Powys Digital History Project

People of Presteigne 5
The story of Mary Morgan


A famous trial from the Great Sessions, Presteigne 
Although Mary Morgan was from Glasbury, her story has been associated with Presteigne since her tragic death in 1805. She was employed as a servant at Maesllwch Castle near Glasbury (seen below in a lithograph by J M Ince). Maesllwch was the seat of Walter Wilkins Esq, the Member of Parliament for the county.
Maesllwch CastleMary was working in the kitchens in the early hours of a Sunday in September 1804 when she became unwell. She later went to her room in the servant's quarters of the castle. Early that evening the cook went to her room and accused Mary of having given birth to a baby, which at first she strongly denied. Later, according to the evidence given by the cook, Mary Morgan "owned that she had delivered herself of a child which was in the underbed cut open, amongst the feathers with the head nearly divided from the body supposed by a penknife which was found by the witness under the pillows of the same bed".

The inquest and the trial
The inquest on the baby was held at Glasbury two days later, and the Coroner's Jury found that:
"Mary Morgan, late of the Parish of Glazebury, a single woman on the 23rd day of September being big with child, afterward alone and secretly from her body did bring forth alive a female child, which by the laws and customs of this Kingdom was a bastard. Mary Morgan...moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil afterwards on the same day,...feloniously, wilfully and of her malice aforethought did make an assault with a certain penknife made of iron and steel of the value of sixpence....and gave the child one mortal wound of the length of three inches and the depth of one inch. The child instantly died."

There are 5 pages on Mary Morgan. Use the box links below to view the other pages.