Digital Lecture, Beyond the Lancashire Witches: Writing and Freedom

Date: 23 June 2015

Digital Lecture, Beyond the Lancashire Witches: Writing and Freedom. This lecture was part of Lancaster University’s 50th Anniversary Lecture Series and involved members of Lancaster’s English and Creative Writing department.


The lecture, which was given on 27th November 2014 in Lancaster Castle, consisted of testimonies of the women accused of witchcraft in Lancaster in 1612 as recorded by Thomas Potts. The testimonies showed that, for some at least, the narrative of sorcery offered a fantasy of freedom. Starting with a dramatisation of the women’s testimonies filmed in the Witches Tower where they were imprisoned, the talk explored the ways in which trials and imprisonment at Lancaster Castle produced expressions of freedom, often, paradoxically, opening the doors to new modes of thinking and feeling.


Illustrated with live readings by current and former members of the Department of English & Creative Writing, and dramatizations from the key prison sites across the Castle, the talk compared texts from the seventeenth century, through to contemporary writings within and inspired by the prison and Lancaster Castle.


If you would like to view the lecture yourself, you can do so here:

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Further information

Associated departments and research centres: English and Creative Writing