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Broadside entitled 'Dempster's Apprehension and Confession'


This account begins: 'A Full and particular Account the Apprehension of Robert Dempster, junior, Slater in Cupar of Fife, accused of the murder of McDONALD, a Flax-Dresser, with his slate-hammer, on the High Road between Craigrothie and Wemyss Hall Gate, a few weeks ago, and who is now lodged in Cupar Jail, having been Apprehended at Doune, on Monday Evening the 25th October 1830.'

The National Library of Scotland's collection also includes a broadside detailing Dempster's slate-hammer attack on George McDonald. It was issued while McDonald, although severly injured from the assault, was still alive. By the time the broadside shown here was printed, however, McDonald was already dead. It was common for a crime to be reported over several broadsides. The first usually dealt with the crime itself, with subsequent sheets detailing the apprehension of the criminal, a confession or trial, the execution and, finally, a last speech.

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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Date of publication: 1830   shelfmark: F.3.a.13(24)
Broadside entitled 'Dempster's Apprehension and Confession'
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