Lancashire’s Lost Legends: Witch is True?!


Project Information


From 01 September 2012

Until 30 June 2013

Partners: Lancashire Museums, St Augustine’s RC High School and Marsden Heights Community College

Artists: Steve Fairclough; Huckleberry Films and Kerris Casey St Pierre

Watch the documentary film here.



Blog: Read the artists' blogs Kerris, Steve and Huckleberry

Images: We have more images of this project than there is room for here. See all the images on Flickr: Set 1 and Set 2

Additional Information

We are a charity please support our work by making a donation.  You can donate via Paypal by clicking the button below.

Lancashire’s Lost Legends: Witch is True?!

Lancashire’s Lost Legends: Witch is True?! was a project that explored the myths and facts around the story of the Pendle Witch Trials and was led by young people in the Ribble Valley and Pendle, representing the views from opposing sides of Pendle Hill.

The project enabled young people to discover the story of the Pendle Witches by working with professional artists in visual arts, film and drama. They undertook research by visiting heritage sites, interviewing local people, meeting academics from the University of Central Lancashire, working with Lancashire Museums Service, charity Global LInks and local artists such as Philippe Handford. They also spent time oudoors around Pendle Hill. They shared their findings in a spooky Halloween storytelling event, took part in a residential weekend, visited the suspected site of Malkin Tower and the Pendle Sculpture Trail. The groups produced a film and visual art to exhibit. Young people have developed their skills as leaders, teaching the techniques they have learned to their peers, with the chance to gain an Arts Award accreditation along the way.

In 1612 one of England’s largest witch trials led to 10 people, nine from the area around Pendle Hill, being found guilty of causing death or harm by witchcraft and hanged. Young people in the Ribble Valley and Pendle look out of their classroom windows at the legendary Pendle Hill and are surrounded by a plethora of merchandise and marketing emblazoned with a witch’s silhouette.  In 2012, on the 400th anniversary, young people began to uncover the lost legend and separate historical fact from local myth.

Lancashire’s Lost Legends: Witch is True?! was commissioned by Mid Pennine Arts in collaboration with Lancashire Museums, St Augustine’s RC High School and Marsden Heights Community College. Artists involved were Huckleberry Films, Steven Fairclough and Kerris Casey St Pierre. They also worked with local tour guide Simon Entwistle, history expert Robert Poole, landscape artist Philippe Handford and Lancaster based charity Global Links. Check out Huckleberry's blog here, Steve's here and Kerris' here. Help the group achieve their Arts Awards by commenting on their reviews here.

Arts Award is a personal learning programme which develops and assesses both arts-related and transferable skills, such as creativity, communication, planning and teamwork. Bronze and Silver Awards are recognised as levels 1 and 2 and are accredited by Ofqual within the qualifications and credit framework.

Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund. Using money raised through the National Lottery the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, they invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported over 33,000 projects, allocating £4.9billion across the UK. For more information visit their website.

Artwork from the project has been touring in Ribble Valley and Pendle.  Following The Grand in Clitheroe, the ACE Centre in Nelson; Marsden Heights Community College and Nelson Library the work will be in Blackburn Museum until 12 August.

Secondary School of the Year for Lost Legends:   We are very pleased and proud to announce that the achievement of the two secondary schools involved in this project was formally recognised.  St Augustine’s RC High School, Billington and Marsden Heights Community College, Nelson were jointly awarded Secondary School of the Year at the East Lancashire Education Awards.   The prize was sponsored by the Burnley Express and noted how by exploring the story of the Pendle Witches through the arts, the young people worked well together, were professional, friendly and a credit to East Lancashire. The nomination went on “Seeing the way they worked gave real hope for the future of our areas. Both schools have worked hard to help their pupils understand their past but look to a future of cooperation and collaboration.”

Dr Stephanie Hawke, Mid Pennine Arts Programme Manager for Creative Learning said:

“This is an intriguing local story, a shared heritage that unites all those who live in sight of Pendle Hill. We are delighted that young people will be able to develop their skills both artistically and in the interpretation of historical evidence through this exciting project.”