Digging Up Britain's Past


Series 1 - Episode 6 Witches

Sun 23 May 7pm - 8pm Sky History 2
See Repeats
Mon 24 May, 1am - 2am Sky History 2


Helen Skelton and Alex Langlands end this breezy history series on the wild and windy Pendle Hill in Lancashire, a place that lives in infamy as the scene of the most appalling persecution of a group of entirely innocent women.

The Pendle witch trials of 1612 resulted in the cruel and sadistic deaths of a group of poor and vulnerable women, accused of casting ruinous spells. All nonsense, of course, but a direct result of King James I of England’s obsession with hunting and killing supposed witches.

Skelton helps at a dig on the hill that hopes to unearth the remains of the tower at the epicentre of the scandal.


Helen Skelton and Alex Langlands investigate the Pendle Witch trials of 1612. The presenters visit Lancaster Castle, where the suspects were held, read James I's infamous book on demons, and talk to archaeologists who claim to have found the site of the supposed coven's meeting place. Plus, a look at the role a nine-year-old girl played in sealing the fates of the accused women and how the trial influenced British legal history.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Helen Skelton
Presenter Alex Langlands
Series Producer David Caldwell-Evans
Documentary History