Presentation on theme: "Matthew Hopkins Self-appointed ‘witchfinder general’, who went about the counties of Eastern England preying on weak, elderly women. His reign of terror."— Presentation transcript:
Matthew Hopkins Self-appointed ‘witchfinder general’, who went about the counties of Eastern England preying on weak, elderly women. His reign of terror began in 1644 when he was employed by towns to seek out and destroy witches. He was commissioned by parliament, and received large payments – 20 shillings per witch. He claimed he was an expert and examined suspects himself to obtain ‘proof’ of witchcraft, using methods including sleep deprivation.
His Methods He was convinced that witches had familiars that would feed off them, so suspects were watched at all times. Suspects were forced to sit on a stool, both day and night, and were periodically ‘walked’ to ensure they did not fall asleep. A large number of women confessed after a few nights of this treatment. Hopkins also claimed that if a witch was stabbed she would not bleed. It is said he used a knife with a retractable blade to prove this. Confessing or being found guilty of witchcraft often led to a death sentence, either by drowning, hanging or being burned at the stake.
What happened to him ? People started to grow tired of Hopkins and his greed. In 1647 he was forced to take one of his own tests. He was bound, thrown into a river, floated, and was sentenced to death. However he left a strong legacy. During his reign he was responsible for the killings of over 230 alleged witches, far more than any other witch-hunter during the peak of the witch craze.