Roots and Branches


Roots and Branches

The subject of a book is never entirely captured between its covers. Something more or different amongst the experiences or evidence out of which it has grown could have fed into it, and fresh views will emerge from it. We want to give space here for those before-and-after parts of what our books are about, by presenting documents of various kinds which have contributed to them, and further work (e.g. articles, interviews) which have added to or developed them.

Bringing together the sources and consequences of the books is an opportunity to reconsider and refocus, or follow alternative threads through the worlds they represent, so this is a developing collection. For smaller items of commentary, see our blog Under the Hedge.


Some wartime writings by Professor John Ryle, MD — edited on this website by Alex King. Ryle’s son Anthony mentions these in his diary.

A teenager’s thoughts on democracy — article by a youthful Anthony Ryle in the magazine Phoenix (1944), published by the Inter-Schools Committee – with a brief introduction by Alex King.

Some writings which contributed to Rye Spirits:

‘Witchcraft, politics and “good neighbourhood” in early seventeenth century Rye’, Past & Present 133 (Nov. 1991): 31-66,  by Annabel Gregory. Reprinted in New Perspectives on Witchcraft, Magic and Demonology. Vol. III: Witchcraft in the British Isles and New England (ed.) Brian P. Levack (Routledge, 2001), pp. 99-134.

An Astrological Diary of the Seventeenth Century: Samuel Jeake of Rye, 1652-99 (OUP, 1988), edited by Michael Hunter and Annabel Gregory


Some writings (by Annabel Gregory) which developed out of Rye Spirits:

Poor, Old and Ugly?’ — article in the August 2016 issue of History Today (reproduced with permission here without illustrations) arguing that our idea of the English witch owes too much to the rhetoric of early modern witchcraft pamphlets, because most of the legal evidence for criminal cases has not survived. The article includes a summary of the Rye case of 1607-9, which is one of those rare cases for which the witness testimony has survived. The fully illustrated magazine can be purchased for £6.75 from their website.

The Awkward Squad in 16th century Lion Street’ [Rye, Sussex]—article about the forbears of the woman who was the principal target of the accusers in the Rye case (Anne Taylor). Reproduced with permission here (without illustrations) from the December 2014 issue of Rye’s Own magazine.