The Changing Faces of Manx Witchcraft

Author: Hutton, Ronald

Source: Cultural and Social History, 1 June 2010, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 153-169(17)


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The nature of witchcraft beliefs and trials in the early modern Isle of Man has recently been the subject of some excellent research. The history of attitudes to witchcraft on the island is, however, also susceptible to a different approach: that of examining the manner in which they have developed and adapted over the time since the opening of the modern period. This longer perspective reveals, as did the close study of the early modern material, that Man both exhibited a number of individualistic features and acted as a microcosm of more general alterations in belief. As those alterations have, as yet, failed to attract any sustained interest from historians, the perspective shed upon them by the Manx material is all the more important. Man's abundant early modern archives and rich modern literary culture together provide ample evidence for such a case study, while the latter presents wider implications for the treatment of the subject in a broader context.


Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Historical Studies, School of Humanities, University of Bristol, 11 Woodland Road, Bristol, BS8 1TB;, Email:

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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