Janet Horne

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Janet Horne
The Witch's Stone in Dornoch, marking the spot of her execution
DiedJune 1727
Dornoch, Scotland
Cause of deathBurned alive
MonumentsThe Witch's Stone in Littletown, Dornoch.
Known forLast person to be executed legally for witchcraft in the British Isles

Janet Horne (died 1727) was the last person to be executed legally for witchcraft in the British Isles.[1]

Horne and her daughter were arrested in Dornoch in Sutherland and imprisoned on the accusations of her neighbours. Horne was showing signs of senility, and her daughter had a deformity of her hands and feet. The neighbours accused Horne of having used her daughter as a pony to ride to the Devil, where she had her shod by him. The trial was conducted very quickly; the sheriff, Captain David Ross, had judged both guilty and sentenced them to be burned at the stake. The daughter managed to escape, but Janet was stripped, smeared with tar, paraded through the town on a barrel and burned alive. Nine years after her death the witchcraft acts were repealed in Scotland.

Janet (or Jenny) Horne was also a generic name for witches in the north of Scotland at the time and this makes it difficult to determine what the real name of this woman may have been.[2] Contemporary writers may have called her 'Janet Horne' simply because her real name was unknown or because the name was reported as 'Janet Horne' and they were unaware that this was a generic name. Some sources give the date of the Dornoch execution as June 1722.[3]


The Witch's Stone in Littletown, Dornoch, marks the alleged spot of Horne's execution.[2]

She is the subject of the play The Last Witch by Rona Munro, which premiered at the 2009 Edinburgh International Festival[4] and was part of the 2018 summer season at Pitlochry Festival Theatre.[5]

In 2023 there was an exhibition of thirteen figures, Witches in Words, not Deeds, created by Carolyn Sutton. Duncan was one of the figures exhibited at Edinburgh's Central Library.[6]


  1. ^ K. M. Sheard (8 December 2011). Llewellyn's Complete Book of Names: For Pagans, Wiccans, Druids, Heathens, Mages, Shamans & Independent Thinkers of All Sorts Who Are Curious about Na. Llewellyn Worldwide. pp. 304–. ISBN 978-0-7387-2368-6. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b Henderson, Lizanne (2017). Witchcraft and Folk Belief in the Age of Enlightenment : scotland 1670-1740. Palgrave McMillan. p. 238. ISBN 978-1349593132. OCLC 1080426994.
  3. ^ Neill, W. N. (1923). "The Last Execution for Witchcraft in Scotland, 1722". Scottish Historical Review. 20 (79): 218–21. JSTOR 25519547.
  4. ^ Charlotte Higgins (9 August 2009). "Rona Munro burns bright at Edinburgh". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  5. ^ "The 2018 Summer Season". Pitlochry Festival Theatre. Archived from the original on 11 December 2018. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  6. ^ edinburghcitylibraries (20 September 2023). "Witches in Word, not Deed – an exhibition at Central Library until 30 November 2023". Tales of One City. Retrieved 24 November 2023.

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