Witchfinder General

Album: Lionheart (2004)
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Songfacts®:

  • Between 1645 and 1647, a man named Matthew Hopkins appointed himself Witchfinder General and instigated a campaign of terror against defenseless women in the English countryside. It has been estimated that he was responsible directly or otherwise for as many as 200 executions.

    Little is known about Hopkins, and though he was neither the first nor the last, his name has become synonymous with the discovery of witches, and the hysteria and wanton cruelty that swept across Europe in the 17th Century, even manifesting briefly in the United States, in the Salem case.

    This song makes the point that the mere accusation of witchcraft was enough to condemn a woman to death: "Trial is by water; no one can win. Drown and you're innocent, guilty you swim." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England

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