Most small village communities throughout pre Christian Europe would have had a Hedge Witch within their midst, although they most certainly would not have been referred to by such a derogatory term.
In very broad simple terms they were the village healer who gathered and used the plants and herbs of the land to aid and cure the sick. Within their craft they were extremely knowledgeable and this almost certainly was acquired at the knee of their mother’s and grandmother’s handed down over generations.
Over time such talents would have created an almost mystical aura around the person, mostly likely encouraged to give them a sense of power and importance within the community. Over all they were a force for good and not evil although they undoubtedly had the as much knowledge to destroy life as save it.
The arrival of new religions and their overzealous messengers who were spreading the word that only God had the power and the right to cure the sick led eventually to the lies and false accusations of ‘Witchcraft’ and ‘Devil worship’ (both religious inventions) that led to the persecution of all those involved within the craft.
As usual such blatant ignorance knocked back human knowledge for centuries and more or less had to be rediscovered to give us the basis of many present day medical cures.
I suppose the closest thing today might be a ‘Herbalist’ although I’m sure many of the present day so called ‘old wives cures’ that still hang around have their roots buried that far back.