Survey of Scottish Witchcraft trials (1563 to 1736) around Alloa

The persecution of the Alloa witches began in Stirling on 19 May 1658, in Commonwealth times.[1] On this date, the presbyter Matthias Symson (1625-1664) met with George Bennett, minister of Saint Ninian's, to confer with the persons there apprehended for witchcraft and to try to bring them to confession. On 23 June 1658, the Presbytery held a subsequent meeting to the suspected persons. The first person to go to trial was Margaret Duchill.[2] There were a total of 12 women accused of witchcraft from the urban parish, which may include Alloa's adjacent rural area.[3]

One important aspect of the Scottish witchcraft trials was the reports of demonic sex. Women were asked about sex with the devil regularly, this was more of an interest of the authorities in deviant sex rather than in the witches' real lives.[3]

Matthias Symson was a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. He died in 1664 aged 39.[1]


  1. ^ a b Fergusson, R. Menzies (1906). "The Witches of Alloa". The Scottish Historical Review. 4 (13): 40–48. ISSN 0036-9241. JSTOR 25517800.
  2. ^ Black, Geo. F. (1894). "Confessions of Alloa Witches". The Scottish Antiquary, or, Northern Notes and Queries. 9 (34): 49–52. ISSN 2042-0013. JSTOR 25516732.
  3. ^ a b Goodare, Julian, ed. (2013). Scottish Witches and Witch-Hunters. pp. 131, 180. doi:10.1057/9781137355942. ISBN 978-1-349-47033-4.