Death of a Baronet: The Lawford Hall Murder
- Price: £12.95
- Publisher: Brewin Books
- ISBN: 9781858584720
- Availability: In Stock
Early on the morning of August 30th 1780
Lady Anna Maria Boughton, of Lawford Hall in Warwickshire, went to her
twenty-year old son Theodosius, seventh Baronet, to administer the potion
prescribed by a local apothecary for the treatment of a long-standing venereal
complaint. Within minutes, he was foaming at the mouth, his body convulsed in
agony. Within an hour, he was dead.
Suspicion centred at once on the concoction
– which must surely, all agreed, have been tampered with – and out of the swirl
of rumour and innuendo came the exhumation of the body, swiftly followed by the
charge of murder levelled at Captain John Donellan, late of the British East
India Company (cashiered), former Master of the Ceremonies of the Pantheon
Pleasure Palace in London (bankrupted), husband of Theodosia (eloped), the
young man’s sister – and sole heir.
Donellan was tried and executed at Warwick.
But was he guilty? The furore the trial aroused, particularly the conduct of
the judge, the notorious Francis Buller, raged for well over a century, with
legal and medical experts joining the fray. It was featured in Dickens’s
journal All the Year Round, and inspired a melodramatic Victorian novel.
Drawing on the wealth of contemporary material, including detailed trial records, eyewitness accounts of the exhumation and execution, and Donellan’s own posthumously published Defence, Anthony Harris has unearthed much hitherto unnoticed material. In this, the first full-length factual account of this fascinating case, he puts forward alternative explanations for the young baronet’s death and argues that the accused was the victim of a gross miscarriage of justice.
|240mm x 170mm
|colour and black & white