Question : How much does it cost to burn a witch? Answer : £15 19s 2d

We know this because in the Archives are stored the Newcastle Chamberlains’ accounts for the years 1508 until 1835.


The entry we looked at read…”bill of charges for the wiches for 2 weekes ending the 23th (sic) of August 1650 and other charges for executing the prisoners” was £15 19s 2d.

The Chamberlain was the 16th century equivalent of the City Treasurer. It was his job to account for all the City’s expenditure. Thankfully today’s City Treasurer does not have to account for witch trials.

Lask week Christina, one of the Archives Conservators, was cleaning and stabilising once of the volumes so that the fascinating information they contain can be accessed more easily by researchers and historians. Here are some pictures of her at work.

Using the shaving brush to remove dust and loose dirt



Tools of the trade! A clean shaving brush used for dusting and pieces of the conservation sponge before and after showing how much dirt has been removed

Other payments recorded in the volumes included:

“To the 4 students at Cambridge viz: Richard Stotte, Cuthbert Stotte, Edward Dobsonne & Rich: Handcocke £30” (1643 – early grants?)

“For wintering the Townes Bulles £8” (also 1643)

“Paid for wine for Mr Maior and Alldermen the 5th and 6th November and for my lord Newcastle and his gentlemen £6 4s 8d” (1642) (Guy Fawkes night?)

“Pade William Marshall ffor bookes viz the Annotations of the bible a dickenarie and a booke to copy letters in 44s 10d (1646 – they obviously needed the dickenarie)

17th century writing. Roman numerals showing payment amounts.

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