Historic Scottish lighthouse to be reconstructed as national witch trial victims' memorial

A digitally reconstructed face of an 18th-century "witch" Lilias Adie as she may have appeared  in the early 1700s. Picture: PA
A digitally reconstructed face of an 18th-century "witch" Lilias Adie as she may have appeared in the early 1700s. Picture: PA
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Plans have been revealed to rebuild a lighthouse in Fife as a national memorial to victims of Scottish witch trials during the 16th to 18th centuries.

Plans have been unveiled to reconstruct a lighthouse, which was removed from the Firth of Forth in 2011, to create a memorial for thousands of women who were condemned for witchery in Scotland.

The proposal includes the re-installation of the 200-year-old Beamer Rock navigation beacon on the coast at The Ness in Torryburn in Fife, the site where a local woman, who died of maltreatment in custody in 1704 as an accused witch, was buried.

Once completed, the memorial will serve as an information point into the history behind the persecutions.

The idea for the memorial came following several years of international interest generated by a wreath-laying ceremony, where the Fife Witches Remembered group spoke of the tragedy and the human cost of witch-hunting in Scotland, and specifically highlighted the case of Lilias.

Calls for a memorial to her and to all of Scotland's accused witches have been supported by community councils and councillors from west Fife.

Councillors Kate Stewart, Mino Manekshaw and Bobby Clelland backed the idea for a memorial, saying: "We'd love to see the creation of a memorial at Torryburn. It would help to re-positioning them away from the misguided modern 'Halloween-style' perception of fun they have become.

"They were the innocent victims of an unimaginable injustice."

On September 26, the community will be able to view the proposals for the memorial at Torryburn and Newmills Community Centre as part of a public consultation launched by Fife Council.

The councillors added: ""We're keen to gauge public opinion on its possible re-positioning and use for such an iconic role."

In 1563, the passing of the Scottish Witchcraft Act made witchcraft - or consulting with witches - capital crimes in Scotland, after which an thousands of women were publicly accused between the 16th and 18 centuries.