Prejudices that led to witch-hunts still affect women today, says historian

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Prejudices that led to witch-hunts hundreds of years agone person not disappeared and women are inactive connected the receiving extremity of men’s anger, a starring historiographer has said.

Writing successful the Radio Times, Lucy Worsley, a historiographer and author, said: “[Although] we similar to deliberation we’re amended than the radical who hunted witches, witch-hunting inactive happens successful immoderate parts of the satellite today.”

The prejudices that led to witch-hunts successful the 16th and 17th centuries proceed to beryllium and women, particularly outspoken ones, were inactive targeted by men, she said.

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She said: “The prejudices that led to witch-hunts haven’t wholly disappeared. It’s inactive the lawsuit that women – particularly odd-seeming, mouthy ones – often consciousness the choler of the men whose hackles they raise.

“Today, ever truthful galore people, but possibly women successful particular, consciousness a consciousness of kinship with our ancestors who were persecuted successful this way. Anyone who has ever been enactment down arsenic a ‘difficult’ pistillate hears a distant echo of the past.”

The historian’s four-part series, Lucy Worsley Investigates, takes a person look astatine the experiences of radical who “lacked powerfulness successful the past”, with 1 specified illustration being Agnes Sampson, a Scottish pistillate who was accused of being a witch and burned astatine the involvement successful 1591.

On International Women’s Day successful March, the archetypal curate of Scotland issued an apology to the 4,000 radical successful the country, the immense bulk being women, who were convicted and often executed nether the Witchcraft Act of 1563.

“Those who met this destiny were not witches, they were people, and they were overwhelmingly women,” Nicola Sturgeon said. “At a clip erstwhile women were not adjacent allowed to talk arsenic witnesses successful a courtroom, they were accused and killed due to the fact that they were poor, different, susceptible oregon successful galore cases conscionable due to the fact that they were women.”

According to Worsley, Sampson was lone 1 of the galore women accused of witchcraft successful 16th- and 17th-century Scotland, and “represents represents ever truthful galore more”.

She said: “I’m glad, 400 years later, that radical speechmaking this volition besides larn of her sanction and achievements, arsenic good arsenic the horrible, unjust mode successful which her beingness came to an end.”

Worsley, who was awarded an OBE successful 2018 for her services to past and heritage, is the associated main curator and Historic Royal Palaces.

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