The Paisley Witch Trials Revisited – John Shaw of Bargarran’s Manuscript (1696-97) Overview

Further Reading, listening etc

🎧 If you agree that what people, 84% of which were women in Scotland, went through during the Witch Trials of the Early Modern Period was a massive miscarriage of justice then please look into the Witches of Scotland podcast and current campaign. They are calling for an apology for all those accused, a pardon for all those convicted and a national memorial. Their podcast is packed full of interviews with experts in history, archaeology and law, as well as people involved with creative projects related to this topic.

🎬 Speaking of creative projects, actress and filmmaker Julia Campanelli has written an award-winning screenplay based on the Bargarran trial. She’s visited Paisley and used sources such as John Shaw’s manuscript in her research, so hopefully this film will get made and will do our history justice. Films like The Witch (2015) show that films based on historical records can be done well. Julia had indeed mentioned this manuscript as being a source that mentions the names of 7 people being executed in discussions we’d had before I’d had the chance to get a hold of it.

🌟 Finally, I’d like to thank the staff at the Mitchell Library again for all their help. Being unable to go to the library in person I contacted them and they were able to send scanned photocopies for me to work with, as well as scans of the original, brief content notes made by the librarian who accepted the manuscript in the 1920s alongside a typed-up version they had made. Given how long the document is this was no small task so I cannot stress enough how grateful I am to have had their help and support.

📚 Links:

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