Until the mass hysteria of the seventeenth century, accusations of witchcraft in England were rare. However, four royal women, related in family and in court ties—Joan of Navarre, Eleanor Cobham, Jacquetta of Luxembourg and Elizabeth Woodville—were accused of practicing witchcraft in order to kill or influence the king.
Some of these women may have turned to the “dark arts” in order to divine the future or obtain healing potions, but the purpose of the accusations was purely political. Despite their status, these women were vulnerable because of their gender, as the men around them moved them like pawns for political gains.
In Royal Witches, Gemma Hollman explores the lives and the cases of these so-called witches, placing them in the historical context of fifteenth-century England, a setting rife with political upheaval and war. In a time when the line between science and magic was blurred, these trials offer a tantalizing insight into how malicious magic would be used and would later cause such mass hysteria in centuries to come.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Author's Notes 9
1 Magic in the Late Medieval Period 15
Joan of Navarre
2 Duchess of Brittany 23
3 Our Most Dear Mother 37
4 In the Most Evil and Terrible Manner Imaginable 59
5 A Very Noble Lady 89
6 From Mistress to Princess 107
7 The Duchess and the Witch of Eye 123
8 Alle Women May Beware By Me 135
Jacquetta of Luxembourg and Elizabeth Woodville
9 Lively, Beautiful and Gracious 159
10 From Woods to Rivers 179
11 A Common Noise of Witchcraft 203
12 The Mother, the Queen and the Mistress 233
13 A Royal Coven of Witches 271
Genealogical Tables 276