On Thursday 1 December Chelmsford City Council Park Services placed an interpretive lectern and memorial tree in Admirals Park to commemorate the history of witch trials, and tragic executions at South Primrose Hill roughly 460 years ago. Between the 16 and 17 Century over 100 people were executed on this site. The eastern boundary of Admirals Park has been chosen for the memorial as it is in the closest proximity to the historical location in South Primrose Hill.
The county of Essex at the time was prominent for witchcraft prosecutions as the Essex courts executed more people than any other county in England. 53 people were executed for witchcraft in just Essex alone between 1570 and 1609.
Chelmsford was known specifically within Essex as ruthlessly ordering the execution of witches. In 1645, 15 women were tried and executed in Chelmsford for the crime of witchcraft.
Superstition in the 16 and 17 centuries was much more prominent than today and these innocent victims were subjected to accusations of being responsible for matters such as a farmers’ livestock becoming ill, the failure of crops, when a loved one died unexpectedly and many more. It’s clear that these victims faced accusations that were based merely on superstition, ignorance, hysteria and prejudice.
This memorial area is dedicated to the innocent victims of witchcraft persecution. It aims to remember these victims and the innocent lost lives forgotten over time.