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Biography for
Matthew Hopkins (Character)
from Witchfinder General (1968)

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Matthew Hopkins (c. 1620 19 August 1647) was an English witch-hunter whose career flourished during the time of the English Civil War. He claimed to hold the office of Witchfinder General, although that title was never bestowed by Parliament. His witch-hunts mainly took place in the eastern counties of Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, and occasionally in Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, and Huntingdonshire.

Hopkins' witch-finding career began in March 1644 and lasted until his retirement in 1647. During that period, he and his associates were responsible for more people being hanged for witchcraft than in the previous 100 years, and were solely responsible for the increase in witch trials during those years. He is believed to have been responsible for the deaths of 300 women between the years 1644 and 1646. It has been estimated that all of the English witch trials between the early 15th and late 18th centuries resulted in fewer than 500 executions for witchcraft. Therefore, presuming the number executed as a result of investigations by Hopkins and his colleague John Stearne is at the lower end of the various estimates, their efforts accounted for about 60 per cent of the total; in the 14 months of their crusade Hopkins and Stearne sent to the gallows more people than all the other witch-hunters in the 160 years of persecution in England.

Page last updated by hectorthebat, 9 months ago
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