A PETITION is calling for people killed after being convicted of witchcraft in the 17th century, including hundreds in north Essex, to be pardoned. 

Rosalind Moody, 30, from Colchester, is issuing the plea to support the ongoing petition started by Charlotte Meredith.

Rosalind is the former editor of Soul and Spirit magazine, the UK's leading spiritual magazine until its publisher Aceville was closed by DC Thomson last year

A spiritual person herself, she said she is “passionate” about getting ‘witches’ legally pardoned.

Gazette: Smiles - Rosalind is the former editor of Soul and Spirit magazineSmiles - Rosalind is the former editor of Soul and Spirit magazine (Image: Public)

She said: “Hundreds of people, not just women, were killed only 400 years ago and we are now lobbying for them to be legally pardoned by Government. 

“Colchester, as you know, has notable witch history.

“I feel strongly we should fight to get what were vulnerable people at the fringes of society their posthumous justice.”

The north Essex area is synonymous with the witch trials with both Manningtree and St Osyth areas were heavily involved in witch hunts.

More than 300 women are believed to have been executed for witchcraft between 1644 and 1646, many at the hands of Mistley’s infamous self-proclaimed witchfinder general Matthew Hopkins.

Gazette: History - Witch-hunter Matthew HopkinsHistory - Witch-hunter Matthew Hopkins (Image: Wellcome Library)

He is thought to have lived at what is now the Mistley Thorn and held preliminary examinations of those accused of witchcraft at the White Hart, in Manningtree.

In 1735, the Government passed the witchcraft act which made it a crime for a person to claim any human being had magical powers or was guilty of practising witchcraft.

With this, the law abolished the hunting and executions of witches in Great Britain.

However, Rosalind stressed the witches who died still haven’t been officially pardoned.

She said: “I am writing a book about self-help and self-love, and how elemental nature and self-help rituals have helped my life.

“I would be dead by now if it were 400 years ago.”

Gazette: Spiritual - Rosalind is releasing a new spiritual self help book later this yearSpiritual - Rosalind is releasing a new spiritual self help book later this year (Image: Public)

The petition expires tomorrow, January 13, however, has received more than 10,000 signatures, meaning the Government must respond.

“We just want to make sure it does not happen again”, said Rosalind.

“We see witch hunts happening, cancel culture happening even today, and we want to stop it.

“It feels really positive so far but there is more work to do and more to the campaign.

“The petition is perfectly timed I think as people more empathetic than they used to be

“All these signatures are just the very start.

“We want to make sure the Government says this was wrong and it won't happen again.”