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The Damnation of John Donellan

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The Damnation of John Donellan: A Mysterious Case of Death & Scandal in Georgian EnglandWarwickshire, August 1780.

Deep in the countryside near Rugby stands the Tudor manor house of Lawford Hall, occupied this summer by Sir Theodosius Boughton, his mother Anna Maria, his sister Theodosia, brother-in-law John Donellan, the Donellans’ two young children, and a handful of servants. It is early in the morning of 30th August and something is about to happen that will bring notoriety and scandal to the Boughton household.

Sir Theodosius, aged 20 and suffering from venereal disease he contracted at Eton some five years earlier, has just woken and is visited in his bedchamber by his mother. Anna Maria was keen for her son to take the medicine made up for him by the local apothecary Mr Powell in the hope that it might cure him; he, on the other hand, seems reluctant to take it as a dose he received from the same man the previous week made him ill.

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