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Broadside entitled 'Strange Circumstance which Took Place in the Tolbooth Ch[urch]'


This report begins: 'Just Published, an Account of that Extraordinary & Singular Circumstance which took place at the Tuesday morning Lecture, in the Tolbooth Church, High Street, Edinburgh; when neither Minister or Precentor having come forward, an old Woman mounted the Pulpit, addressed the Audience - sung Psalms - offered up Prayers, [an]d dismissed the Congregation, to the astonishment [an]d satisfaction of her Hearers'. There is minor damage to the broadside that has obscured parts of words. The publisher was James Brown of Edinburgh. The date of publication is not supplied.

There are two related, humorous reports included on this broadside. The first, part of which is quoted above, is reproduced from the 'Scotsman' newspaper. Its author parodies religious chauvinism, claiming that the occurrence of an old woman preaching in Edinburgh's Tolbooth Kirk is evidence that 'THE CHURCH IS IN DANGER'. He also satirises Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847), the prominent evangelist and social reformer, claiming that the old woman's actions disprove Chalmers' fears about the spread of heathenism in Scotland. The second report is a short article about a minister's dog following his master into the pulpit.

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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Probable period of publication: 1820-1830   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(087)
Broadside entitled 'Strange Circumstance which Took Place in the Tolbooth Ch[urch]'
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