Anne Somerset

Years of Magical Thinking

Witches: A Tale of Sorcery, Scandal and Seduction in Jacobean England


Jonathan Cape 320pp £20 order from our bookshop

In 1613 Henry, Lord Ros, eldest son of the Earl and Countess of Rutland, ‘sickened very strangely’. Within months, the boy was dead. His younger brother, Francis Manners, then fell ill with similar symptoms, possibly caused by epilepsy. Over the next few years eminent physicians were called in, but the child did not improve. In March 1620 he too died, leaving the Earl of Rutland with no direct male heir to succeed to his title and estate at Belvoir Castle.

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