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Broadside entitled 'The Coblers' Tears!'


This memorial notice begins: 'AN ELEGY, / On the much Lamented Death of JOCK HIEGH, who departed to Other Climes, October 20th, 1816, after being Thirty-Six Years / Hangman of Edinburgh.' The elegy begins: 'Ye doggerel bards, quick tune your harps'.

John or Jock Heich, Hiegh, or more properly High, was appointed Edinburgh's hangman in 1778, supposedly in return for dropping the charge of stealing chickens. During his tenure, he oversaw more than 40 hangings and was twice awarded a pay rise. He was buried in Greyfriars churchyard upon his death in 1816. This sheet is one of the few more personal accounts which survive about High.

Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information often for entertainment, such as memorials and eulogies. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Although many of the people are now lost to researchers, their stories offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in.

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Date of publication: 1816   shelfmark: L.C.1268
Broadside entitled 'The Coblers' Tears!'
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