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The extended edition of The Manningtree Account.
England 1645 – Civil War clutches the country in a merciless embrace. It has been raging, trudging its heavy boots, sweeping the weary country with fear and battle, for nigh on three years. The hearts of men, divided, The Royalists of King Charles I, and Cromwell’s Parliamentarians. Steadfast in their intentions, to retain or gain power, each loyal to their cause, but, in fear and severe hatred of those with other, contentious, ideals.
Yet, in the souls of the lowly countrymen, the humble farmer, the timid maiden, from clerk to clergy, another war rages, fuelled by ignorance. Superstition. It rules with a fierce rod. God-fearing folk seek refuge in pure beliefs, and be damned any who step outside the boundary. Parliament propaganda whispers in men’s ears – There be evil. Slowly, gradually, gaining momentum ‘til it spreads like wildfire. Weed out the Crown’s servants of Satan. Reap the country bare of its demons. Beelzebub lurks, preying on the weak and needy. Innocents hearts to contaminate, milk to sour, butter to spoil, crops to rot.
However, there is a man. One who wheedles his employment of local parish, town, village and hamlet. One who is trusted, esteemed and feared. He comes, with those in his employ, to watch, gathering evidence and confession. His success speaks of a countryside rife with evil, an intemperate plague of witches, the Devil’s Whores.
“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” Exodus 22:18