This broadside begins: 'The public having, already, been put in possession, by the newspapers, of all the circumstances, yet known, connected with the unprecedentedly barbarous murder lately perpetrated in this parish, (Lochwinnoch)'. The ballad begins: 'From raven wings, the wint'ry night / Flap'd storms, which nature did affright'. It was to be sung to the tune 'This Night, the Heath shall be my bed'. It was printed by W. Taylor of Lochwinnoch and is dated the 3rd February, 1821.
Little is known about the publisher William Taylor, other than that he was a teacher as well as a printer and had premises at Calder Street, Lochwinnoch, between 1831 and 1834. It was typical of broadside producers to publish material that was of local interest for the local market. In this instance, Taylor has printed this rather touching tribute to a stranger who was brutally murdered in the parish of Lochwinnoch. It appears that the identity of the victim continued to remain a mystery after his death.
Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.
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Date of publication:
1821 shelfmark: APS.4.82.33
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