The Story

The Renfrewshire Witchcraft case of 1697

On the 10th June 1697 seven people were executed and burnt on the Gallowgreen of Paisley, bringing the events of the past ten months to a conclusion.   These events, in most modern accounts tend to dwell on the accusations made by eleven year old Christian Shaw of Bargarran, but there are many more incidents and reports of witchcraft within the same time period, and quite often relating to the same people that Christian Shaw accused.  This paper attempts to re-evaluate the story of the Renfrewshire Witchcraft case of 1697, correcting popular errors and looking at other contemporary cases within the county, mostly evidenced from the confessions of Elizabeth Anderson, Thomas Lindsay and James Lindsay.

Who was Christian?

Christian Shaw was the Daughter of John Shaw Laird of Bargarran and Christian Gilchrist.  She was born sometime in 1685, and was 11 by the time she made her allegations.  Her Father,John Shaw was a relation of the Shaws of Greenock, and Christian McGilchrist was the daughter of Donald McGilchrist and Lady Janet Aitken of North Barr House, the adjacent property to the Bargarran Estate.

 

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