Timeline of Statuary Acts (Witchcraft) In Great Britain.
1542 – Witchcraft becomes a felony in England under a statute of King Henry VIII. As a felony, it was punishable by hanging as opposed to burning. Ann Bolelyn was accused of witchcraft probably due to the fact she had a sixth finger on one hand and a large mole on her neck. Henry had Ann executed.
Few people were actually prosecuted under the law, which resulted in it being repealed.
Witchcraft Act 1542 (Henry VIII)
The Bill Ayest Conjuraracons And Wichecraftes And Sorcery And Enchantmants.
Where dyvers and sundrie persones have devised and practised invocacons and conjuracons of Sprites, ptending by such means to understande and get knowlege for their own lucre in what place treasure of golde and silver shulde or mought be founde or had in the earthe or other secrete places, and also have used and occupied wichecraftes inchauntment and sorceriesto the distruccion of their neighbours persones and goodes, and for the execucon of their saide falce devyses and practises have made or caused to be made dyvers images and pictures of men women children angelles or develles beasts or fowles, and have also made crownes septures swords rynges glasses and other things, and gyving faitheand credit to suche fantasticall pracitses have dygged up and pulled downe an infinite nombre of crosses within this realm, and taken upon them to declare and tellwhere things lost or stolen shuld be become: whyche thinges cannot be used and exercised but to the great offence of Godes lawe hurt and damage of the Kinges subjects and losse of the sowles of suche offenders, to the greate dishonor of God, infamy and disquyetnes of the realme: FOR REFORMACON wherof be it enacted by the Kyng oure Soveraigne Lorde with thassent of the Lordes spuall and temporall and the Comons in this present Parliament assembled and by auctoritie of the same that yf any persone or persones.
After the first day of May next comyng, use devise practise or exercise, or cause to be used practised or exercised, any invocacons or conjuricons of sprites wichcraftes enchauntmentes or sorceries, to thentent to get of fynde money or treasure, or to waste consume or destroy any persone in his body membres or goodes, or to pvoke any persone to unlawfull love, or for any other unlawfull intente or purpose, or by occacon or color of suche thinges or any of them. Or for despite of Cryste, or for lucre of money, dygge up or pull downe any crosse or crosses, or by suche invocacons or conjuacons of sprites wichcraftes enchauntementes or sorcerie or any of them take upon them to tell or declarewhere goodes stolen or lost shall become, that then all and every suche offence and offences, from the saide first day of May next comyng shalbe demyde accepted and adjuged felonye; And that all and every persone and persones offendyng as is abovesaide their councellers Abbetors and procurers and every of them from the saide first day of Maye shall be demyde accepted and adjuged a felon and felones; And thoffender and offenders contrarie to this acte. Being therof unlawfullie convicte befor suche as shal have power and auctorie to here and determyn felonyes, shalle have and suffre such paynes of deathe losse and forfaytures of their lands tentes goodes and catalles as in cases of felonie by the course of the common laws of this realme, and also shalle lose p’vilege of clergie and sayntuarie.
1547 – An Acte for the Repeale of certain Statutes, etc. (Edward VI)
During the reign of King Edward VI, the son of Henry VIII, who was more liberal in his thinking about these matters, repealed the 1542 Witchcraft Act:
Sect 3. And be it further ordeyned and enacted by thauctoritie aforesaide that all offences made felonye by anny acte or actes of plament statute or statutes made sithins the xxiij daie of Apryll in the first yere of the reigne of the saide late Kynge Henry theight. Not being felonye before and also all and everye the braunches and articles mentioned or in anny wise declared in anny of the same statute concerning the making of any offence or offences to be felonye not being felonye before, and all paynes and forfaitures concerning the same or anny of them , shalle be hensfurthe be repealed and utterly voide and none effecte.
Witchcraft Act of 1563 (Elizabeth I)
An Act Against Conjurations Inchantments And Witchcraftes Elizabeth I, daughter of Anne Boleyn, introduces a new Witchcraft act in England, making ‘folk magic’ and spirit invocation punishable by death, imprisonment or pillory. Vigilantes and lynch mobs are responsible for deaths of at least 2000 ‘witches’ in 200 years following this act. 535 indictments on charges of witchcraft are issued during Elizabeth’s reign and 82 are executed as a result.
Anentis Witchcraftis. ITEM Forsamekill as the Quenis Majastie and thre Estatis in this present Parliament being informit, that the havy and abominabill superstitoun usit be divers of the liergis of this realme, be using of witchcraftis, sorsorie and necromancie, and credence gevin thairto in tymes bygane aganis the law of God: And for the avoiding and away putting of all sic vane superstitioun in tymes tocum:
It is statute and ordanit be the Quenis Majastie, and thre estatis foirsaidis, that na maner of person nor persounis, of quhatsumever estate, degre or conditioun thay be of, tak upon hand in ony tymes heirafter, to use ony mener of witchcraftis, sorsorie or necromancie, nor gif thamselfis furth to have ony sic craft or kknawlege thairof, thairthrow abusand the pepill: nor that na persouin seik ony help, response or casultatioun at ony sic usaris or abusaris forsaidis of witchcraftis, sorceries or necromancie, under the pane of deid, asweill to be executeaganis the usar abuser, as the seeker of the response or consulatioun. And this to be put to the executioun be the justice, schireffis, stewatis, baillies, lordis of regaliteis and rialteis, their deputis, and uthers ordinar jugeis competent within this realm. With all rigour, having power to execute the same.
Witchcraft Act of 1604 (James I)
An Acte against conjuration and dealing with evill and wicked spirits. Be it enacted by our King our sovraigne lorde the lords spirituall and temporall and the commons in this p’sent parliament assembled, and by the authoritie of the same, that the statute made in the fifte yeer of the raigne of our late sov’aigne ladie of the most famous and happy memorie Queen Elizabeth, intituled An Act Against Conjurations Inchantments And Witchcraftes, be from the Feaste of Sainte Michaell the Archangell nexte coming, for and concerninge all offences to be comitted after the same feaste utterly repealed.
AND for the better restrayning of saide offences, and more severe punishing the same, be it further enacted by the authorotie aforesaid, that if any pson or persons after the saide feasste of sainte Michaell the Archangell nexte coming, shall use practise, or exerscise any Invocation or Conjuration of any eville and spirit, or shalle consult covenant with, entertaine, employ, feede or rewarde any evill and wicked spirit to or for any intent or purpose; or take any dead man woman or child out of his her or their grave or any other place where the dead body resteth, or the skin, bone or any other parte of any dead person, to be imployed or used in any manner of witchcrafte, sorcerie, charme or inchantment; or shall use practise or excerscise any witchcrafte, sorcerie, charme or inchantment wherebye any person shall be killed destroyed wasted consumed pined or laimed in his or her bodie, or any parte thereof; then that everye such offender or offenders theyre ayders abettors and councellers, being of the saide offences duley and lawfullie convicted and attainted, shall suffer paines of deathe as a felon or felons and shall loose the priveledge and benefit of cleargie and sanctuarie. AND FURTHER, to the intent that all manner of practise use or exercise of declaring by witchcrafte, sorcerie, charme or inchantment should be from henceforth utterlie avoided abolished and taken away, Be it enacted by the authoritie of theis p’sent parliament thatif any pson or psonsshall from and after the saide feasste of sainte Michaell the Archangell nexte coming take upon him or them by witchcrafte, sorcerie, charme or inchantment to tell or declare in what place any treasure of golde or silver should be had in the earth or other secret places, or where goodes or things loste or stolen shoulde be founde or become; or to the intent to pvoke any person to unlawfull love, or whereby and cattell or goodes of any pson shall be wasted destroyed or impaired, or to hurte or destroy any pson in his bodie, although the same be not effected and done; that all and every suche person or psons so offending, and being therof lawfullie convicted, shall for the saide offence suffer imprisonment by the space of one whole yeere, without baile or maineprise, and once in every quarter of saise year, shall in some market Towne, upon the Markett Daye, or at such tyme as any faire shalbe kept there, stande openlie upon the pillorie by the space of sixe hours, and there shall openlie confesse his or her error and offence; and if any suche pson or psons beinge once convicted of the same offences of which it is aforsaid doe eftsones pptrate and comit the like offence, that then every such offender, being of the said offences the second tyme lawfullie and duelie convicted and attainted as is aforesaid, shall suffer such paines of death as a felon or felones, and shall loose the priveledge and benefit of cleargie and sanctuarie: saving to the wife of such person as shall offend in anything contrary to this acte; her title of dower; and also to the heire and successor of everie such person his or their titles to inheritance succession and other rights, as though no such attainder or the ancestor or predecessor had been made; provided always that if the offender in any case happened to be a peer of this realme, then his trial therein is to be had by his peers, as it is used in cases of felonie and treason and not otherwise.
Witchcraft Act of 1736 (George II)
An Act To Repeal The Statute Made In The First Year Of The Reign Of King James The First, Intituled An Act Against Conjuration, Witchcrafte And Dealing With Evil And Wicked Spirits.
Exept so much thereof as repeals an act of the fifth year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Against Conjurations, Inchantmaunts and Witchcrafts, and to repeal an act passed in the parliament of Scotland in the ninth parliament of Queen Mary, intitled Anenty Witchcrafts, and for punishing such persons as pretend to exercise or use any such witchcraft, sorcery, inchantment, or conjuration.
Be it enacted by the Kings Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, that the statute made in the first year of the reign of King James the First, Intituled, An Act Against Conjuration, Witchcrafte And Dealing With Evil And Wicked Spirits, shall, from the twenty fourth day of June next, be repealed and utterly void, and of none effect (except so much thereof as repeals the statute made in the fifth year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth) intituled Against Conjurations, Inchantmaunts and Witchcrafts.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that from and after the said twenty fourth day of June, the Act passed in the Parliament of Scotland in the ninth parliament of the reign of Queen Mary intituled Anenty Witchcrafts, shall be and is hereby repealed. And be it further enacted that from and after the twenty fourth day of June next, no prosecution, suit or proceeding shall be commenced or carried on against any person or persons for Witchcraft Sorcery or Coinjuration, or for charging another with such offence, in any court whatsoever in Great Britain.
And for the more effectual preventing and punishing of the pretences of such arts or powers as are before mentioned, whereby ignorant persons are frequently deluded and defrauded; be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that if any person shall, from and after the said the twenty fourth day of June next pretend to exercise or use any kind of Witchcraft, Sorcery, Inchantment or Conjuration, or undertake to tell fortunes, or pretend from his or her skill or knowledge in any occult or crafty science, to discover where or in what manner goods or chattels , supposed to have been stolen or lost, may be found, every person, so offending, being therefore lawfully convicted on indictment or information in that part of Great Britain called England, or an indictment or libel in that part of Great Britain called Scotland, shall, for every such offence, suffer imprisonment by the space of one whole year, without bail or mainprize, and once in every quarter of the said year, in some market town of the proper county, upon the market day, there stand openly on the pillory by the space of one hour, and also shall ( if the court by which such judgment be given shall think fit) be obliged to give sureties for his or her good behavior, in such sum and for such time, as the said court shall judge proper according to the circumstances of the offence, and in such case shall be further imprisoned until such surety be given.
Fraudulent Mediums Act 1951
An Act to repeal the Witchcraft Act 1735, and to make, in substitution for certain provisions in section four of the Vagrancy Act of 1824, express provision for the punishment of persons who fraudulent purport to act as spiritualistic mediums or to exercise powers of telepathy, clairvoyance or other similar powers.
1. Punishment of fraudulent mediums, &c.-(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, any person who – A With intent to deceive purports to act as a spiritualistic medium or to exercise any powers of telepathy, clairvoyance or other similar powers or B In purporting to act as a spiritualistic medium or to exercise such powers as aforesaid, uses any fraudulent device,
shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) A person shall not be convicted of an offence under the forgoing section unless it is proved that he or she acted for reward; and for the purposes of this section, a person shall be deemed to act for reward if any money is paid, or other valuable thing given, in respect of what he does, whether to him or to any other person.
(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summery conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding four months or to both such fine and such imprisonment; or on conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding five hundred pounds or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both such a fine and such imprisonment.
(4) No proceedings for an offence under this section shall be brought in England or Wales except by or with the consent of The Director Of Public Prosecutions.
(5) Nothing in subsection (1) shall apply to anything done solely for the purpose of entertainment.
Repealed May 2008.
Consumer Protection Regulations 2008.
Please sign the UPIA Petition...http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/PsychicTesting/#detail
We petition Her Majesty’s government to initiate an accreditation scheme for Mediums, Psychics, Spiritualists and other paranormal practitioners, which would determine whether an individual truly exhibits abilities inexplicable in terms of scientific laws We ask to raise this petition in recognition that many psychic practitioners charge substantial sums of money for their services to an often vulnerable customer base. It is noted that the Office of Fair Trading deems false psychic readings to be a major area of fraudulent activity earning £140 million per annum. We request the creation of testing centres to assess individual’s claimed abilities are either paranormal or can be explained in mundane terms. Those passing such an assessment would be issued a licence, legally permitting them to commercially offer their services as a practitioner. This document, however, should acknowledge that even apparently authentic psychic abilities are neither precise nor predictable.
Special Thanks to Kirst D'Raven.