Clare Journal, and Ennis Advertiser, 26 May 1856.

92 Westmeath Independent, 12 Nov. 1853.

93 Tyrone Constitution, 15 Feb. 1867. See also Enniskillen Chronicle and Erne Packet, 28 Feb. 1867.

94 Belfast Newsletter, 25 July 1870.

95 Kerry News, 6 May 1902; Waterford Standard, 7 May 1902; Kildare Observer, 10 May 1902.

96 Waterford Standard, 21 May 1902.

97 Monod, P. Kléber, Solomon's secret arts: the occult in the Age of Enlightenment (London, 2013), p. 202; Davies, Witchcraft, magic and culture, pp. 96–119.

98 Davies, People bewitched, pp. 114–16.

99 Davies, Witchcraft, magic and culture, pp. 97, 118–19, 196–7; Waters, ‘Magic and middle classes’, p. 645. For European ‘reverse witch trials’: Blécourt, W. De, ‘The continuation of witchcraft’, in Barry, J., Hester, M., and Roberts, G., eds., Witchcraft in early modern Europe: studies in culture and belief (Cambridge, 1996), pp. 343–50; L. Oja, ‘The superstitious other’, in Davies and de Blécourt, eds., Beyond the witch trials, pp. 69–80.

100 Davies, Witchcraft, magic and culture, p. 193.

101 Waters, ‘Witchcraft in Oxfordshire’, pp. 102–3.

102 Davies, Witchcraft, magic and culture, pp. 177, 189, 196–9, 210; idem, People bewitched, pp. 2, 109–14.

103 England and Wales had a population of 8.9 million in 1801, rising to 32.5 million in 1901. Ireland had 6.8 million people in 1801, and 4.5 million in 1901: Black, J. and MacRaild, D. M., Nineteenth-century Britain (Basingstoke, 2003), p. 170.

104 Waters, ‘Witchcraft in Oxfordshire’, p. 106.

105 Howlin, ‘Criminal justice’, p. 84.

106 Belfast Commercial Chronicle, 9 July 1827.

107 Anglo-Celt, 1 Oct. 1904.

108 See McMahon, T. G., ‘Religion and culture in nineteenth-century Ireland’, History Compass, 5 (2007), pp. 845–64, at p. 855.

The authors thank the Historical Journal’s anonymous reviewers, Dr Elaine Farrell, Dr Kyle Hughes, Dr Leanne McCormick, and Dr John Privilege for their valuable comments on earlier drafts of this article.

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