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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
The Walrus at work BS: Quiz - English History 400-2000 AD (34) RE: BS: Quiz - English History 400-2000 AD 22 Aug 02

OK, I was one year out.

1900-2000 - The last person to be tried under The Witchcraft Act was found guilty and gaoled.

TRUE - Helen Duncan was convicted at the Old Bailey in 1944 under the 1735 Witchcraft Act. During the trial it was alleged that she had pretended to raise the spirits of the dead.

Her supporters, who include the Conservative MP for Devizes Michael Ancram, have been campaigning for 50 years to clear her name.

Mrs Duncan was jailed for nine months after the court was told that she claimed to have conjured up a dead sailor at a seance in Portsmouth.

According to Mrs Duncan, the head band on the dead sailors hat identified him as working on a ship called the HMS Barham.

This information led to her downfall. No one outside of military intelligence was supposed to know that the HMS Barham had been sunk by the Germans. Its loss was still a military secret.

The authorities decided to prosecute for witchcraft because they were very worried that Mrs Duncan might also be able to reveal details of the D-Day landing plans.

But the case, which appeared to belong more to the 16th century than the 20th century, was said to have annoyed the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. It helped to cause of the repeal of the Witchcraft Act in 1951.

Information shamelessly lifted from a BBC page (dated 1998).

A rethink!

1600-1700 - The first copyright act gave the Stationers Company a monopoly on the printing of books.
FALSE - From 1554 until 1924 copyright was normally secured by registration with the Stationers' Company in London. The Charter of the Stationers' Company, (1556)gave them the right to search for and seize illicit or pirated 'copies' and to prevent publication of any book which had not been licensed by the Company, together with a government licenser and entered in the 'entry book of copies'or the Stationers' Company Register. So a form of copyright act, but a century earlier and no monopoly.


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