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Table 4 Marital status of female witches

Table 4 Marital status of female witches widows and would confirm his opinion that widowhood was a serious problem but that widowhood alone was not enough to make villagers accuse someone of witchcraft52.

Furthermore, the figures in Table 4 show that having the "male protection" of a husband was not enough security against the accusation of witchcraft. So witches exercised their female power over other people even if a husband was present. This appeared to be the case of Cecilia Celles whose husband believed his wife was a witch: when his son told him that he had seen imps, he said to his wife "why thou whore cannot you keepe your impes from my childre~[...] whereat shee presently called it away fro~ her sonne"53 Unfortunately for Henry Celles, believing that his wife as a witch was not enough to save him from the same accusations: he was also accused of witchcraft (arson) and held in gaol in Colchester but was released on bail before the Assizes took place. He is an example of a male that became implicated through the actions of his wife. 54

Having examined the larger picture of all the witchcraft indictments for 1560 to 1603 within Essex, examining a small "pocket" of witchcraft can give further insight into sixteenth century female power. The small village of Hatfield Peverel appeared to be a strong hold of either witchcraft practices or the belief in witchcraft (or perhaps both). Table 5 shows the ten witches accused of witchcraft over a twenty-three year period, all of whom were living in Hatfield Peverel

MacFarlane, A; Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England; p164

W. W; A true and iust recorde, of the information, examination and confession of all the witches Harris, A; Witch-hunt; p65

Year

Surname

First Name

Relationship to other accused?

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