James VI, King of Scots (1566 - 1625) subsequently James I King of England and Ireland, was a vehement witch hunter.
This passion appears to have arisen from an unfortunate period of bad weather, which forced the fleet of ships carrying James’ new bride, Princess Anne, from Copenhagen to Scotland, to shelter in Norway for several weeks. The storm was blamed on witchcraft. More than a hundred suspected witches in North Berwick, Scotland, were arrested. Many confessed under torture to having met with the Devil and devoted themselves to doing evil against the King.
The North Berwick witch trial was the first major persecution of witches in Scotland under the Witchcraft Act 1563. James was actively involved in the trial, and personally supervised the torture of women accused of being witches.
In 1597 he wrote the Daemonologie, a tract opposing the practice of witchcraft and endorsing witch hunting.
Some historians have indicated that as many as 3,000 to 4,000 accused witches may have been killed in Scotland in the years 1560-1707.