John Stearne (witch-hunter)
John Stearne (c. 1610–1670) was an associate of self-styled "Witchfinder General" Matthew Hopkins, a witch-hunter active during the English Civil War. Stearne was known at various times as the witch-hunter, and "witch pricker". A family man and land owner from Lawshall near Bury St Edmunds, Stearne was 10 years older than Hopkins. He met Hopkins in Manningtree and appointed him as his assistant. As a result of Stearne's accusations, a trial was held in Chelmsford in July 1645 for 29 people accused of witchcraft and sorcery. Of these four had died in prison prior to the trial and 15 or 16 were subsequently hanged. Nine who had been convicted of conjuring spirits were reprieved.
Within a year of the death of Matthew Hopkins, John Stearne retired to his farm and wrote A Confirmation and Discovery of Witchcraft.
- Davies, S.F (2007). The Discovery of Witches and Witchcraft: The Writings of the Witchfinders. Puckrel.
- A detailed account of the duo's activities can be found in Malcolm Gaskill's Witchfinders: A Seventeenth Century English Tragedy (Harvard, 2005). The duo's activities were portrayed unreliably, but entertainingly, in the 1968 cult classic Witchfinder-General (U.S. title: The Conqueror Worm).
- St Edmundsbury, Borough Council. "Reformation and Civil War 1539-1699". Retrieved 2007-12-15.
- Notestein 1911: p166
- Notestein 1911: p248
- Gaskill 2005: p13
- Gaskill 2005: p123
- Notestein 1911: p173; 403
- Gaskill 2005: p129
- Gaskill, Malcolm (2005), Witchfinders –A Seventeenth Century English Tragedy, London: John Murray, ISBN 0-7195-6120-5
- Notestein, Wallace (1911), A History of Witchcraft In England from 1558 to 1718, New York: American Historical Association 1911 (reissued 1965) New York Russell & Russell, ISBN 978-1169793521, OCLC 223043