The Inanity and Mischief of Vulgar Superstitions
After the execution of the Samuels family - known as the Witches of Warboys - on charges of witchcraft in 1593, Sir Henry Cromwell (grandfather of Oliver Cromwell) used their confiscated property to fund an annual sermon against witchcraft to be given in Huntingdon (Cambridgeshire) by a divinity scholar from Queens' College, Cambridge. Although beliefs about witchery had changed by the eighteenth century, the tradition persisted. Martin J. Naylor (c.1762-1843), a Fellow of Queens' College and the holder of incumbencies in Yorkshire, gave four of the sermons, on 25 March each year from 1792 to 1795. Although he called the subject 'antiquated', he hoped his 'feeble effort, levelled against the gloomy gothic mansion of superstition, may not be entirely without a beneficial effect'. This collection of the four sermons was published in 1795, and appended with an account of the original events in Warboys.