This execution notice begins: 'An Account of the last Dying Words and Execution of MRS SHUTTLEWORTH, for the Murder of her Husband, on Friday the 7th December last, 1821, at Montross [Montrose], near Edinburgh.' It was sourced from the 'Montross Review' of the 7th December, 1821, and includes a woodcut illustration of a woman being hanged.
Margaret Tyndall or Shuttleworth was executed for murdering her husband, Henry Shuttleworth, in the public house they ran together in Montrose. Both were partial to a few drinks, and it is said that an inebriated Margaret was put to bed by a servant on the fateful night of her husband's death. The next morning, with no memory of the night before, Margaret discovered the body of her dead husband. Although the evidence was largely circumstantial, Margaret's fate was ultimately sealed by the discovery of a blood-covered poker in her bedroom. As can be seen by her last speech, Margaret protested her innocence until the end.
Reports recounting dark and salacious deeds were popular with the public, and, like today's sensationalist tabloids, sold in large numbers. Crimes could generate sequences of sheets covering descriptive accounts, court proceedings, last words, lamentations and executions as they occurred. As competition was fierce, immediacy was paramount, and these occasions provided an opportunity for printers and patterers to maximise sales.
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Probable date published:
1821 shelfmark: APS.3.96.15
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