Crook of Devon Witch Trials & Tullibole Castle
In 1662 a court in the village of Crook of Devon in Kinross tried 13 people for witchcraft. Out of that number, ten women and one man were condemned and executed near Tullibole Castle.
Built in the 17th century by the Halliday family, Tullibole Castle is today home to their descendants, the Moncreiffs. The castle is alleged to be haunted by the witches once executed at the nearby church, now in ruin.
The castle was the home of William Halliday, the laird of Tullibole. Halliday, his son John, local ministers and other prominent locals took it upon themselves to form a tribunal to dig up evidence of witchcraft. They spent months questioning (torturing) witnesses to get confessions and even accusations that would incriminate even more innocent people.
These forced confessions and witness statements were then presented as evidence against the accused at the official trials in 1662 where 11 people were found guilty of witchcraft. Those found guilty in the trials were taken to a mound not far from the castle where they were then strangled by the common hangman and their bodies thrown onto a fire.
The minutes of these trials have survived and can be read free online in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland from 1887-1888.
The current Lord Moncrieff, who now owns Tullibole, recently commissioned the Witches Maze at Tullibole Castle which commemorates the victims of the witch trials of 1662 as there is no memorial in Crook of Devon. In the center of the maze is a one and a half ton sandstone pillar with the names of the victims etched on it.