The Samlesbury witches were three women from the Lancashire village of
Samlesbury—Jane Southworth, Jennet Bierley, and Ellen Bierley—accused
by a 14-year-old girl, Grace Sowerbutts, of practising witchcraft.
Their trial at Lancaster Assizes in England on 19 August 1612 was one
in a series of witch trials held over two days, among the most famous
in English history. They were unusual for England at that time in two
respects: Thomas Potts, the clerk to the court, published the
proceedings in his The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie
of Lancaster; the number of the accused found guilty and hanged was
unusually high, ten at Lancaster and another at York. However, all
three Samlesbury witches were acquitted. The charges against the women
included child murder and cannibalism. In contrast, the others tried at
the same assizes, who included the Pendle witches, were accused of
maleficium—causing harm by witchcraft. The case against the three women
collapsed "spectacularly" when Grace Sowerbutts was exposed by the
trial judge to be "the perjuring tool of a Catholic priest". Many
historians, notably Hugh Trevor-Roper, have suggested that the witch
trials of the 16th and 17th century were a consequence of the religious
struggles of the period, with both Catholic and Protestant Churches
determined to stamp out what they regarded as heresy.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
German composer Richard Wagner's romantic opera Lohengrin, containing
the Bridal Chorus, was first performed under the direction of Hungarian
composer Franz Liszt in Weimar, present-day Germany.
In the first naval battle of World War I, British ships defeated the
German fleet in the Heligoland Bight area of the North Sea.
The August Uprising, an unsuccessful insurrection against the Soviet
rule in the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, began.
African-American teenager Emmett Till was murdered near Money,
Mississippi, for flirting with a white woman, energizing the nascent
American Civil Rights Movement.
Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech from the
steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., describing his
desire for a future where blacks and whites would coexist harmoniously
Wiktionary's word of the day:
1. To unroll or release, especially a sail or a flag.
2. (figuratively) To roll out or debut anything
Wikiquote quote of the day:
To which of the warring serpents should I turn with the problem that
now faces me?
It is easy, and tempting, to choose the god of Science. Now I would
not for a moment have you suppose that I am one of those idiots who
scorns Science, merely because it is always twisting and turning, and
sometimes shedding its skin, like the serpent that is its symbol. It is
a powerful god indeed but it is what the students of ancient gods
called a shape-shifter, and sometimes a trickster.
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