Saturday, 22 November 2014

Case of Portstewart Infanticide Remembered

Over the last week or so I have been listening to, "The Butterfly Cabinet," by Bernie McGill whilst undertaking my vehicular peregrinations. I suppose it was the Northern Ireland setting of the novel that caused me to select it. The story revolves around the death of a girl, 'Charlotte," in the Big House and the culpability of her mother, 'Harriett." The mother is convicted of manslaughter and receives a sentence of penal servitude despite being, "en ventre," with her second daughter.


Whilst this may be a novel the events which are portrayed by Ms McGill unashamemedly take their origin from the the 1892 death of the daughter of Robert Montagu of Cromore, Portstewart and his wife Annie Margaret McMicking. Mrs Montagu was convicted of manslaughter. Crown Counsel was Edward Carson.


Several decades have passed since the Montagu's lived at Cromore although they certainly had property interests in the Portstewart area until at least the nineteen nineties. I seem to remember that they sold Cromore railway station in the early1980's.


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