A 350-year-old notebook which describes the execution of innocent women in East Anglia for consorting with the devil has been published online.
Puritan writer Nehemiah Wallington wrote passages on his attitudes to life, religion, the civil war as well as the witchcraft trials of the period.
By 1654 Wallington had catalogued 50 notebooks, of which only seven are known to have survived. Four are in the British Library, one in the Guildhall Library, one in the Folger Library in Washington DC, and one at Tatton Park in Cheshire.
The Tatton notebook describes battles and skirmishes of the English Civil War period and the disturbing violence of the 1640s in which dozens of East Anglian women were killed.
Last year, a team of experts from The University of Manchester's John Rylands Centre for Heritage Imaging and Collection Care spent a week at Tatton Park to capture the document on camera.
Wallington tells how a supposed coven of witches was found in the Suffolk village of Manningtree. Manningtree is the home village of 'Witchfinder General' Matthew Hopkins, who was notorious for his brutality against women.
In 1645 Hopkins had been appointed to examine villager Elizabeth Clarke for 'devil's marks' - like warts or moles.
Under torture, she named other women, including her daughter Rebecca. When Rebecca was herself tortured, she implicated her own mother as a witch. A total of 19 women were eventually hanged, though Rebecca was saved thanks to her confession.
James Robinson, senior photographer at the John Rylands Library, said: "Our work at Tatton Park involved careful documentation of each and every page of this fragile and important notebook. We're delighted the public, free of charge, will now be able to read for themselves the horrors of that period."
Tatton Park mansion and collections manager, Caroline Schofield, said: "The Wallington manuscripts are hugely important primary sources for scholars of the period." For more details visit: www.chiccmanchester.wordpress.com