True Crime Case Study

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Mark Henderson presents the true story of the Winnats Pass Murders and asks why this particular folktale of a young couple’s demise at the hands of local lead miners has become such and enduring and popular legend. And why was it first written down in 1785, two generations before there was any significant attempt to record Derbyshire folklore – or local history?

It is well known that even on the most well travelled highways and byways crime was commonplace during the 18th century. There have been many reported cases and even more that have gone unrecorded. But the story of the Winnats Pass murders is better known than any of them. It appears in local guidebooks, textbooks and technical papers as well as almost all Peak District folklore anthologies.

Mark’s extensive research covered the 18th and 19th century Peak District, particularly 18th century Castleton, (where the murder took place), including the early history of Methodism in the area, the forerunners of Peak District tourism, the construction of turnpike roads, and the Romantic Movement. He found that his folklore research interposed with the history of the area revealed the fascinating, and often surprising, ‘story of the story’. This book tells it all.

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