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Broadside entitled 'The Last Speech and Confession of Mrs Mary Baker'


This broadside begins: 'Who was Hang'd at Tyburn, on Wednesday the 23d of September 1759 for Marrying three and twenty Husbands; with her Life and Conversation, and an exact Accompt of all her Husbands Names, their Places of abode, and the Lasses they systain'd by her : Together with her Farewel to the World.'

During much of the eighteenth century, Tyburn tree was the main place of public execution for the London area. The condemned prisoners were held in Newgate prison before making the journey to the gallows. This broadside gives a brief summary of the Mary Baker case and a final speech by the condemned prisoner in which she lists all of her husbands, mostly by name. Whether these words were in fact her own is not known for sure. Last speeches were often written to a formula, which included repentence and religious enlightenment.

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: 1719   shelfmark: Ry.III.c.36(048)
Broadside entitled 'The Last Speech and Confession of Mrs Mary Baker'
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