Bideford witch trial

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The Bideford witch trials began in 1682. Three women from Bideford were hanged - their crime was witchcraft. They were the last women in England to be executed for this crime. The women the were hanged to death were Temperance Lloyd, Susanna Edwards and Mary Trembles. At that time, Bideford was an important part of a growing transatlantic trade route with Newfoundland and Virginia. At the time of the deaths, the plague and smallpox epidemics, by 1680 the crowded town had a population of 2,600. Religion and folklore played key parts in the beliefs of those living in the 17th Century. To keep the people interested, there was also a reviving interest in and fear of witchcraft.