Witches? Not any more! The last witch in Scotland was burnt in Dornoch in 1722. There is a stone commemorating the event and it can be seen in a garden on Carnaig Street. The stone is set in a private garden but the owner’s kindly allow access to take photographs.
The Historylinks Museum chronicles the history of Sutherland and the town. In a garden in Littletown, on the way to the beach, stands the Witch’s Stone; where the last witch in Scotland was burnt, in 1722 – a fact commemorated by the Witch’s Stone. Historylinks Museum permanent exhibition includes the Cathedral, feuding clans and Scotland’s last witch.
It is also notable as the last place a witch was burnt in Scotland. Her name was Janet Horne; she was tried and condemned to death in 1727. She provided “proof” of her guilt by stumbling over a recitation in Gaelic of the Lord’s Prayer during her trial. Whether she really turned her daughter into a horse, rode her round the town, then took her off to be shod by the devil seems open to doubt. Legendary golf course designer Donald Ross began his career as a greenkeeper on the Royal Dornoch links. Perhaps the real explanation lies more in the quality of the output of the local illicit still that week. The event is marked by the Witch’s Stone in a side street just south of the Square.
Click on the image for larger view
The enlightenment had been a pervasive theme of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival. In The Last Witch (a co-production with the Traverse Theatre), are producing the play which was written by Rona Munro, and run from August 23-29. A PLAY about Scotland’s last witch to be sentenced to death is premiering at the Edinburgh International Festival later this month. It concerns an actual, convicted witch. Her name is Janet Horne, a former resident of the Highland town of Dornoch. Horne was the last woman to be executed in Scotland for the crime of witchcraft. Three centuries after she met her end, she still casts a spell over people, and I intend to find out why. The Last Witch is based on the historical account of Janet Horne of Dornoch, the last woman to be executed for witchcraft in Scotland. Read more
The Last Witch Of Scotland
Dornoch Heritage Society Trust
Tel: 01862 811275
Scotland’s Last Witch
Dornoch Heritage Society Trust, Carnaig Street Dornoch
Sutherland IV25 3SF