Margaret Catchpole – Her Life and Her Letters

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Margaret Catchpole - Her Life and Her Lettersby Laurie Chater Forth

The moon rose late on the night in 1797 when Margaret Catchpole rode John Cobbold’s horse to London. Did she steal it or borrow it? Did she act alone or did she have accomplices? Horse stealing was a capital offence in Georgian England. Did she risk her life for love, friendship or freedom?

Having twice been sentenced to death and escaping the gallows both times, she became the ‘notorious’ Margaret Catchpole about whom plays were written and films were made. Before convict transportation to Australia ended, Margaret Catchpole had become the heroine of a best-selling romantic novel, perhaps the only woman convict to feature in the popular fiction of the time. The fiction created much debate and obscured her real identity to the extent that she was believed to be a myth—or someone else. Margaret Catchpole was just one among the thousands of convicts transported to New South Wales but she was the only one whose name has rarely been absent from print since the day in August 1797 when she stood before the Bury Summer Assizes and heard her death sentence announced. Why has history chosen to remember her?

Price $25.00


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