The rite of exorcism, a formal casting out of Satan and his demons, was once part of everyday life in the English parish - not only in the liturgy of baptism, but also in formulas used for the exorcism of pests from crops, and even as a cure for toothache. More dramatic exorcisms sometimes took place at shrines of medieval saints with a reputation for casting out the devil from the bodies of the possessed. Exorcism was a contested issue in the English Reformation and was eventually outlawed (in practice) in 1604. However, exorcism made a surprising comeback in the modern Church of England and deliverance ministry remains a key component of the Church's ministry to this day. This talk outlines the history of exorcism in England and seeks to explain why exorcism still remains part of what the Church does to this day.
This lecture is given by Dr Francis Young who returns to give a second lecture following the popularity of his talk on Macabre Church Lore in October. Dr Young is a historian and folklorist, the author of 14 books, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.