A WRITER’S passion for the history of the Pendle Witches has come to life in her debut novel, out soon.

Harriet Young’s novel, The Hellion, explores the lives of the Device family, who find themselves at the centre of a witch scandal as the Pendle Witches Trial begins in 1612.

Miss Young, who has almost 40,000 followers on Instagram, became fascinated by the history of Pendle.

The 32-year-old former primary school teacher, from Chester, said: “My obsession with the Pendle witches stemmed from stories I read around the 400-year anniversary of the trials in 2012.

“I remember the many news stories about the events, and it was around that time that I saw The Pendle Witch Child, the 2011 documentary.

“The story of Jennet Device, a nine-year old girl whose testimony led to the conviction for witchcraft of all of her close family, hooked me.

“It was this that made me want to delve deeper into the story of these people, and find out what combination of events culminated in their trials.”

As she did more research on the subject, Miss Young wanted to learn more about the feminist and religious viewpoints and the patriarchal society which she says was clearly a driving force behind the witchcraft trials.

She also visited Pendle many times during the last few years, climbing Pendle Hill and imagining how the landscape would have looked 400 years ago.

Miss Young said: “It is also a place of great pride for me, my husband Michael is a keen runner and in 2019 I was ecstatic to see him cross the finish line in 3rd place in the Pendle Half Marathon.”

The author read The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster by Thomas Potts among other non-fiction works about the trials and society at the time.

She said: “I steered away from other novels about the Pendle witches, although I am looking forward to dipping into some very soon, because I didn’t want my idea of these people to be influenced by theirs.

“I’ve had to use a healthy dose of artistic license whilst remembering that these were real people. I did not want to romanticise the brutal reality of their lives.

“They lived at a time when they really would have struggled - particularly as a family of strong women with a matriarch.”

The novel is scheduled for publication on March 4 and is available to order online from booksellers including Waterstones, Blackwell’s, Book Depository and Amazon.