Plans to build monument to honour people executed as witches

More than 4000 people were killed in Scotland between the 16th and 18th centuries under the Witchcraft Act of 1563.

Site identified for national memorial to honour people executed as witches in Fife iStock
A monument will be erected to honour people executed as witches.

A national memorial dedicated to the thousands of people who were executed after they were accused of witchcraft is one step closer with plans being drawn up for the monument.

Earlier this month, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made a formal apology to the more than 4000 people killed in Scotland between the 16th and 18th centuries under the Witchcraft Act of 1563, and now plans are in development for a memorial at a former opencast coal mine near Kelty, in Fife.

Elizabeth McMann, trustee of Remembering the Accused Witches of Scotland (Raws), said: “Having visited St Ninians, we believe that this is an ideal place to put the much-desired memorial and it is especially relevant as a location given the major role that Fife played in pursuing those accused of witchcraft.”

“We set out to get a pardon from the state, an apology from the church, and a memorial to commemorate the accused witches in Scotland, as well as those throughout the world.

On Thursday members of Raws, local councillors, and company directors visited the site of a health and leisure park development being undertaken by National Pride UK, which has given its full support for the national memorial to be built at St Ninians.

Sara Kelly, co-founder of Raws, said the site had “immense potential to host such a memorial”.

“It fits in very much with our ethos of communities, the environment and that the people who we want to be remembered are in a respectful and beautiful place,” she said.

“St Ninians would be the ideal location, it is highly accessible, and is somewhere that anyone who is interested could visit on a regular basis.

“Educating the general public and school children as part of this is also very important to us.”

As part of the proposals by the community interest company, National Pride UK wants to build “an ecologically friendly and environmentally sensitive health, wellness and leisure destination”.

The proposals are set to be sent to planners at Fife Council soon, the company said.

On March 8, International Woman’s Day, Nicola Sturgeon said the Scots killed under the 1563 Act suffered an “egregious historic injustice” which saw many killed “just because they were women”.

The First Minister branded this “injustice on a colossal scale”, adding that it was “driven at least in part by misogyny in its most literal sense, hatred of women”.