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Broadside entitled 'The Manner of the Barbarous Murther of James'


This early broadside begins: 'The Manner of the Barbarous Murther of JAMES, Late Lord Arch - Bishop of James, Late Lord Arch-Bishop of St. Andrews, Primate and Metropolitain of all Scotland, And one of his Magesties most Honorable Privy-Council of that Kingdom ; May 3. 1679.' Published in London for J. S. and B. H.

This rare and interesting broadside tells, in verse form, how Archbishop James Sharp (1618-79) was murdered by Covenanters at Magnus Muir, just outside St Andrews. He was brutally stabbed 16 times in front of his daughter. There is a fine engraving illustrating the murder, and the text refers to it with phrases such as: 'See, how the Coach-man Tumbles from his Box ; And poor Postillion fell'd, like Fatted Ox!'. Archbishop Sharp's tomb is in the Holy Trinity church in South Street, St. Andrews.

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 published: 1679   shelfmark: S.302.b.2(035)
Broadside entitled 'The Manner of the Barbarous Murther of James'
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