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image for Talk item typeTalk: The Witchfinder General

  • VistEngland VAQAS
  • Self-assessed Accessibility Information

Talk, Thu 28 Feb 2019, £10

Witchfinder General

Witchfinder General


Witchfinder General: Matthew Hopkins and the East Anglian Witch-Hunt
A talk from author and historian Malcolm Gaskill

As part of Creativity Matters: Conflict and Culture

In the spring of 1645, at the height of the English civil war, two godly gentlemen, Matthew Hopkins and John Stearne, began interrogating women suspected of witchcraft in a remote corner of Essex. This talk tells the terrible story of how the so-called ‘Witchfinder General’ extended his campaign across East Anglia, triggering the most brutal witch-hunt in English history. Exploiting the anxiety and lawlessness of the times, and cheered on by ordinary folk, Hopkins and Stearne extracted confessions of satanic pacts resulting in scores of executions by the time their bloody campaign ended in 1647.

Malcolm Gaskill is Professor of Early Modern History at the University of East Anglia. He is the author of five books, including Hellish Nell: Last of Britain’s Witches (2001) and Witchfinders: A Seventeenth-Century English Tragedy (2005). He recently led a major research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust entitled ‘Inner Lives: Emotion, Identity and the Supernatural, 1300–1900’, and was an Associate Curator of Spellbound: Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft, an exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

As part of ‘Creativity Matters: Conflict and Culture’: a series of public talks throughout February and March which will explore the themes and stories behind Firstsite’s Conflict and Culture artistic programme.

Baby changing facilitiesCoach parties acceptedCredit cards accepted (no fee)Credit cards accepted (with charge)Disabled toiletsEducation/study areaFacilities for groupsFacilities for educational visitsGift shopOn-site cateringOn-site light refreshmentsPicnic sitePublic toiletsRegional Tourist Board MemberWelcome HostWheelchairs availableAccepts groupsFacilities for conferencingFacilities for corporate hospitality

Disabled accessFacilities for hearing impaired

Event details

Dates Times
Thu 28 Feb 2019 19:00


£10 all tickets

Also see

Events at this Venue

date event
Sat 10 Nov - Sun 12 May Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere
Sat 19 Jan - Sun 24 Mar Emotions Go to Work
Sat 9 Feb - Sun 21 Apr susan pui san lok | A Coven A Grove A Stand
Tue 12 Feb - Sun 24 Mar flyingleaps: Art on the streets II
Sat 16 - Sun 24 Feb Firstsite Holiday Fun | February Half Term 2019
Wed 27 Feb Hidden Harm: Know our story


Lewis Gardens,
High Street,


See location of Firstsite on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

Map reference: TL 999252  Lat: 51.88968 Long: 0.90477

By Road:
Follow signs to the Town Centre.

Accessible by Public Transport: 1 mile from Colchester Town station


  • Baby changing facilitiesBaby changing facilities
  • Coach parties acceptedCoach parties accepted
  • Credit cards accepted (no fee)Credit cards accepted (no fee)
  • Credit cards accepted (with charge)Credit cards accepted (with charge)
  • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
  • Education/study areaEducation/study area
  • Facilities for groupsFacilities for groups
  • Facilities for educational visitsFacilities for educational visits
  • Gift shopGift shop
  • On-site cateringOn-site catering
  • On-site light refreshmentsOn-site light refreshments
  • Picnic sitePicnic site
  • Public toiletsPublic toilets
  • Regional Tourist Board MemberRegional Tourist Board Member
  • Welcome HostWelcome Host
  • Wheelchairs availableWheelchairs available
  • Accepts groupsAccepts groups
  • Facilities for conferencingFacilities for conferencing
  • Facilities for corporate hospitalityFacilities for corporate hospitality
  • Disabled accessDisabled access
  • Facilities for hearing impairedFacilities for hearing impaired

Self-Assessed Accessibility Details


  • YesDesignated parking for guests with disabilities
    • YesWithin 50 metres approx. of entrance
  • The surface of the car park and pathway leading to entrance:
    • Yesis solid
  • YesDrop-off point for guests outside entrance
  • The route from the parking area to the entrance:
    • YesIs flat (i.e. without steps)

Public Areas

  • Level access (no steps/thresholds) or access by ramp or lift:
    • YesFrom the entrance to reception / ticket area
    • YesTo a specially adapted public toilet suitable for wheelchair users
    • YesTo the gift shop
  • YesGood contrast between the floor and walls
  • YesContrast markings on clear surfaces such as glass doors
  • YesBaby changing facilities
  • YesVisitor information available in large print (14pt and over)
  • YesHearing loop installed in public areas


  • YesSeating available for visitors with limited mobility
  • YesClear signage
  • YesEffective lighting for visually impaired visitors
  • YesGood colour/tonal contrast for visually impaired visitors
  • YesRoutes/pathways suitable for wheelchair users or visitors with limited mobility
  • YesDisplays at suitable height for wheelchair users / children
  • YesAudible alarm system


  • YesEntrance is well lit
  • YesAutomatic door at the main entrance


  • YesLevel access (no steps/thresholds) or access by ramp or lift to cafeteria
  • YesGood contrast between the floor and walls
  • Restaurant / cafe provide meals for visitors with special dietary requirements:
    • YesSugar free (diabetic)
    • YesGluten free (coeliacs)
    • YesLactose free (dairy free)
    • YesNut free
    • YesAdditive free
    • YesVegetarian
    • YesVegan
  • YesSeating suitable for wheelchair users, ie moveable and good height for person sitting in a wheelchair
  • YesHigh chairs for children
  • YesChildren's menu