British Executions

William Porter

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 12 May 1830

Crime Location:

Execution Place: unknown

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown



A Full and Particular Account of the
Execution of JOHN HILL and WILLIAM
PORTER, who were executed at Glas-
gow, yesterday, Wednesday the 12th
May 1830, for Assaulting and Rob-
ing William Marshall, an old man of
76 years of age, on the 19th Decem-
last; with their Behaviour since con-
demnation and at the place of Exe-

W E D N E S D A Y morning, May 12, 1830,
who were convicted at last Glasgow Assizes of as-
saulting and robbing William Marshall, a man 76
years of age, in an avenue to the north of the city,
known by the name of 'Stewart's Road,' on the
evening of Saturday the 10th of December last,
paid the forfeit of their lives, at the usual place of
execution. Ever since their condemnation, the
prisoners conducted themselves with the greatest
propriety, and in a manner which gave those cha-
ritable and pious persons who visited them the
highest satisfaction.

In consequence of their youth—neither of them
being above nineteen years of age-a number of
humane individuals made considerable exertions
in order to obtain a commutation of the sentence ;
but the agents to the parties received for answer
that the prayer of the petition could not be com-
plied with, the crime being one of great aggrava-

On Tuesday evening, the parents and friends of
the two unhappy youths were admitted to take
their last farewell; and the scene that took place
between Porter, his mother and sisters, is describ-
ed to have been affecting in the highest degree.....

Both prisoners slept soundly for two hours on
Tuesday night. They were waited on at 7 o'clock
on Wednesday morning by the magistrates and
clergyman, who spent some time in prayer, and
shortly after the executioner appeared, who pi-
nioned both their arms.

After the usual religious ceremonies had been
gone through, they left the Hall, and with a com-
paratively light step mounted the Scaffold, where
Dr Smyth offered up an energetic prayer ; after
which Porter warmly embraced his companion,
and during the time the executioner was engaged
in adjusting the ropes, he prayed loudly. Hill
was heard speaking, but in a low tone.

Every thing being ready, Porter was furnished
with the handkerchief, when, in an instant, he
gave the fatal signal, and the drop fell. They
both struggled violently for three minutes, when
life was extinct. After hanging the usual time,
the bodies were cut down, and delivered over to
their relations. The crowd was considered larger
than on many previous occasions of a similar de-
scription; but happily every thing went off


This report begins: 'A Full and Particular Account of the execution of JOHN HILL and WILLIAM PORTER, who were executed at Glasgow, yesterday, Wednesday the 12th May 1830, for Assaulting and Robbing William Marshall, an old man of 76 years of age, on the 19th Decem- last ; with their Behaviour since the condemnation and at the place of Execution.' It was published in Edinburgh for Felix O'Neill.

Because John Hill and William Porter were very young, a petition was started in favour of leniancy, which was even signed by some members of the jury. However, the crime was deemed too serious to allow mercy. The items they stole - shoes, glasses, an old handkerchief and 7 shillings - seem paltry today but the 'Bloody Code', designed to protect property rights and make examples of those not respecting them, was in force. At the time a man could be hung for stealing as little as 5 shillings.