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The Winnats Pass, a limestone gorge near Castleton in the Derbyshire Peak District, is famed for its picturesque beauty. But in the middle of the eighteenth century, when the Peak District was remote and dangerous, two runaway lovers were robbed and murdered there, or so the story goes. The tale was recorded within living memory of the alleged incident. Over the succeeding two and a quarter centuries, numerous other versions have been recorded, so the legend of the Murders in the Winnats Pass has been transformed through a long chain of storytellers. How has the story changed since its ‘original version’, why did those changes come about, and how does the legend as we have it today relate to the historical facts of the case – if there really was a case? The story of the Murders in the Winnats Pass provides a unique insight into the ways in which legends grow in the telling: few, if any, other folktales exist in so many versions, recorded and preserved over such an extended period. This book explores how and why the story has changed and examines the evidence for a historical basis, using numerous primary sources and original research evidence…….
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