Burgh asked to back memorial to witches

Witch memorial'Perth
Witch memorial'Perth
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PLANS are afoot to create a permanent memorial to the 26 Pittenweem ‘witches’ who were tortured and killed in the village.

Local author Len Low, whose book ‘The Weem Witch’ documents the horrific trials of some of those accused of witchcraft across the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, is behind the project and hopes to win community backing.

Len has opened discussions with Fife Council to identify a suitable plot of land for the two foot square granite monument which would become the first of its kind to be sanctioned by a local authority in the country.

There are currently two unofficial monuments in Scotland, in Inverness and Perth.

Len told the Mail: “The monument would have the names of the 26 witches on it and the dates of their deaths.

“I want to go through all the proper channels with it, I’ve had some good help from Fife Council, but there are others I don’t expect will be too helpful.”

The tale of the witches, who were tried in the village’s Tolbooth Tower, is a particularly grisly and shameful one.

To be declared a witch didn’t really take much, with the sinking of a fishing vessel, poor crop return or for somebody to fall ill, enough for some member of society to be labelled.

Alan Paul, The council’s corporate asset manager said: “We’ve asked Mr Low to come back with a full proposal for the memorial, including its design and the precise location that he is suggesting for it.

“As the location is likely to be on land held for the common good we will have to consult with the community council as well as local elected members and local and community services.

“As well as the aesthetics we would also have to agree, with everyone involved, how a memorial would be financed and managed in the future. It’s not just a question of building something, but also ensuring that it can be maintained in good order for the long-term.”

Pittenweem community council was due to discuss the plan at its meeting on Monday.