This report begins, 'Horrid and Barbarous MURDER. Committed upon the Body of Mary Thomson, By her sweet-heart David Brown, A FARM SERVANT NEAR CARLISLE, Who Seduced her under promise of Marriage,--and when, on account of her pregnancy, she became urgent on their marriage, he appointed to meet her at Lime Wood, where, in a lonely spot, he stabbed her with a knife, and then threw her into the pond, with a quantity of stones tied into her shawl. With an account of the wonderful discovery of the body, on which was found the letter of appointment,---and which led to the apprehension of the perpetrator of the dreadful crime.' Published by William Sanderson of Edinburgh.
This broadside dates from 1835-6, when Sanderson had offices in the High Street. It boasts a fine woodcut depicting the murder. Woodcuts would often be reused, but this one appears to have been specially made because the pond is shown. Also interesting is the inclusion, at the bottom, of a ballad about the crime. This offers a more conjectural approach to the telling of the tale.
Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.
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