Witch Memorials of Scotland
The Witch Persecutions of the 15th to 17th century were a horrific time in Scottish history when an estimated 4,000 people were executed as accused witches. Communities were torn apart by accusations of witchcraft, aimed at cunning men and women using traditional remedies to heal the sick; old women who perhaps stood apart from the rest of the population; strangers to the area - or indeed anyone against whom someone might have a grudge. It was a terrifying time with an all-powerful Church and laws influenced by the zealot beliefs of King James VII, amongst several other factors. The way in which the victims of the witch trials are viewed has changed drastically over the centuries, from being viewed as the minions of Satan to people who lost their lives thanks to intolerance. Scotland is now remembering it's so-called witches in a different light, commemorating rather than vilifying them. With talk of a national memorial to Scottish 'witches', Gregor Stewart looks at the local memorials already in existence and the stories they tell.