Men of Kent and Kentishmen/Reginald Scott

Reginald Scott,

ENLIGHTENED AUTHOR,

Was born probably at Smeeth early in the sixteenth century. His family, seated at Scott's Hall in the above parish, claimed descent from William de Balliol, le Scott, Sir Thomas Scott, the head of the house, was leader of the Kentish forces at the time of the Armada, and sent four thousand men to Dover the day after receiving his commission. Reginald was educated at Hart Hall, Oxford, on leaving which he returned to his paternal estate at Smeeth, where he published a work on agriculture, entitled "The Perfect Pattern of a Hop Garden," and soon after, in 1584, the work by which he is universally known, "The Discoverie of Witchcraft," in which he endeavours to overthrow the popular prejudices of the time as to the possibility of incantations and sorceries. This book was burnt by the common hangman, and it was against what he termed the "damnable opinions" contained therein that James I. wrote his famous treatise on "Demonologie." Scott died in 1599.

[See "Wood's Athenæ Oxon," by Bliss, and Allibone's "Dictionary of Authors."]