Witchfinder General

Genre: History
Director(s): Jonathan Hacker
60 min

"...things I heard, as it were,

the voice of much people in heaven, saying,


"Salvation and glory and power

is to our God.

"For true and just are his judgments,

"who hath judged the great harlot

which corrupted...

"...with her fornication,

"and hath revenged the blood

of his servants, at her hands.

"Come, gather yourselves together

to the great supper of God.

"That you may eat the flesh of kings,

and the flesh of tribunes,

"and the flesh of mighty men,

and the flesh of horses,

"and of them that sit on them,

and the flesh of all freemen and bondmen,

"and of little and of great.

"And I saw the beast,

and the kings of the earth,

"and their armies gathered together

to make war with him

"that sat upon the horse..."

Bring on some water!

"And the beast was taken,

and with him the false prophet,

"who wrought signs before him,

"wherewith he seduced them

who received the character of the beast,

"and who adored his image.

"These two were cast alive into

the pool of fire, burning with brimstone.

"And the rest were slain by the sword

of him that sitteth upon the horse...

"...and all the birds were filled

with their flesh."

The year is 1645.

England is in the grip of bloody civil war.

On the one side stand the Royalist party

of King Charles,

on the other, Cromwell's Parliamentary

party, the Roundheads.

The structure of law and order

has collapsed.

Local magistrates indulge

their individual whims,

justice and injustice are dispensed

in more or less equal quantities

and without opposition,

an atmosphere in which

the unscrupulous revel

and the likes of Matthew Hopkins

take full advantage of the situation.

In a time where the superstitions

of country folk are still a powerful factor,

Hopkins preys upon them,

torturing and killing in a supposed drive

to eliminate witchcraft from the country

and doing so with the full blessing

of what law there is.

However, his influence is confined largely

to the eastern sector of the country,

East Anglia, which is held firmly

in Cromwell's grasp,

but not so firmly that

the Roundhead cavalry patrols

have everything their own way,

for there still exists

an ever-present threat

from the remnants of the Royalist armies,

desperately foraging

for food, horses and supplies.

-Stop that, Richard.


-What you're thinking.

-What am I thinking?

Ungodly thoughts of your Sara,

that's my guess.

Thoughts of Sara, yes. Ungodly?

Depends on how you look at it.

And you, a supporter of Cromwell...

-Hold your talking, you two.

-Yes, sir. Of course, sir.

We'll be stopping in a few minutes

to give the horses a rest.

You can gabble all you want then.

Fifteen minutes

and we'll be on our way again.

Get down. Royalist snipers.

Probably only a few of them

after food and horses.

We'll flush the bastards out in no time.

Marshall, you stop behind

to keep an eye on the nags.

The rest of you follow me

and keep spread out.

-Captain, look! There's one!

-I see him! Follow!

Harcourt, this way.



Captain Gordon, is that you?

We're here, trooper Marshall.

It's quite all right.

-Getting a bit nervous, were you, lad?

-Aye, just a bit, sir.

Well, no need to worry.

We got them all, I reckon...

Not quite all. One of them got away, sir,

though I put my sword in him first.

We'd better move on

out of this wood, then.

If he has got away,

he could still be dangerous.

Swallow, bury Brace's body

as soon as you can.

Look out, sir!

-Thank you, trooper Marshall.

-He was trying to kill you, sir.

-I gather that, trooper.

-It was a lucky shot, sir.


Nevertheless, it could have

ended my career for good.

Right, we move out.

Swallow, join us as soon as

you've finished your business here.

Harcourt, give him a hand

to remove the bodies.

Yes, sir.

So, you granted young Richard

here leave, did you, Captain?

-I did.

-Aye, two days.

Then you'll be away to see your girl,

I suppose. And how will she greet you?

Just promoted cornet

for killing King's men.

She knows my reasons for fighting

and it's only while the trouble lasts.

What are you laughing at?

Leave him be, Robert.

Can't you see he's in love?

Aye, I'm not ashamed of it, either.

A toast, lads,

to the lovely women of Suffolk.

And may they keep their beds warm

for General Cromwell's gallant men.

Come on, boy. Nearly home.


Master Marshall, welcome.

I trust you're well, sir.

My body is as strong as ever,

but the war continues?

-Aye, we still fight.

-And why...

Well, my company's recruiting.

I have two days' leave.

-Then you must eat with us this evening.

-I thank you, sir.

We still have good food

for all you soldiers take it from us.

And ale. Come, we shall drink together.

After your experience,

it is likely our village has grown

a little smaller for you, eh, Richard?

Not so much smaller

as lacking in promise, perhaps.

In Ipswich or Cambridge,

a man might find better opportunities.

Richard, if you took Sara to wife...

You mean, you'd give us your blessing?

You would take her away from here?

You honor me, sir,

but I only have a small farm

that belonged to my father

and my soldier's pay, which is...

I am little concerned

with your ill kept lands.

And still less for the silver you get

for killing good Christians.

Well, forgive me. That was unjust.

But there is trouble coming to this village

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Tom Baker

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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