The Calder Witch Hunt is a volunteer-led community project exploring and commemorating the events of 1643-45 during which at least five women were executed for the crime of “witchcraft”. This involves an exhibition, gallery, talks and workshops helping us to tell the stories in a factual, sensitive and interesting way and relate what happened locally to what was happening nationally then and now. Our overall aim is to commemorate the women who were affected.


On the 13th of April 1643 the Calder kirk-session appointed a new minister, 22-year-old Hew Kennedie. Almost as soon as he was ordained Kennedie, along with local nobleman Sir William Sandilands and kirk bailie James Sandilands, began a ferocious mission to eradicate witchcraft from Calder parish.

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Drawing by Abbie Short, James Young High School

Background to The Calder Witch Hunt and our project

The Scottish Witchcraft Act of 1563 condemned to death those convicted of witchcraft. Across Scotland the act led to at least 4000 people being formally accused of crimes that we now know are ridiculous and impossible.

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Witch Trials

Making Money from the witches: Part Two: Euphame MacCalzean

Isobel Ewart’s intervention in the Calder witch hunt case is unusual. Not just because we hear the voice of a woman speaking up so clearly for those accused but also because of the recent history of the family she had married into – the Douglas’ of Pumpherston.

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Making money from the witches: Part One: Isobel Ewart and the Calder witch hunt

In September 1644, when the witchcraft accusations were at their height, Isobel was accused by minister Hew Kennedie of ‘scolding and railing against the kirk session’. She thought the Kirk was persecuting innocent women and accused the session of ‘making money from the witches’.

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