Scottish Archive Network Exhibitions

Other Exhibitions
The Cost of Justice
Taking into Custody
Committing for Trial
Sentence of Death

This exhibition consists of images of documents which illustrate the part played by Scottish burghs in seventeenth century witch-hunts. The documents concerned are among the records of the burgh of Dumfries, and date from 1650 to 1671. The original documents will be on display in Dumfries Museum as part of the conference: COVENS AND COVENANTERS: Witchcraft and Religion in South West Scotland.
image of a prisoner

The Conference will be held on Saturday 11 May 2002 in Easterbrook Hall, The Crichton, Bankend Road, Dumfries, and is part of Dumfries & Galloway's Local History Week 2002. For further information and a booking form
click here.

Burghs and witch-hunts
Those accused of witchcraft were prosecuted by ecclesiastical and criminal courts in Scotland, but burghs were invaluable to witch-hunters as a civil power which could incarcerate suspected witches, accommodate the court or judicial commission which tried them, and carry out the execution (which in Scotland was normally strangulation followed by burning). Burgh records contain evidence of witch-hunts, trials and executions, as this exhibitions shows. The images also illustrate the problems associated with documents of this period, including difficult handwriting.


map showing Dumfries and Kirkcudbright
Map showing the location of the two burghs which feature in the documents.
Click on the headings in the left-hand menu to find out more.

More information about the history of witchcraft and witch-hunts in Scotland can be found in the Knowledge Base by clicking here.

The Scottish Archive Network is grateful to Miss Marion Stewart MBE, Archivist for Dumfries and Galloway Council for her help in the mounting of this online exhibition.