Talk | Witchfinder General: Matthew Hopkins and the East Anglian Witch-Hunt

A talk from author and historian Malcolm Gaskill

As part of Creativity Matters: Conflict and Culture

£10 all tickets

Seats for this event have now sold out, however two wheelchair spaces are still available. Please call 01206 713 700 to book.

In the spring of 1645, at the height of the English civil war, two godly gentlemen, Matthew Hopkins and John Stearne, began interrogating women suspected of witchcraft in a remote corner of Essex.

This talk tells the terrible story of how the so-called ‘Witchfinder General’ extended his campaign across East Anglia, triggering the most brutal witch-hunt in English history. Exploiting the anxiety and lawlessness of the times, and cheered on by ordinary folk, Hopkins and Stearne extracted confessions of satanic pacts resulting in scores of executions by the time their bloody campaign ended in 1647.

Malcolm Gaskill is Professor of Early Modern History at the University of East Anglia. He is the author of five books, including Hellish Nell: Last of Britain’s Witches (2001) and Witchfinders: A Seventeenth-Century English Tragedy (2005).

He recently led a major research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust entitled ‘Inner Lives: Emotion, Identity and the Supernatural, 1300–1900’, and was an Associate Curator of Spellbound: Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft, an exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

This talk will last approximately 50 minutes, with the opportunity to ask questions afterwards.

As part of ‘Creativity Matters: Conflict and Culture’: a series of public talks throughout February and March which will explore the themes and stories behind Firstsite’s Conflict and Culture artistic programme.