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Remembering the Accused 

Witches of Scotland

Remembering the Accused Witches of Scotland (SCIO) is a small but growing group of social justice campaigners, historians and passionate community members who would like to raise awareness of the forgotten victims of Scotland’s witch trials.

Our group was founded by Cllr. Kate Stewart and Sara-Ann Kelly in 2018, due to their interest in Lilias Adie and other accused witches in Fife. Initially named Fife Witches Remembered, Kate & Sara grew a small community of amateur and professional historians on Facebook who were dedicated to remembering the accused.

In 2018 they connected with Professor Julian Goodare who is director of the University of Edinburgh's Survey of Scottish Witchcraft. Together with Dr. Louise Yeoman and Dr. Lizanne Henderson, The University of Glasgow, they decided to host what would be our first conference dedicated to raising awareness of the Scottish Witch Trials.

In May 2019 we held our first conference at Glen Pavilion, Dunfermline. The programme included talks, storytelling and workshops; allowing our growing community to honour the accused and discuss next steps. Our current aims stem from this event, and monthly meetings were arranged in order to move the cause forward.

Our Aims

  1. To educate and raise awareness of the impact of the Scottish Witch Trials and the Witchcraft Act 1563.
     

  2. To obtain an apology from the Scottish churches and a pardon from the Scottish government.
     

  3. To erect a national monument to remember and honour the more than 4,000 accused.

We've since held several events which has spread our campaign across Scotland (and further afield). In August 2019, a memorial day was held for Lilias Adie in Torryburn, where her grave is situated. This site remains the only known burial place of an accused witch in Scotland. In September 2020 we worked with the West Fife Heritage Network to launch the Fife Accused Witches Trail, a series of plaques leading from Culross to Torryburn. In November 2020 we held our first online event, a digital conference where supporters from around the world gathered to present new research and projects, and discuss plans for a national memorial.

In December 2019 we established a Steering Group to lead the campaign, and began work on a constitution. In May 2021 we became a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO), allowing us to fundraise in support of our aims. Our charity number is SC051010.

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Our logo is designed by Irish artist Sean Fitzgerald. We were delighted to work with him in 2021 to commission a logo that represents our Scottish roots and aims. He creates Celtic illustrations inspired by nature, folklore and myth.

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Our website was created with support from Glasgow-based Laura Matheson, and was launched at our 2021 conference.

 

Since spring 2021 we have been in dialogue with both the First Minister's office, regarding a pardon for all those convicted as witches, and the Church of Scotland, requesting an apology for all those persecuted in the name of witchcraft. Although the journey to an apology is long and complex, we continue to tell the stories of those tortured, persecuted and prosecuted with an aim to remember the accused.

 

We recognise the importance of collaboration to achieve our aims, and enjoy connecting with likeminded individuals and groups. We also welcome new members to our Facebook group, and support our community to complete new research (some of which we share on our blog).

For our latest news and updates, please visit our blog: