Remembering the Accused Witches of Scotland (RAWS) are thrilled to have been instrumental in having another street named after an Accused Witch.
In 2019, five streets in South Queensferry were named after Accused Witches – Helen Thompson, Marion Dauline, Marion Stern, Marion Little and Isabel Young, although the streets only bear their surnames.
In 2021, Kilwinning named a street after Bessie Grahame, this was down to the hard work conducted by Heather Upfield, local historian and member of Remembering The Accused Witches of Scotland (RAWS). Heather’s story is available on the website www.raws.scot
And now Maggie Morgan is being remembered, by having a street in the new development by Lochay in St Monans named after her, Maggie Morgan Drive.
Men are currently honoured by many statues, plaques, and street names in Scotland. However, women are well under-represented and at times even invisible, nearly all the victims of the Witch Trials, which took place in Scotland from 1563 to 1736 are forgotten.
We should remember them and the other women that have played a huge part of Scotland’s history.
The Scottish Witch Trials of the 16th and 17th centuries, often referred to as the burning times, are generally overlooked, a forgotten part of Scotland’s heritage.
Remembering The Accused Witches of Scotland are working towards changing this, the Witch hunts that took place affected both women and men, with 85% of the accused being female and only 15% being male. We believe all the victims should be remembered.
So, when campaign follower Barbara Cockburn, a resident of St Monans, approached RAWS asking us to support her request that a new street be named after Maggie Morgan, we were fully supportive of this idea.
Barbara had read about Maggie in a book “The Weem Witch” by Leonard Low. This sparked her interest and in April 2021, in conjunction with RAWS Committee Member, Researcher and Author Greg Stewart, and RAWS Chairperson and Researcher, Sheila Gaul they compiled a letter to the Community Council to support the street naming and telling Maggie’s story.
Maggie was not extraordinary, she was just a normal teenager going about her business, her only crime was to be pretty. Her tragic story has not only caught Barbara and the Community Council’s attention but also Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project. Maggie was one of the main characters in Laura’s book “The Burning”, this book clearly shows the parallels between the 1600s and the 2000’s.
When contacted, Laura Bates stated, “what a wonderful idea, I would certainly support this campaign” April 2021
Bruce Bishop, Historian and Author who assisted with the research for “The Burning”, stated “I would certainly give my support to the idea of naming streets in memory of such ladies who were so often ill-considered by the annals of history. Often they were the women who held the only available remedies, especially to the poorer people, and you wonder how many of our modern remedies owe their origins to the folk memories and traditions of these “Witches”.
So I would happily give my support to your project.”
Bruce B Bishop April 2021
Maggie’s story is not well documented, unlike some of the later trials in Fife, but her story is a sad tale and one as old as time. She was pretty, innocent and caught the eye of a local gentleman, one of the Anstruthers of Elie. Maggie found herself pregnant, but when she told who the father was no one believed her, why would a gentleman from a good family do such a thing!
After all this never happens, the misuse of power, privilege and status has and continues to allow men to get away with offences toward women and girls, nothing has changed in 400 years.
Maggie was angered and when the father of her child drowned in the Firth of Forth, She was blamed and accused of Witchcraft, tortured, found guilty, strangled and burnt. It is believed that Maggie was burnt in the southwest corner of the church yard and her ashes placed in the open loft on the spire of St Monans Church, known as the Burnt Loft, to blow away and not settle on consecrated ground.
It is believed that the Minister with other dignitaries took the Baillies chairs out of the Church to sit and watch Maggie’s demise.
“These chairs date back to 1618 and I’m sure the then Minister Robert or David Rankine sat in them to watch young Maggie burn”
As stand-in curator of our Heritage collection in St Monans with a passion for our history, Billy Morris explained that “The Baillies Chairs are in the custody of the East Neuk o’ Fife Preservation Society having been returned to the town when NEFDC took over all the old town council”
These chairs had until recently been used in the crowning of the sea queen, due to their age and historical importance, and perhaps their dark past.
Remembering The Accused Witches of Scotland is a small but growing group of social justice campaigners, historians and passionate community members who would like to raise awareness of the forgotten victims of Scotland’s Witch Trials, both men and women.
RAWS Is a registered charity which aims to raise awareness of the horrific injustices Inflicted upon over 4,000 women and men who were wrongly accused of Witchcraft by both Church and State in Scotland.
Our aim is to seek formal recognition, from both Church and State, of the great wrong that was done and through public subscription, erect a National Monument to ensure that these tragic events of the past will never again be forgotten.
Anyone wishing to contact us, can do so by dropping an email to: email@example.com