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Ainsworth''s last masterpiece, The Lancashire Witches proved a best-seller in its day and influenced many contemporary authors.

The Pendle Witch Child (Witchcraft Documentary) - Timeline

The Lancashire Witches begins in the 16th century, in Lancashire, England. When a Cistercian monk, Borlace Alvetham, is falsely accused of witchcraft and condemned to death by his rival, Brother Paslew, he sells his soul to Satan and escapes. Years later, granted the powers of a warlock, he returns in the guise of Nicholas Demdike to witness Paslew''s execution for treason.

The Lancashire Witches by William Harrison Ainsworth

Beside the piper was another minstrel, similarly attired, and provided with a tabor. Lastly came one of the main features of the pageant, and which, together with the Fool, contributed most materially to the amusement of the spectators.

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This was the Hobby-horse. The hue of this spirited charger was a pinkish white, and his housings were of crimson cloth hanging to the ground, so as to conceal the rider's real legs, though a pair of sham ones dangled at the side.

A Romance of Pendle Forest: The Lancashire Witches by W.H. Ainsworth (Part One)

He had a sanguine complexion, with a broad, good-natured visage, which he could lengthen at will in a surprising manner. Schrijf een review. E-mail deze pagina. Bekijk video. Uitgever: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform.

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Samenvatting The Lancashire Witches is the only one of William Harrison Ainsworth's forty novels that has remained continuously in print since its first publication. It was serialised in the Sunday Times newspaper in ; a book edition appeared the following year, published by Henry Colburn.


The novel is based on the true story of the Pendle witches, who were executed in for causing harm by witchcraft. Modern critics such as David Punter consider the book to be Ainsworth's best work.

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Bleiler rated the novel ''one of the major English novels about witchcraft''. Biographical background and publication:The subject of the Pendle witches was suggested to Ainsworth by antiquarian and long-time friend James Crossley, President of the Chetham Society. During and Ainsworth visited all of the major sites involved in the story, such as Pendle Hill and Malkin Tower, home of the Demdikes, one of the two families accused of witchcraft.

The Lancashire Witches: A Romance of Pendle Forest by William Harrison Ainsworth

He wrote the story in , when it was serialised in the Sunday Times newspaper. As was common practice at the time, the novel was published in a three-volume set, known as a ''triple decker''. Routledge published an illustrated edition in , reissued in The twelve full-page illustrations were by John Gilbert.