Peebles memorial planned for those persecuted under Scottish Witchcraft Act

The first memorial in the Borders to remember those executed and victimised under the Witchcraft Act has been planned for Peebles.

A public consultation and Peebles community council has supported a headstone-style memorial on parkland in the town as well as a cairn on a nearby hillside where some “witches” executions took place.

In Scotland, an estimated 3,837 people – 84 per cent of whom were women – were tried as witches under the Act, according to the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft.

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About 2,500 of those accused were executed and burned. It is thought about 85 per cent of those were women.

Permission is currently being sought for a cairn to be erected near the top of Venlaw Hill (Photo: Google Maps).

It comes after Nicola Sturgeon issued a formal apology on behalf of the Scottish Government on International Women’s Day to those people, mostly women, convicted under the Witchcraft Act.

The Witches of Scotland campaign, which spearheaded calls for action to be taken around this miscarriage of justice, continues to push for a pardon to be issued for all the victims who were convicted under the Witchcraft Act.

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The memorial will remember all those who died and will particularly focus on the 27 people executed in one day at Calf Knowe – now known as Venlaw Hill – in 1629.

A gravestone has already been donated to the memorial campaign by a local undertaker.

Permission is being looked into for the cairn to be erected near the top of Venlaw Hill.

In her apology to those persecuted under the act, Ms Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament “misogyny still runs deep” in Scottish society, adding: "Reckoning with historic injustice is a vital part of building a better country.”


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