Thank you to all of you who got in touch via Twitter to ask Dr Tracy Borman questions about her new book, Witches: A tale of sorcery, scandal and seduction. During the hour that we had Tracy with us 48 questions were answered. We’ve picked our favorite top 10 to share with you.
Tracy’s favourite tweet was;
@queenmomzie asked: What’s the difference between being a good witch and a bad witch historically?
TB response: Good witches were healers, detectives and therapists. Bad witches sought to cause harm or even death.
@queenmomzie asked: Are there any historically significant good witches?
TB response: John Dee was Elizabeth I’s Astrologer – so a form of good witch. He was one of her key advisors.
TB response: It’s related to times of plague, famine and economic hardship. It was a way of explaining ill fortune before the days of science.
@CarolynMCash asked: Do you think Elizabeth Woodville or her mother were actually witches? If so, why didn’t they learn from Eleanor Cobham?
TB response: I think it’s highly unlikely that they were actually witches. What they were was widely hated.
TB response: Rutterkin. He was the cat belonging to the three women who I studied for the book.
@wendy_uk asked: Are there any witches associated with any of the Historic Royal Palaces?
TB response: Yes, Several witches were imprisoned in the Tower and also Macbeth was performed at Hampton Court Palace. There are also Witch Marks carved into the wooden beams in the attics at Kew Palace.
@HistoryVault asked: Were witches always depicted negatively in England?
TB response: No. For many centuries they were seen as a force of good and every community would have wanted one.
@_MeganJoy asked: Tracy, are witches often depicted as hags in illustration because mainly older women were accused?
TB response: That’s right. Most witches were considered old, by which I mean over forty(!).
@Elizabeth_Malet asked: If you were tried as a witch, what measures would you take to disprove it?
TB response: There was little you could do except protest your innocence. You might pass one of the witch craft tests such as being swum.
One of our bookclubbers asked what Tracy’s next book is..
TB response: My next book is a biography of Thomas Cromwell, to coincide with the major BBC dramatization of Wolf Hall.
Members of Historic Royal Palaces were lucky enough to have the chance to attend the London-based launch event at Banqueting House for Tracy’s new book back on 7 October. We have subsequently hosted a members’ book club session (16 October) where we talked at length about the book and everyone who attended had quite a few questions to ask Tracy and this has been the perfect opportunity for them to do so.
Thank you to Dr Tracy Borman for answering our witch related questions. Find out more about Tracy’s book ‘Witches’ here: http://www.tracyborman.co.uk.