This broadside begins: 'Just Published, the Last Speech, Confession and Dying Declaration of JOCK HEIGH, the Hangman; also an Account of his Strange an Siungular Behaviour on the Scaffold, on Monday morning, at the Execution of James Bell, with some just Remarks on that Shameful occasion.' Published by Wallam (William) Reid, of Edinburgh, in 1835.
Jock Heigh's real name was John High, and he was appointed in 1778. A good servant of the city, he hanged over 40 culprits, and, unlike those who came after him, was very careful never to cause any unnecessary suffering to those he hanged. He was buried in Greyfriar's Churchyard upon his death in 1816.
The real point of this broadside is to lambast the incompetent hangman, John Williams, who was in post for only four months in 1835. The execution of Private James Bell was a fiasco and Williams was lucky to escape the near-rioting crowd. He was stoned as he escaped down Libberton's Wynd and resigned from his post the next day.
View Transcription | Download PDF Facsimile
Date of publication:
1835 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(173)
View larger image