Review of ‘Chilling Tales from Derbyshire’, by Ian Morgan (‘Netty’)

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

... True Tales of the Macabre

by Ian Morgan (‘Netty’)
Published by Breedon Books
ISBN 978-1-85983-744-3 (2009)

In this second new title from Breedon Books, author Ian Morgan writes of Peak District murders, highway robbery and transportation. Based on true incidents in and around Litton and Tideswell, notably the case of a notorious, law-changing live gibbeting, these are stories based on extensive, in-depth research.

In compiling the genealogy of Anthony Lingard, a man who brought notoriety to his community in the early 19th century, the author hints as to why he turned out to be such a bad lot. One of 14 children, Lingard is placed on a family tree littered with the deaths of his siblings from smallpox, with poverty, illegitimacy and - ultimately - his own execution and infamy as a grisly tourist attraction.

The wider scene was no less depressing, with its crop failures, exceptionally cold winters and deadly infectious diseases. Against this background, the author creates likely scenarios around a real-life cast including Sir Henry FitzHerbert of Tissington, the Stoney Middleton shoemaker who sealed Lingard's fate and a Great Hucklow Butcher who became the victim of a highway robber in the person of Lingard's younger brother, William. Transported for life and leaving behind a young wife and infant daughter, William's punishment fell just short of unendurable. Not one for learning his lesson, he suffered countless strokes of the lash before being transported from mainland Australia to 'Hell in Paradise'.

Meanwhile, back in Litton, another young Lingard served hard labour for attacking a girl with intent 'to ravish and carnally know' her. [Within Sight of the Gibbet] further evolves to cover the scandalous fates of apprentices at Litton Mill, as well as revealing another local murder which resulted in the execution of a teenaged and probably deranged female poisoner.

Illustrated with photographs of previously unpublished historical records.

Review by Julie Bunting

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