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Broadside entitled 'A Short Account of the Martyrdom of James Algie & John Park'


This account begins: 'The Broomlands church has changed its name. A stone has been inserted over the main door, bearing the following inscription: MARTYRS' CHURCH, Erected in 1835, by the Friends of the Church of Scotland.' Printed by Caldwell and Son, and taken from the 'Liberator', this account tells of James Algie and John Park, 'who suffered at the cross of Paisley, on the 3rd of February, 1685'.

This broadside uses stirring rhetoric to recount an incident that occurred around 150 years prior to its publication. Its newsworthiness lies in the renaming of the Broomlands church to the 'Martyrs' Church', and this has been combined with the intriguing and sensationalised story of the two 'noble martyrs', Algie and Park. Whilst the renaming of the church was topical and of interest to some in the 1830s, the printer was guaranteed to sell more copies by including the shocking details of the 'Martyrdom'. The martyrs referred to were Covenanters - Presyterians who were persecuted during the reign of King Charles II.

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: 1835   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(115)
Broadside entitled 'A Short Account of the Martyrdom of James Algie & John Park'
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