How the Pendle Witches are bringing 'dark tourists' to Lancashire

  • Report by Paul Crone

We love to visit places with a spooky past, or where a medieval murder took place.

So no wonder Lancashire is benefitting from what's known as Dark Tourism.

And look no further for information, than Lancaster University academic Sophie James who has spent the last year researching the famous Pendle Witches, and has just had a paper published on the matter.

Sophie James visits the Pendle Witch sculpture of Alice Nutter Credit: ITV Granada

The trials of the Pendle witches at Lancaster Castle in 1612 are among the most famous witch trials in English history. In total 10 people were hung after being imprisoned in the Castle. The evidence used to find them guilty was mostly based on gossip and hearsay.

The Castle is among a host of locations across Lancashire which have become a bustling industry where you can buy anything from a Pendle Witches tea towel, or a take part in ghost walks.

Lancaster Castle where the Pendle Witches were held before they were hanged Credit: ITV Granada

Sophie spent time talking to historians and people interested in witchcraft in order to write her paper for Lancaster University.

She said,"There's walking trails, guided tours, heritage centres, museums, independent retail outlets, all of this which offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore this rich fabric and spookyness."

Pendle Hill's history attracts hundreds of visitors to the area every year Credit: ITV Granada

Forty miles from Lancaster Castle lies a perfect example of Dark Tourism.

In the village of Roughlee in the shadow of Pendle Hill lies a stunning sculpture of one of the Pendle Witches, Alice Nutter.

The site is a popular photo location for those keen to follow the story of the Pendle Witches. And wherever people stop en route, chances are they'll want a brew and a cake. Vital monies coming into the local economy.

Alice Nutter's sculpture can be found by the main road through the village of Roughlee near Nelson.

A sculpture of 'Pendle Witch' Alice Nutter Credit: ITV Granada

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