British Executions

David Glenn

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 12 Dec 1823

Crime Location:

Execution Place: Ayr

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown



An account of the Execution of these two
unfortunate men James Anderson and
David Glenn at Ayr, on Friday the
12th Dec. Their bodies were brought
into the College this morning for dis-

Ayr, 12th December, 1823. This day were executed ac-
cording to their sentence, James Anderson and David Glen,
who were tried and found Guilty, before the High Court of
Justiciary, at Edinburgh, on the 5th Nov. last, for the mur-
der of John M'Clure, a respectable elder, as he was returning
from Ochiltree Sacrament on the 6th day of July 1823.

The behaviour of these unfortunate men since their con-
demnation has been very becoming their awful situation;
they paid great attention to the instructions rendered them
by the clergymen and pions persons who visited them. They
often spoke with regret of the loss which the family of the
deceased has sustained by the commission of the iuhuman
deed. They were visited some days previous to the Execu-
tion by some friends, their parting with whom was most

Shortly after their condemnation, they sent up a petition
to his Majesty, for a mitigation of their punishment; but
they received an answer from the secretary of state, saying,

that upon considering the nature of their case, he could not
lay their petition before his majesty. They received the an-
swer with fortitude, and becoming resignation; and seemed
to forget that love of life which they some days back anxious-
ly wished for. They applied with redoubled solicitude to
learn and understand fully the parts of scripture, most appli-
cable to their case, which had been selected and pointed out
by some pious well-wishers. We understand that they both
gave some wholesome and serious advices, through the me-
dium of an acquaintance, to the two young women who were
present at the murder, and tried along with them, beseeching
them to make their awful fate a warning for their future con-
duct,—it fete which they (the prisoners) were happy the two
females had so providentialy escaped from.

The magistrates assembled in the Hall about two o'clock,
and the prisoners being brought down, they joined very fer-
vent in the devotional exercises that was put up in their be-
half. They then proceeded to the scaffold, and one of the
clergymen put up a most impressive prayer for them, a psalm
was then sung, and the unhappy men stepped with firmness
to the drop. They hoped that the surrounding multitude
many of them once their intimate acquaintances, would be-
ware of drunkenness, as drunkenness was really the root of all
evil, and expected that their shameful end would be a warn-
ing to both old and young, The executioner having adjust-
ed the ropes, they were observed to pray inwardly for a few
minutes, and then dropt the signal,—in a few minutes they
were not of this world.

It is hoped that the solemnity of this awful scene, will
make a lasting impression on the minds of the numerous as-
semblage that witnessed it, and refrain from drinking, as it
was this alone that occasioned these two young men io com-
mit the horrid crime for which they have this day justly suff-


This account begins: 'An account of the Execution of these two unfortunate men James Anderson and David Glenn at Ayr, on Friday the 12th Dec. Their bodies were brought into the College this morning for dissection.'

Both these men were tried a month before their execution at the High Court in Edinburgh, and there are other broadsides covering their cases contained in the National Library of Scotland's collection. They were convicted of the murder of the church elder, John McClure. This execution notice follows a fairly standard pattern describing their application for reprieve, their sober behaviour as death became imminent and their 'advice' to others to repent of their ways. A strong theme amongst broadsides of the time - the evils of drink - is also highlighted by this report.

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.