Janet Horne

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Janet Horne (died 1727) was an alleged witch from Scotland, and the last person to be executed for witchcraft in the British Isles.[1]

Janet 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 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 Nine years after her death the witchcraft acts were repealed in Scotland.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. 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.[2]

Legacy[edit]

She is the subject of the play The Last Witch by Rona Munro, which premiered at the 2009 Edinburgh International Festival.[3]

Also, the events of the story are the subject of the song "Am I Evil?" by heavy metal band Diamond Head.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  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. ^ Neill, W. N. (1923). "The Last Execution for Witchcraft in Scotland, 1722". Scottish Historical Review. 20: 218–21. JSTOR 25519547. 
  3. ^ Charlotte Higgins (9 August 2009). "Rona Munro burns bright at Edinburgh". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2015.