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Broadside regarding the confession of William Anderson Horner


This broadside begins: 'An Account of the Life and Dying Confession of William Anderson Horner, Son to Peter Anderson Horner, Living in the Parish of Saline in the Shire of Perth, who murdered Elison Mitchell, Wife of David Blythe Horner also, in the beginning of Winter, 1708. in the manner following.'

Scotland's legal profession, at this time, adhered to the 'bloody code' which protected the upper-classes' property at all costs. Murder, however, still carried a high penalty, even amongst the working class. This sensational and sordid story would probably have sold to a wide audience, with its narrative of brotherhood betrayed, sound advice ignored and the juxtaposition of the good mother and the evil younger woman. Broadsides were the forerunners of modern newspapers due to the stories they covered, the style they were written in and the audience they could reach.

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: 1708   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(101)
Broadside regarding the confession of William Anderson Horner
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