When ELIZABETH I died in 1603 she had no children. She had lived and died the Virgin Queen. Her nephew, JAMES VI OF SCOTLAND became King. He was the son of MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS, whose execution warrant Elizabeth had agreed to sign reluctantly in 1587 after allegations that Mary was involved in a plot to take the English throne by rebellion.
James was a very strict PROTESTANT who hated witches. He wrote a book himself about how dangerous witchcraft was and how governments need to stamp them out. Most people tolerated witches at this time. James and his officers stirred people up to be much more suspicious of people and to tell the government if they suspected anyone of Witchcraft.