Discovering the Real Pendle Witches

In August 1612, the Pendle witch trials took place in Lancaster, Lancashire. 80 years before the notorious Salem witch trials, these trials against a group of people from a remote area of Northern England set precedents that stretched all the way to Massachusetts and beyond.

My debut novel, The Hellion, is based on some of those who found themselves accused during the trials.

The People Behind the Pendle Witch Trials

Much information is available about the political history of the trials. The king at the time, the lawmakers, the prosecutors and the scribes are all well known and well documented. What is often overlooked in stories of horror such as this one is the victims. The people who lost their lives are overshadowed by the power balance.

It’s natural (though frustrating) that we wouldn’t know as much about these people as we do about the men at the the top of the pile. Often illiterate, certainly without access to record makers, the poor of Pendle would have lived their lives in utter obscurity compared to the ruling classes in London, and even Lancashire.

However, we are lucky – in a way – that such comprehensive records were kept of the trials themselves. From these, we know the names of the accused, where they lived, who they were related to, and – from the often heated exchanges – an idea of their characters.

Malkin Tower and the Devices

Some of the accused lived in a home called Malkin Tower. This gives us an immediate insight into them and how they lived. Although it may sound grand, Malkin Tower was a nickname. Malkin was an old word meaning slovenly or slatternly, and the ‘Tower’ part was likely a joke. The fact that the house had been given this name, that it was widely used – even in official court documents – suggests that it was somewhat infamous. The occupants stated that it was their address – did they encourage the use of the name?

As well as this, we learn a little about what they were like from the things they said in court. From a combative and well-worded speech given in defence, to a sorrowful and genuine confession of guilt, when we read carefully we can find out what they were like, and what they thought of the charges brought against them.

When we take these reactions and consider them within the wider religious and cultural background, we can ascertain much more about their lives.

Reading About the Pendle Witches

It was an honour to research some of the accused for The Hellion. To learn about their lives, and imagine how they may have lived, was a privilege. You can find The Hellion for sale on the Book Depository (for worldwide free delivery), Amazon (for the paperback, ebook and audiobook), and any other good bookshop. You can also request it from your local independent bookshop.

Requests for interviews, discussions, book club meets, signings etc are welcomed. I’d love to hear from you- just enter your details below. Looking forward to hearing from you!

The Hellion Launch Party

You are invited!

The Hellion is officially released on 15th April, and I am planning a virtual launch party to celebrate. It’s not the launch party I had hoped for (though I will be arranging a physical one when restrictions allow!) but it would still be fantastic to come together with you to mark the occasion.

The details:

Date: 15th April 2021

Time: 7pm BST

Link: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/75726903894?pwd=SFowYS9Sb21UNDVpZko2OFAvdW1Udz09

Meeting ID: 757 2690 3894
Passcode: 233433

Nitty gritty: anyone and everyone is invited, so feel free to pass the link on to anyone who you think may enjoy it. You don’t need to have read the book (there won’t be any spoilers!), you don’t even need to own it (though if you do want a copy for launch day you can get one here).

The party will last for around 45 minutes (full schedule to be decided, but it won’t be any longer than this). Glasses of champagne are encouraged, snacks optional. Cameras can be on or off, whatever you’re most comfortable with.

I can’t wait to see you there!

The Hellion by Harriet Young – Updates, News and Reviews

The Hellion author Harriet Young

The Hellion will be released on 15th April, and as the publication date gets ever closer, I thought it would be a good idea to share some updates and info.

The Hellion is the story of the Device family, who lived in the shadow of Pendle Hill and were haunted by the whisper of witchcraft. Read the full blurb here. It is being published by Unbound Publishers, and is currently available to preorder from most major bookshops (links below).

News

The launch party is in the planning stages right now! This will be an online party on the 15th April, with details to be announced shortly. It will be open to anyone, and details will be announced on my Instagram (@thesenovelthoughts) and through the blog soon. If you would like to sign up to receive an email invitation, please enter your email address below.

There will also be a short FAQ session as part of the party, so if you have any questions you would like answering (about me, the book, the publishing process, anything!), pop them in the box below and I will answer as many as I can on the day.

The physical launch party will be going ahead as soon as COVID restrictions allow, so stay tuned for updates.

Reviews

“I absolutely loved this book, it had me gripped from the beginning and I could not put it down until I finished it.” Alison – Goodreads

Reviews for The Hellion are starting to trickle through online, and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who takes the time to rate or review The Hellion. Reviews are vital for authors, and every review you leave helps to spread visibility and bookish love. Thank you!

If you would like to leave a review, here are some popular places to do so:

Goodreads – free to set up an account

Amazon – you don’t need to have bought the book from Amazon to leave a review on there

The StoryGraph – an awesome website which will track your reading too

LoveReading – sign up to add books to your bookshelf

Updates

If you’re keen to read The Hellion right now, the audiobook is available to listen to. It’s narrated by Melanie Crawley, and you can find it on scribd, audible, Google play, and many more.

The paperback and ebook are available to preorder from a variety of places including:

Waterstones

W H Smith

Book Depository

Blackwell’s

Wordery

Bookshop.org

Amazon

Unbound