North Berwick’s new community art installation pays tribute to county women who fell victim to the witch trials of the 16th century.

The gallery, located in the disused telephone kiosk on Westgate, is run by pARTicipate, a community art project working under the umbrella of North Berwick Environment and Heritage Trust.

The latest installation has been created by local artist D. Pryke Thomas, and centres on an imaginative presentation of the town’s historic 16th-century witch trials.

The “multi-dimensional display” includes a collection of objects and information evoking the experience of wise women, midwives, healers and others who fell victim to a late medieval frenzy that produced witch hunts.

Explaining the motivation and processes behind the installation, the artist focused on the theme.

They said: “For this project I wanted to show a different side of the trial victims, one that is hopefully more realistic and true to life, since they are usually only depicted as evil witches, with details of their individual tortures often the only information given about them.

“I also wanted to give the viewers a sense of the kind of folk practices going on during that period – they were more prayers and herbs than potions and spells!

“The phone booths provide a unique space to work in, with one a small ‘gallery’ space which lent itself to becoming a sort of ‘witches pantry’ and the other an opportunity for the viewers to interact with the piece”.

Speaking about the artist’s work, Julia Zeller-Jacques, Rock and Bird art shop owner, added: “I’ve always admired this young artist’s beautiful line work, brilliant illustrative abilities, teamed with storytelling and commitment to any projects undertaken.

“I thought this seemed like a perfect fit for the kiosk gallery, so encouraged it. The retelling of the witches’ story is a fantastic result and the attention to detail is no surprise”.

The last of the 2023 projects funded by North Berwick Trust, Geraldine Prince, pARTicipate co-ordinator, said the display was a foil to commercialised Hallowe’en celebrations by offering something reflective.

She told the Courier: “Activities at the Kiosk Gallery enable people to honour these women, including Geillis Duncan, a young Tranent maidservant who features as a character in the Outlander series.

“Her life as a healer and musician came to a barbaric end on December 4, 1591.

“I’m glad she’s remembered here.”

The display will be on show throughout November.