The Witch-Finder King: King James I and His Relationship to Witchcraft




Wallace, Tamara

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This project focuses on King James VI and I of Scotland and England with particular attention on his relationship to witchcraft. It explains what James thought witches could do, but more importantly their place in the social-political order and their importance as a political tool. It also explores how James’ views evolved, specifically the perceived divide between his time in Scotland and England. It examines potential reasons for why James believed what he did, such as personal experiences or demonological writings, and why they changed or didn’t. In many ways, the first section of this thesis is a psycho-history of James and his specific perspective on witchcraft, seeking to understand his views and how they changed, or rather didn't. This project argues that James' viewpoint remained consistent over time and to James, for whom personal matters were deeply political, witchcraft and witch trials were primarily public relations or political tools and when viewed in this context, James actions become increasingly rational, despite the standard narrative.



witchcraft, England, James I, witches, Scotland, early modern Europe