Pendle Hill Witches Project, United Kingdom - Institute for Field Research

Location: Preston , United Kingdom

June 16, 2019 to July 20, 2019

Application Deadline: 
Friday, April 5, 2019

Deadline Type: 

Flyer: PDF icon syllabus-uk-pendle-witch-2019.pdf

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



Institute for Field Research, Connecticut College, Vanderbilt University

Project Director:

Dr. Charles E. Orser, Jr.

Project Description

The trial and subsequent execution of ten alleged witches in 1612 is the most famous witchcraft event in English history. Scholars have long wrestled with issues surrounding witchcraft and magic, with the Pendle Hill story featuring prominently. Investigations have focused on multiple aspects of the social, economic, and political conditions of the early 17th century, but this is the first concerted effort to use anthropological archaeology to examine the material basis of witchcraft, the integration of traditional healers in society, and the material conditions of everyday life in Lancashire in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. In 2018, excavations revealed the possible remains of a house at Malkin Tower Farm, the long-assumed homesite of the famous family of witches. The excavation of this house site will continue in 2019 and hopefully reveal even more about the daily lives of England’s Early Modern healers.

Period(s) of Occupation: Historical Archaeology

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Participants are required to stay for the full duration of the field school.

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 
No prior experience is required to participate in this field school.

Room and Board Arrangements

 Students will be housed on the grounds of an outdoor center. Lunch and dinner meals will be communal. Staff, with the assistance of students, will purchase food on a weekly basis, so special diets can be accommodated within reason. Vegetarians should have no difficulty meeting their dietary needs.

Room and Board is included in the cost of the program.

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Connecticut College
Number of credits offered 8 Semester Credit


Contact Information
Institute for Field Research
2999 Overland Ave. Suite 103
Los Angeles
Recommended Bibliography: 


Clayton, John. 2007. The Lancashire Witch Conspiracy: A History of Pendle Forest and the 1612 Witch Trials. 2nd ed. Barrowford Press, Nelson. Part Two, pp. 138-228, 258-280.

----------- 2012. The Pendle Witch Fourth Centenary Handbook: History and Archaeology, Fact and Fiction, 1612-2012. Barrowford Press, Nelson. Part One, pp. 8-83, Part Two, pp. 84-146.


RECOMMENDED READINGS (About the 1612 Witchcraft Case)

Almond, Philip C. 2012. The Lancashire Witches: A Chronicle of Sorcery and Death on Pendle Hill. I. B. Tauris, London.

Cobban, Jennie Lee. 2011. The Lure of the Lancashire Witches. Palatine, Lancaster.

Froome, Joyce. 2010. Wicked Enchantments: The Pendle Witches and Their Magic. Palatine, Lancaster.

Goodier, Christine. 2011. 1612: The Lancashire Witches: A New Guide. Palatine, Lancaster.

Lumby, Jonathan. 1995. The Lancashire Witch Craze: Jennet Preston and the Lancashire Witches, 1612. Carnegie, Lancaster.

Peele, Edgar and Pat Southern. 1994. The Trials of the Lancashire Witches: A Study in Seventeenth-Century Witchcraft. Hendon, Nelson.

Poole, Robert (ed.). 2012. The Lancashire Witches: Histories and Stories. Manchester University Press, Manchester.

----------- (ed.). 2015. The Wonderful Discovery of Witches in the County of Lancaster: Thomas Potts’ Original Text Modernised and Introduced. Palatine, Lancaster.


Almond, Philip C. 2004. Demonic Possession and Exorcism in Early Modern England: Contemporary Texts and Their Cultural Contexts. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Ankarloo, Bengt, Stuart Clark, and William Monter. 2002. Witchcraft and Magic in Europe. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.

Borman, Tracy. 2014. Witches: James I and the English Witch Hunts. Vintage, London.

Hutton, Ronald (ed.). 2016. Physical Evidence for Ritual Acts, Sorcery, and Witchcraft in Christian Britain. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Kittredge, George Lyman. 1956. Witchcraft in Old and New England. Russell and Russell, New York.

Macfarlane, Alan. 1999. Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England: A Regional and Comparative Study. 2nd ed. Routledge, London.

Merrifield, Ralph. 1987. The Archaeology of Ritual and Magic. New Amsterdam, New York.

Orser, C. E., Jr. 2017. Historical Archaeology. 3rd ed. Routledge, London.

Sharpe, James. 2013. Witchcraft in Early Modern England. Routledge, London.

Thomas, Keith. 1991. Religion and the Decline of Magic. Penguin, London.

Wilson, Stephen. 2004. The Magical Universe: Everyday Ritual and Magic in Pre-Modern Europe. Hambledon and London, London.