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Broadside entitled 'Trial and sentence'


This broadside begins: 'An account of the trial and Sentence of Andrew Ewart, for the murder of Henry Pennycook, in the Church yard of Libberton on the 4th December last and who is to be executed at Edinburgh on the 12th day of March next.' '1828' is handwritten on the sheet in two places.

Despite the jury's recommendation of mercy, Andrew Ewart was sentenced to be executed for the murder of his friend Henry Pennycook (or Pennycuick). This broadside covers the events which led up to Pennycook's death. After an evening in the watch-house of Liberton churchyard, and much talk of body-snatching, Ewart unwittingly mistook his friend for a graverobber and fired a fatal shot. On discovering he had fatally wounded his friend, Ewart was devastated. It is important to remember that the grisly act of body-snatching was a very real concern for people at this time.

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: 1828   shelfmark: F.3.a.14(45)
Broadside entitled 'Trial and sentence'
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