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Survey of Scottish Witchcraft Database

Survey of Scottish Witchcraft
Scottish History, School of History and Classics, The University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Woodcut of a witch trial

Agnes Finnie (6/3/1645)

Case details

The accused Finnie, Agnes
Start date 8/7/1644
End date6/3/1645
Characterisation Demonic
Neighbourhood dispute
Unorthodox religious practice
Notes on characterisationMaleficium followed disputes about her work as a shop-keeper. She may have been thought to lift a disease from someone, but she was not a folk healer at all.
Notes on caseAn extremely complicated case with lots of legal reasoning.

People involved in case

Name Involvement in case Notes
Alexander Colville Investigator kirk session/presbytery interrogation
James Eleis Investigator Kirk session/presbytery interrogation
Patrick Henderson Investigator Kirk session/presbytery interrogation
Mungo Law Investigator kirk session/presbytery interrogation

Trials associated with this case

Finnie,Agnes (trial date 18/12/1644) Central trial

Qualitative information

Non-natural beings

Implied demonic pactYes
NotesDescribed as being in 'cumpany with the Devill, in consulting wi him'

Witches' Meetings

Folk Culture

Specific verbal formulaeYes
Dreams and visionsYes
Unorthodox religious practiceYes
Folk NotesTried to remove witches' malice with a gift of ale. Against defence saying prayer is not demonic, it was argued that it could be if it was used as a devilish charm.

Counter strategies



Type of shapeNotes
ApparitionAgnes and her daughter haunting after a flyting

Calendar customs


Religious motif



Human illnessYes
Aggravating diseaseYes
Laying onYes
Notes on diseaseParalysis, sweating , pain, broken legs, 'bloodie flux'; after childbirth she caused sweating and loss of speech esp. at 4 and 12pm

Cause of witch's malice

Failed business interaction
Revenge for being called a witch
Social slight

Other maleficia

Property damageYes
NotesRevenge for a godchild not being given her name.

Property damage

Whole Estate

Other charges



Books of Adjournal JC2/8 fos. 390-408; 408-409
Books of Adjournal JC2/8 fos. 409-418
RPC 2nd S v8, pp. 134-5
SJC v3, pp. 627-675
Witchcraft Papers JC40/9