The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside reporting the trial and sentence of Robert Tennant


A Full and Particular Account of the Trial and Sentence of ROBERT TENNANT,
who is to be Executed at Stirling, on Wednesday morning, the 2d of October
next, and his body buried within the prcincts of the Jail there, for the Horrid
Murder of William Peddie, labourer, by felling him on the head with a Ham-
mer, on the evening of the 3d of August, 1833, while breaking stones on the
road, in the parish of Falkirk.

At Stirling, on Thursday the 12th September, 1833, came on, before the Circuit
Court of Justiciary, the trial of Robert Tennant, for the murder of William
Peddie, labourer at Airth, on the 3d of August last, a little to the north of Bean-
cross, in the parish of Falkirk. The indictment stated, that the prisoner did,
wickedly and feloniously, attack and assault the deceased with a stone hammer,
or some other instrument, and inflict on his head two severe blows, whereby he
was mortally wounded, and immediately expired, and was thus murdered by
the prisoner; to which he pled Not Guilty.

Henry Reid and Mr Brock passed northwards from Beancross on 3d August,
about 5 P.M.    Saw a man lying on the ground, and two wounds on the back
part of his head.    The ground was damp with blood?the man was quite dead,
but not stiff    Reid gave notice to Mr Borthwick, junior.    D. Sharp knows
pannel?saw him at Kerse Toll on 3d August, about 3 P.M.    Went into the
toll with him.    They left the house together, and pannel went into witness's
cart.    They went south to Beancross, and pannel came out of the cart at a path
before they arrived at that place, and stood, seemingly speaking to Mr Gird-
wood, who was going up that path.    Saw the prisoner that day before about
12, at the place where he was breaking stones, and his hammer was lying be-
side the heap of stones.    T. Girdwood saw prisoner the day that Peddie's body
was found, about 4 o'clock, on the road a little below Beancross.    He asked if
witness had seen deceased, who said he had, having passed him when going
north, and between 200 and 300 yards from where he met the prisoner.    Wit-
ness asked if the pannel himself had not seen him, and he said he had come up
behind him all the way from the toll.    Left pannel there, and returned in about
ten minutes, and found pannel still standing there.    Witness then went south
towards Beancross, and again met Peddie coming north.    Saw nothing more of
them that night.    Saw the place where the body was afterwards found, and it
was the very spot where witness had left the pannel.    John Henry knows the
pannel?saw him on the road between Kerse toll and Beancross, on 3d August
between 3 and 4 o'clock, leaning to a hedge, and his hammers before him. Saw
the deceased after he left pannel, coming north towards where he had left pan-
nel.    Saw the deceased's body that night, near the place where he had left pan-
del.    John Fleming saw pannel, on 3d August, sitting at the hedge at the side
of the road that passes Beancross, and he gave witness a cry.    Did not see de-
ceased, though he might have passed him.    John Coubrough heard of Peddie's
body being found, and went to the spot about 6, before it was removed.    Wit-
ness then made a search in a field of beans adjoining, and about 60 paces to-
wards the north, found the pannel lying among the beans, apparently asleep,
as witness spoke repeatedly before he answered.    He denied having seen de-
ceased that day.    George Shaw was collecting dung on the road, and saw pan-
nel, who spoke to witness.    On his return from the north, saw pannel and de-
ceased talking together, and heard the name Borthwick mentioned?this was
between 4 and 5 P.M.    Went to his house, and again returned to take home
the dung.    He then saw Peddie lying lifeless at the very spot where he had seen
him and pannel.    He was not absent more than ten minutes.    Saw a wound
about the head.    Did not see pannel, but he almost immediately came out of a
field of beans, and asked witness to conceal what he had seen.    Witness said he
would not, though he were his father.    Prisoner said if witness concealed it,
and he denied it, they could not prove it against him.    Mr Borthwick superin-
tends the road between Kerse toll and Beancross.    Saw Peddie at work on 3d
August last, and instructed him to dismiss pannel from the work, because that,
although the deceased had before prevailed on witness to keep him on the road.
it was evident that his drinking and irregularity rendered him unfit to be longer
employed    The deceased was foreman on the road, and about 70 years of age.

Dr Graham here read a report describing the wounds, which he and Dr Main
had drawn up at the time.    Two hammers were discovered when the body was
found, one of which witness now identified in court, and the grey hair still adher-
ing to it.    Dr Main concurred in this evidence.    The prisoners declarations
were then read.    He stated he was about 24 years of age, and admitted he was
at Grangemouth fair. and that after getting some drink at the toll, he had gone
into the field of beans and fallen asleep, out of which he had been roused by
John Coubrough.    Denied that he had, on the day in question, spoken to the
deceased, or been in any way connected with the murder; and also denied that
he asked George Shaw to conceal any thing regarding him.

Two witnesses were then examined in exculpation, who merely stated, they
never saw any thing quarrelsome in his conduct, and considered him an inoffen-
sive man. This closed the evidence, when Mr Shaw Stewart addressed the Jury
in support of the prosecution, and was followed by Mr Crawford for the pan-
nel, who made an eloquent and ably argumentative defence. Lord Gillies sum-
med up the. evidence, and the Jury then retired. In half an hour, they returned
into Court with their verdict, unanimously finding the prisoner Guilty, but re-
commending him to mercy, on account of his previous good character, and that
up to the time of meeting, when the murder was committed, it did not appear that he had formed
any premeditated plan of commiting the same. After which, Lord Gillies proceeded to pronounce
sentence, and having concluded an earnest and feeling address to the prisoner, in the course of which
his Lordship stated, that he saw no reasonable hope of the recommendation of the Jury effecting any
alteration of the judgment to be awarded. He sentenced " the unhappy man to be carried back to
the tolbooth of Stirling, and to be there maintained on bread and water, till Wednesday the 2d day
of October next, and on that day, between the hours of 8 and 10 in the morning, to be taken to the
place of execution at Stirling, and there be hanged on a gibbet till he be dead, and that his body be
afterwards interred within the precincts of Stirling jail." The prisoner exhibited little or no emotion
when judgment was pronounced, but displayed that appearance of sullenness which he had manifest-[?].

Menzies, Printer, Edinburgh.

previous pageprevious          
Date of publication: 1833   shelfmark: F.3.a.13(96)
Broadside reporting the trial and sentence of Robert Tennant
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland