Witchfinder General

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Witchfinder General

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The unofficial title adopted by Matthew Hopkins, the son of James Hopkins, minister of Wenham in Suffolk, England. Matthew made a career out of "discovering" witches for a fee. One of his earliest trials took place in 1645 at Chelmsford, Essex before the justices of the peace and Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick. On Hopkins's first foray into witch hunting, he brought a total of nineteen people to the gallows.

Hopkins took on assistants: a man named John Stearne and a woman named Mary Phillipps. They were sometimes helped by Edward Parsley and Frances Mills. Together they set out to "discover" witches at twenty shillings apiece, plus a further twenty shillings for a conviction. They visited Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Bedfordshire and other areas. In the space of two years, they caused at least two hundred people to be executed. Hopkins described himself as a "Witchfinder" and as "Witchfinder General" on the frontispiece of his book The

Discovery of Witches: in answer to severall Queries, lately Delivered to the Judges of Assize for the County of Norfolk. And now published by Matthew Hopkins, Witchfinder (London, 1647).

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Torquemada: In The Mind Of The Inquisitor is an interactive show that will see Dr Borrini take on the role of Witchfinder General - and his audience the unwitting witches.
This film, along with The Witchfinder General and Blood on Satan's Claw, helped define the folk horror genre in the 1960s and '70s and they have spawned countless offspring.
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8 Witchfinder Storyhouse presents screening of classic 1968 British horror film The Witchfinder General (15) starring Vincent Price in the cinema on Sunday at 5pm.
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Professor Stoyle added: "The world-famous witch trials at Salem, in colonial America, have been the subject of many books and films, as has the mass witch-hunt led by Matthew Hopkins - the so-called Witchfinder General - in East Anglia in the UK between 1645 and 1647.
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For a more recent interpretation of this fascinating period, Tyneside Cinema will host a screening of The Witchfinder General -- a controversial horror film which was heavily censored after its release in the 1960s.
FRIDAY THE WITCHFINDER GENERAL BBC2 12.05AM One of the great British horror films sees Vincent Price in possibly his best role as Matthew Hopkins, who is empowered by Oliver Cromwell to extract confessions from witches.
Apart from a few passing references to the King and Cromwell, however, it is solely concerned with the period's hysterical fear of witchcraft, and derives from works such as the film Witchfinder General. Sixteen-year-old Barnaby Nightingale was supposedly replaced at birth by a fairy changeling, and recovered by his parents in a supernatural night-time exchange.
The series has previously analyzed Let the Right One In (2008) and Witchfinder General (1968), and more recently The Descent (2005) and John Carpenter's The Thing (1982).
Although he was never appointed by Parliament, he gave himself the title of Witchfinder General.