New street in Fife town will be named after ‘witch’ executed nearly 400 years ago


Maggie Morgan was executed in 1651 in the village of St Monans when parishioners reportedly pushed aside seats in the nearby church to watch.

She was prosecuted after giving birth to a child fathered by an influential son from East Neuk, with records stating that she then terrorized the local minister by turning into a white rabbit before causing the deaths at sea of ​​her former boyfriend and her new wife. couple by stirring a cup in a bucket of water.

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As the injustices of the Scottish witch hunt come to light, a new housing development in St Monans will include Maggie Morgan Drive after residents called for the fate of the fisher girl to be remembered.

Maggie Morgan, just 17, was burned to death after being accused of witchcraft at St Monans in 1651. PHOTO: Jerzy Morkis/geograph.org.

Bill Morris, treasurer of St Monans and Abercrombie Community Council, said residents had been asked to suggest names for new streets in the town.

He said: “There were several members of the public who suggested Maggie Morgan, including myself after hearing her story. She was only 17 years old when she died and having a street named after her will mean that her story will continue, she will be remembered. Our past history makes our future.”

The move has been agreed by Fife City Council and developer Lochay Homes.

Author Lenny Low of Largo first wrote about Maggie Morgan in his book Weem Witch, published in 2006.

Author and witchcraft researcher at Lenny Low at St Monans Castle. PHOTO: Contributed.

Maggie attracted the attention of a young member of the influential Anstruther family, who abandoned her after she became pregnant.

Brought before the Kirk, Maggie was forced to declare herself a “scandalous limmer harlot” and, after revealing that the father of her child was a local gentleman, was chained to the wall for three Sundays in a row, according to Low.

In revenge, it is claimed that she turned into a white rabbit to cast a spell on the minister and then caused a disaster at sea when her old boyfriend set sail with his new love. Both drowned, according to accounts used in their prosecution.

Mr Low, who said the chairs that were removed from the church so worshipers could witness Maggie’s burning still existed, said he was “delighted” she was now remembered.

“This is absolutely brilliant news,” he said. “It’s just a small street, but the important point is that now she is there.”

Records show that around 4,000 people were accused of witchcraft in Scotland between 1563 and 1736, with women making up around 85 per cent of suspects.

After a two-year campaign by the group Witches of Scotland, a private member’s bill to clear the names of the accused will be brought before the Scottish Parliament.

Meanwhile, Sheila Gaul of Recording the Accused Witches of Scotland supported calls for the Maggie Morgan Drive.

She said she followed similar moves in Queensferry and Kilwinning to name new streets after accused witches.

Ms Gaul said: “Maggie Morgan’s story is still very relevant today and speaks to the social and sexual pressures women face. It shows how opinions in society have not evolved as much as we would like to think.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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