The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside entitled 'Trial & Sentences'


Following on from the title, the report continues: 'Of all the different Prisoners who stood their Trials before the Circuit Court of Justiciary at Glasgow, which commenced on the 11th April, 1821, when two persons received sentence of Death.' The sheet was published by John Muir of Glasgow in 1821.

The mention of the dreaded death sentence in the subtitle to this broadside would have been cleverly employed by the chapmen to grab the public's interest and thus increase sales. On reading the sheet, however, the audience would soon have discovered that it is in fact a court roundup listing many crimes and names. Most of the cases recorded here deal with theft, robbery and housebreaking, with transportation usually being the subsequent sentence. Sadly, one of the death sentences meted out is to a William Moore who, at only 17, is already a thief of some reputation.

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.

previous pageprevious          
Date of publication: 1821   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(017)
Broadside entitled 'Trial & Sentences'
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland