This murder report begins: 'A Full, True and Particular Account of that cold, bloody and diabolical murder committed on the body of Mr M'Nab's post boy, Innkeeper and Post Master in Cupar of Fife who was barbarously murdered a few yards from his Masters house on Thursday last.' It was published in Edinburgh by Forbes & Co.
Broadsides found much of their market among the working classes, who could not afford heavily-taxed newspapers. One way in which their publishers could source stories quickly for their cheap, single-sheet reports was to lift from the larger newspapers, as in this example: 'We extract the following article from the Courant Newspaper...'. 'Courant' was not an unusual name for a newspaper in eighteenth and nineteenth century Scotland, and there were papers entitled the 'Elgin Courant', the 'Glasgow Courant' and the 'Edinburgh Courant'. The latter is the most likely source of this story.
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.
View Transcription | Download PDF Facsimile
Date of publication:
1832-1833 shelfmark: F.3.a.13(73)
View larger image