The browser you are using is out of date and is no longer supported. To view and use this site correctly, please update your browser to the latest version.

We're changing

We have created a new public body, Historic Environment Scotland. While we work on shaping our future we can reassure you that all services and products will continue as normal. Please follow our progress and find out more about our new organisation.

Witches on trial this weekend at Dirleton Castle

19 June 2012

Direlton Castle

A recreation of the infamous North Berwick witch trials from the 16th century will be a major attraction at Dirleton Castle this Sunday.

Re-enactors will be staging a trial based on events that took place in North Berwick in 1590, when many alleged witches had confessed under torture to meeting the devil and dedicating themselves to evil.

The witches were blamed for a life-threatening storm which forced a ship carrying King James VI from Denmark to divert to Norway, where it was stranded for several weeks.

Events Interpretation Officer at Historic Scotland, Alison Stalker said: “Witch finder John Kincaid will host the trial at Dirleton, and explain how confessions were extracted from the hundreds of suspects. Visitors will be invited to form a jury and decide on the innocence or guilt of the accused.”

An alchemist will also be on site to talk about the church’s view on magic and the practices of alchemy and astrology. He will also give an insight into the working of metals and gold, and the work of an alchemist in the late 16th century.

The event, “A Witch’s Brew” on Sunday, June 24th begins at noon and runs until 4pm. Admission is included in the normal ticket price - £5 for adults, £4 concession, and £3 for children.

Entry is free to Historic Scotland members.

Photo caption

Atmospheric Dirleton Castle will host a recreation of the infamous North Berwick witch trials in a special event this Sunday.

Notes for editors:

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with ensuring that our historic environment provides a strong foundation for a successful future for Scotland. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

  • To register for media release email alerts from If you wish to unsubscribe at any time, please email

  • The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and will spotlight and celebrate Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland. More information about the programme can be found at:

  • The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL. More information and resources to help businesses engage with Year of Creative Scotland are available at

                                                       Year of Creative Scotland 2012

For further information

David Gray
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8588 or 07854 366 805