The Pendle Witch Child

How a child and superstition sentenced multiple people to death

How powerful can the fear of evil be? The Pendle Witch Child explores a trial set in 1612 where the fear of witchcraft let to devastating result – that of 10 people sentenced to death due to one nine-year-old girl.

Jennet Device, a beggar-girl from Pendle in Lancashire, was the star witness in a 1612 trial against her own mother, her brother, her sister and many of her neighbours. All of them were accused of being evil witches and magic users.

Thanks to Jennet’s chilling testimony, they were all hanged.

Although the events in this film may date back four hundred years, its issues resonate today as much as ever – when to believe our children, and how, in times of crisis, fear of evil can easily lead us to behave in ways which may corrode the very values that we most wish to protect.

Presented by Simon Armitage – poet, playwright and novelist – this film is peppered with his revealing insights into the characters’ emotional turmoil and cutting-edge use of animation, bringing this courtroom drama to life. Four hundred years on, the trial’s issues resonate as much as ever – when should we believe our children, and just how powerful can the fear of evil be?

The Pendle Witch Child
  • Info
  • Release date2011
  • Full runtime
  • Director(s)Ros Ereira
  • Production companyWingspan Productions