Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Beneficent Witchcraft: One Hundred And Seven Sources

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The one hundred and seven sources listed below all do one or more of the following:

1. Attest to the attribution of beneficent magical powers to Witches.
2. Attest to the usage of the phrases "good Witch," "white Witch," etc.
3. Attest to the equivalence of the term "Witch" with "wise woman", "wise wife", or "cunning woman", and/or attest to the association of Witches with wisdom and knowledge.
4. Attest to the use of the word "Witch" to refer to those who resisted Christianization and continued to follow the Old Religion.

Most of these sources come from the times of the Witch Hunts themselves (or even earlier), and their first hand accounts of Witches as practitioners of beneficial magic, as well as their use of phrases such as "good Witch", are in every case seamlessly consistent with later sources. Nor is there any evidence for the claim that the way in which the words "Witch" and "Witchcraft" are used in the sources listed here is in any way anomalous or neatly confined to certain social classes or subject to any of the other fanciful limitations that some have claimed.

Each entry in the list links either to the full text of the source in question, or some other helpful online resource Many of the sources are discussed elsewhere in this blog, such as in the following posts:

Lastly, tt should be noted that this list is strictly limited to English language sources using the English words "Witch" and "Witchcraft", with the one exception of the the late 16th century Welsh language dialogue by Robert Holland (for which a modern English translation of some passages can be found in the paper by Stuart Clark and P.T.J. Morgan linked to below).


  1. Piers Plowman, (ca. 1380) William Langland
  2. The Bible, (ca. 1385) John Wycliffe
  3. Polychronicon, (1387) English translation by John Trevisa
  4. The Bible, (1526) William Tyndale
  5. Witchcraft Act, (1542)
  6. Sermon by Bishop Hugh Latimer, (1552) 
  7. The Examination of John Walsh Touching Witchcraft and Sorcerie, (1566) 
  8. The Vanitie and Uncertaintie of Artes andSciences, (1569) English translation by James Sanford of Cornelius Agrippa's De incertitudine et vanitate omnium scientiarum et artium liber
  9. The trial and execution of Jonet Boyman, (1578)
  10. The trial of Ursula Kempe, (1582)  
  11. Discoverie of Witchcraft, (1584) Reginald Scot
  12. A Discourse of the subtill Practises of Devills by Witches and Sorcerers, (1587) George Gifford
  13. A Discourse of the Damned Art of Witchcraft, (ca 1590) Willliam Perkins
  14. A Treatise Against Witchcraft, (1590) Henry Holland  
  15. Trial of Agnes Sampson, (1591)
  16. Dialogue on Witchcraft, (ca 1595) Robert Holland
  17. The White Witch of Westminster, (date unknown) Anonymous
  18. Daemonologie, (1597) James I
  19. Trial of Christiane Lewingstoun, (1597)
  20. The Merry Wives of Windsor, (1602) William Shakespeare 
  21. ROBERT CAWDREY'S A TABLE ALPHABETICAL, (1604)
  22. Transcript of the trial of Joan Jurdie, (1605) 
  23. The Captain, (1612) John Fletcher and Francis Beaumont
  24. Sathan Transformed into an Angell of Light, (1617) Thomas Cooper
  25. The Countrey Justice, (1618) Michael Dalton
  26. The Anatomy of Melancholy, (1621) Robert Burton
  27. Anything For A Quiet Life, (1621) Thomas Middleton and John Webster
  28. A Guide to Grand Iury Men, (1627) Richard Bernard
  29. The Winnowing of White Witchcraft, (1630) Edward Poeton
  30. The Trial of Issobell Sinclair, (1633)
  31. Select Cases of Conscience touching Witches and Witchcraft, (1646) John Gaule
  32. A Confirmation and Discovery of Witchcraft, (1648) John Stearne 
  33. The Divels Delusions, or, a Faithful Relation of John Palmer and Elizabeth Knott, Two Notorious Witches, (1649) Author unknown
  34. The Witch of Wapping, (1652) Anonymous
  35. A Candle in the Dark, (1656) Thomas Ady
  36. Glossographia Anglicana Nova, (1656) Thomas Blount
  37. The New World of English Words, or, a General Dictionary, (1658) Edward Phillips
  38. Daimonomageia, a Small Treatise of Sickness and Diseases from Witchcraft, (1665) William Drage
  39. Letter from Henry More to Joseph Glanvill, (ca. 1667) Henry More
  40. The Present State of Russia, (1671) Samuel Collins
  41. The Discovery of the Impostures of Witches and Astrologers, (1680) John Brinley
  42. Saducismus Triumphatus OR, Full and Plain EVIDENCE Concerning WITCHES AND APPARITIONS (1681) Joseph Glanvill
  43. The Medal, (1682) John Dryden
  44. Remarkable Providences, (1684) Increase Mather
  45. Pandaemonium, or, The Devil's Cloyster, (1684)
  46. The Certainty of the World of the Spirits, (1691) Richard Baxter 
  47. Wonders of the Invisible World, (1693) Cotton Mather
  48. Court records from the trial of Henry Baron, (1694)
  49. A Modest Enquiry Into the Nature of Witchcraft, (1697) John Hale
  50. The Diary of Humphrey Michel, (August 15, 1709) 
  51. Sir Roger De Coverly and the Gipsies, (1711) Joseph Addison
  52. THE CASEOF THE Hertfordshire WITCHCRAFT CONSIDER'D, (1712)
  53. The Drummer, (1715) Joseph Addison
  54. "An Extract of the information of 25 persons at Leister assizes against an old women her son and daughter for witchcraft ....", (1717) 
  55. An Historical Essay Concerning Wichcraft, (1718) Francis Hutchinson 
  56. The Mistake (a "Poetical Essay"), (1734)
  57. Some Account of Merlin and the Figures that attend him, in the new erected Cave at Richmond, (1735) London Magazine, December 1735 
  58. A Dictionary of the English Language, (1755) Samuel Johnson
  59. The curious recipe of a white Witch, (1756) London Magains, vol. 25
  60. Observations on Popular Antiquities, Chiefly Illustrating the Origin of our Vulgar Customs, Ceremonies and Superstitions, (1777) John Brand
  61. The Antiquities of England and Wales, (1785) Francis Grose
  62. A Provincial Glossary, (1787) Francis Grose
  63. An account of the life and writings of David Hume, (1807) Thomas Edward Ritchie
  64. An Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, (1808) John Jamieson
  65. The Antiquary, (1816) Walter Scott
  66. The Lambton Worm, (1820) Robert Surtees 
  67. Kenilworth, (1821) Walter Scott
  68. Lord Byron's Combolio, (1822) Blaise Fitztravesty (possibly a pseudonym for Charles Lamb, according to Bertram Dobell)
  69. Etymologicon universale, (1825) Walter Whiter 
  70. An Etymological Dictionary of the Latin Language, (1828) Francis Edward Jackson Valpy
  71. Letters on Demonlogy and Witchcraft, (1829) Walter Scott
  72. The Rise and Progress of Witchcraft, (1829) Gentleman's Magazine
  73. "The Witch of End-Door", (1835) a joke attributed to Charles Lamb in Edward Lucas' "Life of Charles Lamb"
  74. The Doctor, (1835) Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine
  75. Deutche Mythologie, (1835) Jacob Grimm
  76. The Legend of the Lambton Worm, (1840) Tait's Edinburgh Magazine 
  77. Remains Historical and Literary Connected With The Palatine Counties of Lancaster and Chester, vol. VI, (1845) James Crossley
  78. Narratives of Socery and Magic, From the Most Authentic Sources, (1851) Thomas Wright 
  79. Westward Ho, (1855) Charles Kingsley
  80. Witch Stories, (1861) Eliza Lynn Linton
  81. Legends and Traditions of Cornwall, (1871) 
  82. Diabolism, (1872) Edward Turney 
  83. A Recent Case of Supposed Witchcraft, (1875)Paul Q. Karkeek
  84. The White Witch of Devon, (1877) R.P. Hampton Roberts
  85. Relics Of Old Customs and Beliefs Still Observable In Devonshire, (1878), Paul Q. Karkeek
  86. An Icelandic Prose Reader, (1878) Guthbrand Vigfusson, Frederick York Powell
  87. The Book of Days, (1878) Robert Chambers 
  88. Doctors, or The Science of Medical Thought Among the People, (1879) W.R. Bartlett, M.D.
  89. A Supplementary English Glossary, (1881) Thomas Lewis Owen Davies
  90. The White Witch: A Novel in Three Parts, (1884) Florence Warden
  91. The White Witch of Worcester: A Tale of the Barons' Wars, (1885) James Skipp Borlase
  92. The Vicar of Morwenstow, (1888) Sabine Baring-Gould
  93. Witch, Warlock, and Magician, (1889) W.H. Davenport Adams
  94. A history of the parishes of St. Ives, Lelant, Towednack and Zennor, (1892) John Hobson Matthews
  95. Etruscan Roman Remains in Popular Tradition, (1892) Charles Godfrey Leland
  96. Women, Church, and State, (1893) Matilda Joslyn Gage
  97. Cock Lane and Common Sense, (1894) Andrew Lang 
  98. Dictionary of National Biography, (1895) [see entry for Ruth Osborne]
  99. English Etymology, (1898) Friedrich Kluge and Frederick Lutz
  100. Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches, (1899) Charles Godfrey Leland
  101. A Book of the West, Volume 1, Devon, (1899) by Sabine Baring-Gould
  102. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, (1900) Frank L. Baum
  103. Malay Magic, (1900) Walter William Skeat 
  104. A Dictionary of Miracles: Imitative, Realistic, and Dogmatic, (1901) Ebenezer Cobham Brewer [see the section on Ruth Osborne in the chapter on "Witches and Familiar Spirits (England)"]
  105. Girls' Christian Names, (1905) Helena Swan [see entry for Ruth]
  106. A History of Witchcraft in England from 1558 to 1718, (1909) Wallace Notestein
  107. Handbook of Folklore, (1914) Charles Sop Burne


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