Review: Pendle Witch Child, BBC4

First published in TV Blackpool Citizen: Photograph of the Author by

YOU may have heard of the Pendle Witch Trials, but do you know all the gory details?

Probably not. Despite being one of the most famous witch trials of the 17th Century, they’re rarely discussed these days.

Thankfully, poet Simon Armitage is here to shed light on the matter in Pendle Witch Child, as part of BBC4’s Children in History season.

He plays particular attention to Jennet Device, a then nine-year-old girl who gave damning evidence against various friends and relatives, most of whom were then hanged in Lancashire in 1612.

But what provoked Jennet to give the testimonies she did, and condemn those she was closest to to almost certain death?

Armitage also reveals how the impact of her “evidence” set a precedent for using children as witnesses in similar trials.

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