Start your review of The Discoverie of Witchcraft Write a review Shelves: christendom-and-its-discontents Reginald Scot drew up his own will in his handwriting and ended it: Great is the trouble my poor wife hath had with me, and small is the comfort she hath received at my hands, whom if I had not matched withal I had not died worth one groat. I read that his publisher probably urged him to include the material on the conjuring arts in his book, as the only likely commercial content. Scot was a gentleman-amateur writer, and why he took upon himself to combat the demonologists with this piece of work Reginald Scot drew up his own will in his handwriting and ended it: Great is the trouble my poor wife hath had with me, and small is the comfort she hath received at my hands, whom if I had not matched withal I had not died worth one groat. He also deploys compassion as a goal and as a strategy. His explanations for witchcraft are psychological and social: he rests on melancholy, that catch-term which covered the mentally ill, the mentally disturbed; he is interesting to read for both or either his study of social vulnerability and for the way symptoms of mental illness were then interpreted and understood. It was written in order to debunk the popular belief in witches in Elizabethan England, but rather than bringing out the cynic in me it actually frightened me.
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His mother was Mary, daughter of George Whetenall, sheriff of Kent in His father died before , and his mother remarried Fulk Onslow, clerk of the parliament; dying on 8 October , she was buried in the church of Hatfield, Hertfordshire.
Reginald or Reynold as he signed his name in accordance with contemporary practice was born about When about seventeen, Scot entered Hart Hall, Oxford , but left the university without a degree. His writings show some knowledge of law, but he is not known to have joined any inn of court.
Marrying in , he seems to have spent the rest of his life in his native county. His time was mainly passed as an active country gentleman, managing property which he inherited from his kinsfolk about Smeeth and Brabourne , or directing the business affairs of his first cousin, Sir Thomas Scot, who proved a generous patron, and in whose house of Scots Hall he often stayed. He was collector of subsidies for the lathe county subdivision of Shepway in and , and he was perhaps the Reginald Scot who acted in as a captain of untrained foot-soldiers at the county muster.
He was returned to the parliament of —9 as member for New Romney , and he was probably a justice of the peace. He describes himself as "esquire" in the title-page of his Discoverie, and is elsewhere designated "armiger". Subsequently, Scot married a second wife, a widow named Alice Collyar, who had a daughter called Mary by her former husband. Scot made his own will drawing it with his own hand on 15 September He died at Smeeth on 9 October following, and was probably buried in the church there.
His small properties about Brabourne, Aldington, and Romney Marsh he left to his widow. The last words of his will run: "Great is the trouble my poor wife hath had with me, and small is the comfort she hath received at my hands, whom if I had not matched withal I had not died worth one groat. Calvin in turn was echoing the skepticism toward superstitions of early English reformer John Wycliffe.
God maketh the blustering tempests and whirlwinds Works[ edit ] About hops cultivation[ edit ] In he published his Perfect Platform of a Hop-garden, and necessary instructions for the making and maintenance thereof, with Notes and Rules for Reformation of all Abuses.
The work, which is dedicated to Serjeant William Lovelace of Bethersden, is the first practical treatise on hop culture in England; the processes are illustrated by woodcuts. Scot, according to a statement of the printer, was out of London while the work was going through the press.
A second edition appeared in , and a third in Main article: The Discoverie of Witchcraft His work on witchcraft was The Discoverie of Witchcraft , wherein the Lewde dealing of Witches and Witchmongers is notablie detected, in sixteen books … whereunto is added a Treatise upon the Nature and Substance of Spirits and Devils, Scot enumerates authors whose works in Latin he had consulted, and twenty-three authors who wrote in English.
He studied the superstitions respecting witchcraft in courts of law in country districts, where the prosecution of witches was constant, and in village life, where the belief in witchcraft flourished. He set himself to prove that the belief in witchcraft and magic was rejected alike by reason and religion, and that spiritualistic manifestations were either wilful impostures or illusions due to mental disturbance in the observers.
The Discoverie of Witchcraft
At the end of the volume the printer gives his name as William Brome. Scott enumerates authors whose works in Latin he had consulted, and twenty-three authors who wrote in English. He had studied superstitions respecting witchcraft in courts of law in country districts, where the prosecution of witches was unceasing, and in village life, where the belief in witchcraft flourished in many forms. His aim was to prevent the persecution of poor, aged, and simple persons, who were popularly credited with being witches. Scot did adopt contemporary superstition in his references to medicine and astrology. The book also narrates stories of strange phenomena in the context of religious convictions. The book also gives stories of magicians with supernatural powers performing in front of courts of kings.
The discoverie of witchcraft