Legal Records and Magic Manuscripts from Tudor England
Series: Magic in History Sourcebooks
- ISBN: 9780271093932
- Published By: Penn State University Press
- Published: October 2022
Most of the women and men who practiced magic in Tudor England were not hanged or burned as witches, despite being active members of their communities. These everyday magicians responded to common human problems such as the vagaries of money, love, property, and influence, and they were essential to the smooth functioning of English society. This illuminating book tells their stories through the legal texts in which they are named and the magic books that record their practices.
In legal terms, their magic fell into the category of sin or petty crime, the sort that appeared in the lower courts and most often in church courts. Despite their relatively lowly status, scripts for the sorts of magic they practiced were recorded in contemporary manuscripts. Juxtaposing and contextualizing the legal and magic manuscript records creates an unusually rich field to explore the social aspects of magic practice.
Expertly constructed for both classroom use and independent study, this book presents in modern English the legal documents and magic texts relevant to ordinary forms of magic practiced in Tudor England. These are accompanied by scholarly introductions with original perspectives on the subjects. Topics covered include: the London cunning man Robert Allen; magic to identify thieves; love magic; magic for hunting, fishing and gambling, and magic for healing and protection.