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Unit Summary

Unit type

UG Coursework Unit

Credit points

12

AQF level

7

Level of learning

Intermediate

Former School/College

Former School of Law and Justice

Unit aim

Introduces students to the criminalisation and prosecution of witchcraft in England during the sixteenth, seventeenth, and early eighteenth centuries. It will focus on the social background to such allegations, the black letter law governing the crimes, and the pre-trial and trial process by which such cases were determined.

Unit content

Topic 1: Introduction and the Medieval Legacy

Topic 2: Candidates for Witch-hood

Topic 3: A Witch’s Career

Topic 4: Living with the Witch

Topic 5: The Witchcraft Statutes

Topic 6: Specialist Tests for Establishing Witchcraft

Topic 7: Entering the Criminal Justice System

Topic 8: The Witch Trial

Topic 9: Late Jacobean and Caroline Witchcraft Prosecutions

Topic 10: The Civil War and Interregnum

Topic 11: From Restoration to Abolition

Topic 12: General Themes

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

GA1: , GA2: , GA3: , GA4: , GA5: , GA6: , GA7:
On completion of this unit, students should be able to: GA1 GA2 GA3 GA4 GA5 GA6 GA7
1 describe the social environment in which witchcraft allegations arose, and why only a small minority of those suspected of such activity were formally prosecuted
2 explain the black letter law established by the three major statutes governing the crime of witchcraft
3 outline the unusual evidential challenges posed by witch trials and investigations, and the unique responses that developed to meet them
4 identify continuing themes between early-modern witch trials and present-day criminal hearings
5 demonstrate their skills in legal history research, critical analysis and the written presentation of research and argument
6 demonstrate knowledge of the history of witchcraft as a felony in England and Wales

On completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. describe the social environment in which witchcraft allegations arose, and why only a small minority of those suspected of such activity were formally prosecuted
    • GA4:
  2. explain the black letter law established by the three major statutes governing the crime of witchcraft
    • GA7:
  3. outline the unusual evidential challenges posed by witch trials and investigations, and the unique responses that developed to meet them
    • GA4:
    • GA7:
  4. identify continuing themes between early-modern witch trials and present-day criminal hearings
    • GA1:
  5. demonstrate their skills in legal history research, critical analysis and the written presentation of research and argument
    • GA1:
  6. demonstrate knowledge of the history of witchcraft as a felony in England and Wales
    • GA4: