Confessions of sin: An extract from the diary telling of the fate of Rebecca West and her family
It is one of the grimmest chapters of our history.
Dramatised in the horror film The Witchfinder General, the execution of scores of innocent village women for consorting with the Devil is chilling.
But now a 350-year-old diary made public for the first time details the terror that faced the victims of Matthew Hopkins’ witch-hunts during the Civil War.
It tells how one of those accused admitted to ‘carnal copulation with the Devil’ after he appeared in her bedroom in the shape of a handsome young man.
The confession, by a young Essex maid, Rebecca West, implicated her mother, Anne, in witchcraft – saving her own life but condemning her mother to the gallows…