College of Arts and Sciences
Master of Arts in History - Thesis (MA)
King James VI (I), Demonology, Divine Right, Witchcraft, Witches
European History | History
Creed, Joni Raylene, "King James VI and I: Witch-Hunter and Protector of the Realm" (2020). Masters Theses. 650.
After the discovery of a conspiracy to kill the king at sea, King James VI of Scotland became frightfully consumed with stamping out witches in his kingdom. He believed that witches were in league with the devil and that they were an imminent threat to his life and sovereignty as king. In the early 1590s, he bypassed legal precedent by directly interrogating and judging Scottish witches. He wrote a treatise in 1597 to warn of the existence of witches and the danger that witchcraft possessed. His involvement in the North Berwick witch trials was an interesting chapter in Scottish history. It was one that demonstrated a monarch personally engaged in the crusade against witches.