Newes from Scotland

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Newes from Scotland
Illustration of Doctor Fian, from Newes from Scotland
Country England
Language Middle English, Scots, Irish
Genre Occult, Religion, Philosophy, Dissertation
Publication date
Media type Print
Followed by Daemonologie (1597)

Newes from Scotland - declaring the damnable life and death of Dr. Fian, a notable sorcerer is a pamphlet printed in London in 1591, and likely written by James Carmichael, who later advised King James VI on the writing of his book Daemonologie.[1] It describes the infamous North Berwick witch trials in Scotland and the confessions given before the King.


Further information: John Fian and North Berwick witch trials

Included in the pamphlet is an account of the alleged witches Agnes Sampson, known as the Wise Wife of Keith, and the principal accuser Gillis Duncan and described the death of Archibald Douglas, 8th Earl of Angus who was said to have been bewitched to death in a disease so strange his physician could find no cure or remedy. The pamphlet details the initial events leading up to the trials, how each of the suspected witches were found out and captured, leading to the eventual apprehension of Dr. John Fian who was declared a notable sorcerer, under compact with the devil and the supposed head of the coven. During his examination, he confessed to be the register of the witches under the service of Satan but afterwards he renounced his compact with Satan and swore to live an honorable Christian life. He also testified that Satan came to him the same day to convince him to uphold his original pact. Fian stated that he renounced Satan to his face. It was the next day when he confessed what happened that he managed to steal a key to his cell from one of the guards and escaped his imprisonment. After he was recaptured, he was tortured to obtain his confession but denied all his previous confessions. His torture, most notably by the boot used to crush his feet, the pilliwinks, and by having his nails forcibly extracted.

The pamphlet contains virtually the only contemporary illustrations of Scottish witchcraft.[2]

Original copies are kept at Glasgow University, and in the Bodleian Library at Oxford.[3]



Study of Newes from Scotland