Category Archives: Witches Wizards Brews and Broomsticks

Witches Wizards Brews and Broomsticks


44 members gathered at the Church Centre for the Forum’s last meeting of 2016 on the 30th of November.

The guest speaker was Professor Mike Green, Emeritus Professor of Forensic Pathology at the University of Sheffield.  In a long and varied career Mike worked with the South Australia Flying Doctor Service and as a GP in Leeds before becoming an academic.

His talk was titled Witches Wizards Brews and Broomsticks which featured the history of witchcraft from biblical times to the present day and the relationship between witchcraft and medical practice up to modern times.

In Medieval times people identified as witches were principally women and persecution was particularly rife in Northern Europe.  The persecution of witches was a consequence of the rejection of the Catholic religion and, in the reign of James I in particular, resulted in many executions.

The hero of the story is Nicholas Culpepper who realised that some of the potions involved in witchcraft appeared to have beneficial effects and quantified these benefits, forming the basis for modern pharmacology.

Mike mentioned the Pendle Witches trial and the effect this has had on this area of Lancashire to the present day.

Forum Chairman Mike Earle thanked Professor Green for keeping members royally entertained.

The Forum’s Christmas lunch is on the 7th of December at the Bridge Hotel Walshford and meetings restart on the 11th of January.