Malmesbury is to have a new tourist attraction this summer – the recreation of witch trials that saw 14 residents accused of being in league with the Devil, four tried and two of them hanged for it.

To mark the 350th anniversary of the Malmesbury witch trial of 1672 the town is to be turned back to the 17th Century for a programme of events that will include establishing a witch trial trail, background talks by expert historians, exhibitions at the town’s museum, premieres of films made about the witch-hunting mania of the period and street theatre re-enacting it.

Although no actual scaffold will be erected in the town centre – not least because the unfortunate local “witches” were executed in Salisbury – working stocks are being built for the street performance.

Organisers are planning to add to the authenticity of the recreation by having stalls selling 17th Century street food, prepared from recipes taken from a recently-discovered cookbook of the time.

Much of the programme of events will follow the details revealed by local historian Tony McAleavy in his book The Witches of 17th Century Malmesbury, which conclusively proved on its publication in 2015 that Judith Witchell and Anna Tillage were hanged during a shameful period which saw mostly poor, elderly and illiterate local women accused of running a coven.

Campbell Ritchie, the project leader for the commemoration and chair of Malmesbury Town Team, said: “When Tony highlighted that 2022 is the 350th anniversary of the Malmesbury Witch Trial there was immediately a strong desire to discover more in Malmesbury about what happened then and why.

“This has led to a wide range of community groups and individual volunteers working together to create a programme which will run across this summer, with a highlight of a live weekend of activities, experiences and street theatre in Malmesbury town centre on the 16th and 17th July.”

Speakers at Malmesbury Witch Trial 350 include Professor Ronald Hutton, Dr Helen Cornish, the Rev Oliver Ross and Sam Entwistle and a weekly 17th Century-style newsletter will be produced to tell the story that led to the trial and executions.

Other highlights will include a new Witch Trial trail in Explore Malmesbury,, an exhibition in Athelstan Museum, premieres of the films being made by final year students from Bath Spa with local writers and actors, and a performance in October by the Scratchworks Theatre Company.

Tickets are available at Malmesbury Town Hall and Eventbrite and updates and the full programme can be seen at the Facebook Page ‘Malmesbury Witch Trial 350’.