Campaign to pardon the ‘Bideford witches’

08:00 14 September 2012

Dr Chris Nash has written a book about the Bideford Witches.

Dr Chris Nash has written a book about the Bideford Witches.

Archant

A former Bideford resident is campaigning to the government to pardon the last three women executed for witchcraft 330 years ago.

MORE than 300 years ago three Bideford women became the last to be hung for witchcraft in England, and now one woman is campaigning to have them pardoned.

Psychologist and self proclaimed ‘political animal’ Dr Chris Nash wrote a book about the lives of the ‘Bideford witches’ who were hung in August 1682.

Dr Nash, who grew up in Bideford but now lives in Canada, is urging people to sign a petition to the government to pardon Temperance Lloyd, Susannah Edwards and Mary Trembles.

She said: “In January 2009, I wrote a novella, ‘In the Hope’, and read an excerpt to a gathering that included a well-known writer who told me to write it into a novel.

“So I wrote ‘Temperance Lloyd’, deriving the women’s lives partly from my own childhood in a house built in their time, remembering a mother who treated our ailments with herbs we grew.

“My work is historical fiction, but I grew to love the women as I created them; any of us could have been one of them.

“They did nothing wrong. They were victims of circumstance, as were most of the people who accused them.

“They should be pardoned, if only as representatives of the over 450 people who died as witches in Britain.”

Dr Nash is planning a year-long campaign to try and gather 100,000 signatures to support the posthumous pardon.

At a meeting of Bideford Town Council in June, Councillor Peter Christie put forward a motion to erect a plaque in memory of the three women.

Anyone wishing to support Dr Nash’s campaign can sign the e petition at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/37616

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4 comments

  • I would dearly love to sign the Petition, but I live in Canada as does the creator of the petition. Unfortunately, since I do not live in the UK the form will not accept my signature.

    Report this comment

    Sophronia

    Sunday, September 16, 2012

  • Shaun Underwood

    Friday, September 14, 2012

  • Hiya I wish you well and I,am also trying to get other women and men a pardon and I am just starting to peace the fact together with the help from a Auther and he said this about the task at hand.As regards extracting apologies from the church, I think you'll find most people within and outside the modern church will agree that what happened was appalling and no one will want to defend the persecutions - but many will argue that in the final analysis it's ancient history and (rightly or wrongly) that the world has changed, making an official apology relatively meaningless. Probably the best we can do for the poor victims of the trials etc is to continue to tell their stories, if only to honour their memory and to prevent such outrages happening again in the future (and, indeed, taking place among immigrant communities in the UK today). I would like to help where and how I can. I truly hope you set the way for others like myself. Please do feel free to contact me and I hope you could help me in my task. As everything that happened to these so called witches as wrong and in human in the name of god.

    Report this comment

    Shaun Underwood

    Friday, September 14, 2012

  • I hope you get this as this is now the 5th time I had to write this as it seem to always say Error!!. Maybe it just me? .Anyways I would like to chat with you about your task as I am undertaking the same home office and also meetings with the Church with regards to the witch craft trails and the burning os so called witches in in fact they were nothing more than just healer or just different from other ed outcasts, single mother, Would you burn a women today for being a single more or even father. It was wrong , the church knows it and so should the home office. I have been also in touch with another book writer of the same subject and this is what he had to say to me(As regards extracting apologies from the church, I think you'll find most people within and outside the modern church will agree that what happened was appalling and no one will want to defend the persecutions - but many will argue that in the final analysis it's ancient history and (rightly or wrongly) that the world has changed, making an official apology relatively meaningless. Probably the best we can do for the poor victims of the trials etc is to continue to tell their stories, if only to honour their memory and to prevent such outrages happening again in the future (and, indeed, taking place among immigrant communities in the UK today). Finding direct descendants of persecuted witches could, incidentally, be a daunting task given that most trials took place long before the first proper census was organised. It's not impossible, though - my own family tree has (if the links are correct) a witch on one side of the family and a witchfinder on the other! A great many people indeed may find similar stories in their own families, if they are lucky enough to have surviving records ) I would like to HELP and I hope you may help me by telling me who I need to talk to as I also with to have plaqe placed somewhere telling the story of the witchcraft trials and the burning of Innocent men, women and at times kids. it was wrong then. its still wrong now and by god someone needs to say sorry for this.

    Report this comment

    Shaun Underwood

    Friday, September 14, 2012

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