The lament reads: 'As I was walking one evening of late, / A Reverend old man I chanced for to meet ; / His name was Michael Taylor I must let you know, / But his fate was overshadowed with great grief and woe.' Taylor's lament was 'For his wife and daughter, who were cruelly poisened by the daughters husband, / DR PRITCHARD, / who is now lying under sentence of death, in the Prison of Glasgow to be executed on the 28th July, 1865.'
With its connection to the high profile case of Dr Edward William Pritchard, 'The Glasgow Poisoner', this broadside would have sold extremely well. Pritchard was arrested on the strength of an anonymous letter sent to the authorities, soon after which he was found guilty of murdering his wife and mother-in-law and sentenced to be hanged. Famously the last man to be publically executed in Scotland, Pritchard's hanging in Jail Square, Glasgow, is thought to have attracted a crowd of around 100,000 spectators.
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.
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Date of publication:
1865 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(127a)
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