King's bid to end witchcraft
The King's War On Witches: Revealed Five, 8pm
JAMES I's obsession with Satanism led to the persecution of thousands of 'witches' in Scotland and England. Even now, small enclaves of believers exist in the Lancashire hills. Last year Ann Widdecombe was chased from the Forest Of Bowland while on a day trip with the Ramblers' Association.
King James even wrote a book called 'Daemonology' that became a manual for witch-hunters. In Buxton it's still outselling Fifty Shades Of Grey.
It was during James' reign, in the late 16th century, that Europe was in the grip of a ferocious anti-witch movement in which thousands were burnt at the stake. In France alone up to 40,000 went this way, although, to be fair, they've got the weather for it.
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The church was fully behind this terrifying crusade, but England and Scotland were untouched by witch persecutions until the publication of Daemonology, a handbook on how to recognise and destroy witches.
It went like the clappers out of Ye Waterstones.
The book explored the threat that 'those detestable slaves of the Devil' posed to James himself, and its legacy continued throughout the 17th century, leading to the execution of hundreds of women in a series of infamous witch trials, including one at Pendle in 1612 and a magistrates' court appearance by Kerry Katona in 2002.
But it seems 'witchcraft' was practised far and wide. In Cornwall, the documentary unearths evidence of strange pits lined with swans' feathers and filled with animal skins and human remains.
All this for less than £99 a weekend.