AN event to commemorate the time when a number of Malmesbury residents were hanged for witchcraft is getting into full swing.

Malmesbury Witch Trails 350 marks the 350th anniversary of the Malmesbury Witch Trial of 1672. Fourteen were accused, with four being sent for trial in Salisbury and two found guilty.

Research led by local historian Tony McAleavy has uncovered a wealth of information about the people involved. June sees the start of a speaker programme in Malmesbury by experts on the history of witchcraft, the premiere of two short films, a new exhibition in the Athelstan Museum, the launch of a weekly newsletter telling the emerging story week by week, and the opening of a multi-media trail on Malmesbury’s Explore Malmesbury web app, which allows users to visit and experience the Witch Trail story at the places it happened.

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This is all leading up to a weekend of live activities and a street theatre telling of the Witch Trial story in Malmesbury town centre on July 16 and 17.

'An important community commemoration'

Project leader and chair of Malmesbury Town Team Campbell Ritchie said: "Tony’s historical detective work has sparked our imagination and groups and individuals from across Malmesbury have united to create this important community commemoration.

"Alongside our own resources we have enjoyed working with students from Bath Spa University and the University of Winchester to create a great programme for this year but also to create information and insights for residents and visitors that will stay available for the future.

"We are really enjoying this opportunity to tell the important story of the Malmesbury Witch Trial of 1672 and the goodwill and support to help us do it have been tremendous.

"We have made as many of the activities in Malmesbury Witch Trail 350 as we can free, and any additional funds we raise are directly for the benefit of local good causes and promoting Malmesbury. We hope that as many residents and visitors as possible join us over the next few weeks as each part of Malmesbury Witch Trial 350 unfolds."

Admission for the street theatre will be by timed ticket and numbers will be limited so early booking through Malmesbury Town Hall or by calling 01666822143 when booking opens on June 14 is recommended.

Full details for each event are available on the Malmesbury Witch Trial 350 Facebook page: