Guest Post with Giveaway: Mary Sharratt, author of Daughters of the Witching Hill

Please help me in welcoming author Mary Sharratt to Passage to the Past! Mary's new novel, Daughters of the Witching Hill, is being released today and she was gracious enough to stop by with a fabulous guest post for my readers.  Thank you Mary!

I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed Daughters of the Witching Hill and am super excited to be part of this blog tour.

I will also be hosting a giveaway, so make sure to enter...details at the end of this post! 

Without further adieu I bring you...


How the Pendle Witches of 1612 differ from the more familiar Salem Witches of 1692

While 17th century Salem, Massachusetts was a fairly homogenous Puritan society, Lancashire was anything but. Despite Henry VIII’s sacking of Whalley Abbey and the laws of religious conformity passed by his daughter Elizabeth I, the Reformation was slow to take root in this remote part of Northern England. Many influential families of the gentry remained stubbornly Catholic in the face of persecution and death. Moreover, in the viewpoint of many Protestants, witchcraft and Catholicism were conflated. “No part of England hath so many witches,” Edward Fleetwood wrote in his 1645 pamphlet describing Lancashire, “none fuller of Papists.” Even Reginald Scot, one of the most enlightened men of the English Renaissance, thought the act of transubstantiation, the point in the Catholic mass where it is believed that the host becomes the body and blood of Christ, was an act of sorcery.

Cunning woman Mother Demdike’s charms are recorded in the 1612 trial transcripts and mirror the ecclesiastical language of the pre-Reformation Church. Her incantation to cure a bewitched person, quoted by the prosecution as evidence of diabolical magic, is a moving and poetic depiction of the passion of Christ as witnessed by the Virgin Mary. Here is just a short passage from the long charm:

What is yonder that casts a light so farrandly,
Mine owne deare Sonne that’s naild to the Tree.

This text is very similar to the White Pater Noster, an Elizabethan prayer charm Eamon Duffy discusses in his landmark book, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England: 1400-1580.

It appears that Mother Demdike, born in Henry VIII’s reign, at the cusp of the Reformation, was a practitioner of the kind of quasi-Catholic folk magic that would have been fairly common in earlier generations. The Old Church embraced many practices that seemed magical and mystical. People believed in miracles. They used holy water and communion bread for healing. Candles blessed at the Feast of Candlemas warded the faithful from demons and disease. People left offerings at holy wells and invoked the saints in their folk charms. Some rituals such as the blessing of wells and fields may have Pagan origins. Indeed, looking at pre-Reformation folk magic, it seems difficult to untangle the strands of Catholicism from the remnants of Pagan belief which had become so tightly interwoven. Keith Thomas’s social history Religion and the Decline of Magic is an excellent study on how the Reformation literally took the magic out of Christianity.

But it would be too simplistic to say that Mother Demdike was merely a misunderstood practitioner of Catholic folk magic. When interrogated by her prosecuting magistrate, she freely confessed, even bragged about her familiar spirit, Tibb, who appeared to her in the guise of beautiful young man. Bess’s description of her decades-long partnership with Tibb seems to reveal something much older than Christianity.

PTTP has 1 copy to giveaway!

Leave a comment with your email address to enter. 
Open to US and Canada entries only. 
Only one entry per person. 
Giveaway ends on April 22nd.
Good luck to all and thanks again to Mary Sharratt!




  1. Ye, please enter me. I'm interested in any other good Salem witch books -- I haven't read one that I can remember. Thank you.

    kimbaldwin74 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  2. This book sounds really good. Please enter me.
    amandarwest at gmaildotcom

  3. Hi Mary,
    I am so happy to see you blogging here. I first found you and your books through Author Buzz. I put your books on my tilting pile of TBR books. :) I have since moved them to the top of my list. :)
    Congrats on the new release. Please enter me.
    Carol L.

  4. Am happy to comment as the first post! I think I am the first!!! Please count me in for this wonderful book. As usual your giveaways are fabulous.


  5. I can't wait to read Daughters of the witching. It sounds awsome.

  6. Great Guest post! I would like to enter!

  7. I am so interested in reading this novel. The relationship between the "witches" and the Catholic church is intriguing. Thanks for the giveaway.

  8. I have bee waiting anxiously for this one to be released. It sounds wonderful.

    Please enter me.


  9. I'm dying to read this! I did my final research paper in college on Salem and witches. Please enter me - mclean416(at)gmail(dot)com.


  10. Sounds interesting! Please include me! Thanks

    dcf_beth at verizon dot net

  11. I would love to read Daughters of the Witching Hill it sounds like a good read.

    nancysoffice at gmail dot com

  12. Thanks for offering a copy. I have always been interested in the Salem hysteria that surrounded their witch trials so this would be a good choice.

  13. Though I've always wanted to, I've never actually read a book about the historical witch trials. This sounds like it would be a very great book and interesting story to read. Definitely count me in. :D


  14. Oh enter me please. I love to read books on Salem and witches. Sounds good.

  15. I have wanted this book ever since I first heard about it, and somehow I just can't get my hands on one.. can you fix that for me please and Pick me? Pretty please?!
    marieburton2004 at yahoo dot com

  16. Thanks for the chance! :D
    tabbylewis at hotmail dot com

  17. I love witches--please enter me.
    minoubazaar AT

  18. I have been greatly looking forward to reading Mary's book. (I already know I'll love it.) And since so many here share my interest, I'd like to invite those interested in having a new perspective on the Salem witch-hunt to read my novel, "The Afflicted Girls." Thanks, Amy.

  19. Sounds like more came over on the Mayflower than we first thought.....

    please enter me
    thank you
    kaiminani at gmail dot com

  20. Great post Amy...makes me want to read about Salem Witches. As long a book is not scary then I'm in :D
    Just added this giveaway to my sidebar as well. Thanks, Roberta

  21. I'd love it! Thanks for the giveaway.

    s.mickelson at gmail dot com

  22. Thank you so much for hosting me, Amy. And thank you all for your comments!

  23. Amy please enter me in this giveaway. I love this kind of stuff! Witches are so cool!
    You know my email :-).

  24. Yay I have been wanting to read this, please enter me.


  25. I would love to be entered Amy! I loved reading before about the Salem witch trials and knew that there were other similar events, but haven't read anything about them. Thanks for the giveaway.

  26. This one looks great. Would love to win!

  27. This one sounds great! Please count me in.


  28. Thanks for the giveaway!

  29. I've always been intrigued by the Salem Witch Trials. Please enter me in the giveaway.


  30. Ooh, please enter me! Thanks for the guest post and giveaway :)


  31. Fascinating time period. Love to read this book.
    I now follow on google friends

  32. Thank you for the interesting post. Charges of witchcraft has always been interesting. The catch all charge that is virtually impossible to refute. It is sad the number of people that died and suffered due to false charges. LI'm sure linking Catholicism to witchcraft made it easier to persecute the Catholics and take their property.
    This sounds like an interesting book. I look forward to finding out more about it and reading it.
    librarypat AT comcast DOT net

  33. I like this author's post. I find this to be an interesting story based on actual transcripts and the women who practiced "witchcraft". I did notice that several of the previous comments were people saying they were excited to read a book on the Salem Witches and the famous trials. This book was set in England 80 years prior to that time period!

    Thanks for making this book a giveaway.
    jhstubbs (at) msn (dot) com

  34. oh boy coldruns and bats, aaa I WOULD LOVE TO WIN
    I put my spell on you I will win

  35. thanks for the opportunity to read this wonderful book :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  36. this book sounds fantastic. great guest post, its an interesting topic. please enter me, thanks :)

  37. I'd never heard of the Pendle witches, but Daughters of the Witching Hill sounds incredibly interesting. I'm fascinated by folk magic - especially when merged with aspects of the Catholic church that would be so eager to root out any other form of spiritual belief.

    Please enter me - caramellunacy at gmail

  38. Thank you for hosting the giveaway.

    Please enter me - marcia [at] printedpage [dot] us

  39. This sounds like a book I know I would enjoy! Please enter me! Thank you!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  40. Thank you for the giveaway! =)

  41. Oh, I'd love to read this - I'm fascinated by the way societies handled their uncertainties and power imbalances by accusing women of witchcraft.
    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!


  42. Count me in!

  43. "Catholic folk magic..." quite intriguing. Please count me in.
    Thank you!

    cyeates AT nycap DOT rr DOT com

  44. I love books based on the witch hunts of the 15th & 16th centuries. Please count me in. Thanks!


  45. Great guest post! I've been reading a lot about this book and it's one that I definitely will be acquiring, unless I win your giveaway! *fingers crossed*


  46. would love to be included in this giveaway. thanks!

    rubs.escalona [at]

  47. Please enter me! I hope to win!

  48. I've read so many good things about
    Mary Sharratt & this book has gotten some fantastic reviews, I'd love to read the story!
    Luvdaylilies at bellsouth dot net

  49. Please enter me in this giveaway!

    familyhistree at yahoo dot com

    Sarah E


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