British Executions

Robert Scott

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 29 Oct 1823

Crime Location:

Execution Place: unknown

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown



A Particular Account of the Execution, and last Dying
Declaration and Behaviour, of ROBERT SCOTT,
who was Executed, on   that part of the Road be-
tween Earlston and Greenlaw, where he commit-
ted the Bloody deeds, yesterday, Wednesday the
29th October, 1823, for the Horrid and Barbarous

Murder of Two men on the evening of the 30th
June last, and his Body sent to Edin for Dissotion

THIS unfortunate and infatuated victim of passion and crime,
    ROBERT SCOTT, it will be remembered, was tried before
the Circuit Court of Justiciary, at Jedburgh, on the 16th of Sep-
tember last, for the Barbarous Murder of James Aitcheson and Ro-
ber Simm, both of Greenlaw, and otherwise horribly mutilating
their Bodies, in a shocking manner, on their return from Earlston
fair, where they had had some frivolous quarrel, on the evening of
the 30th of June last. He was unanimously found Guilty, and
sentenced to be executed, as near the spot where he committed the
murders as should be found convenient, on Wednesday the 29th
of October, and his body to be afterwards delivered to Dr Monro,
of Edinburgh, for Dissection.    During the whole trial, Scott beha-
ved with, great self-possession, and continued perfectly calm and
composed, even after the fatal verdict was returned.

We have been informed, from a quarter on which every reliance
may be placed, that, since his condemnation, this unfortunate man
conducted himself with very great propriety,    He had made full
and ample confession, and acknowledged the justice of his sentences
He had an extensive knowledge of the Scriptures, and attended, with
great apparent seriousness, to the admonitions and devotions of the
ministers of religion, all of whom, belonging to Jedburgh, had
shewn the most anxious attention to his spiritual welfare.

A very strong and ponderous Gallows was made in Edinburgh
which was sent out on two double carts, and erected on the very
spot where the murders were committed, a few days before the ex-
ecution. On the morning of Wednesday last, pursuant to.his sen-
tence, Scott was taken from the Cast1e of Jedburgh, and placed on a
cart, with his back to the horse's tail, and the executioner facing
him. The Sheriff of Roxburghshire, attended by his officers, and
a strong party of the Yeomanry Cavalay of the county, escortedt he
melancholy procession to the limits of the shire, where the unhap-   
py man was delivered over to the Sheriff of Berwickshire, who was
similarly attended, and who conducted himself to the fatal tree
which was not a stone above cast from his own house.

Soon after appearing on the Scaffold, a pslam was sung, in which
Scott willingly joined, and then a most appropriate prayer was put
up on his behalf, by one of the Clergy men who had so kindly attend-
ed him. He afterwards stepped forward to the railing, and, in a most
earnest and impressive manner, addressed the numerous multitude
of spectators assembled round, the scaffold, in a short speech in
which, among other things, he solemnly besought them not to al-
low their passions, at any time, to get the better of their reason,
nor, to indulge themselves, on any account whatever, in drinking
ardent spirits to excess, which always inflamed the passions, and
rendered them uncontroulable ; a sad example of the effects of vio-
lent and ungovernable passion, he said was now before them, in the
melancholy case of him who now, for the last time, addressed them.
He concluded, by hoping that none who now heard him would e-
ver be so cruel as cast up to any of his innocent children his crimes
or his shameful end. He then shook hands with some around   
him, and bowed to others, when immediately mounted the fatal
drop; and, while the executioner was adjusting, the rope round the
beam, he was most earnest in private prayer,with his hands clasp-
ed.    In a few. minutes he dropped the signal, and was instantly
launched into eternity a little after 3 o'clock    After hanging about
thirty-five minutes, the body was cut down, placed in the cart,
covered with a sheet, and sent into Edinburgh, for Dissection.

       Robert Scott was a tall athletic strong man, apparently about 44
or 45 years of age and left a wife and five children to deplore his

loss.            .                            -------------                            .

Edinburgh....Printed for William Johnston..........Price One Penny.


This report begins: 'A Particular Account of the Execution and last dying Declaration and Behaviour of ROBERT SCOTT, who was Executed, on that part of the Road between Earlston and Greenlaw, where he committed the Bloody deeds, yesterday, Wednesday the 29th October, 1823, for the Horrid and Barbarous Murder of Two men, on the evening of 30th June last, and his Body sent to Edin for Dissection.' Publisher William Johnston, Edinburgh, 1823

One of the most interesting elements of this broadside is the emphasis that is placed on the great ceremony surrounding the execution. This perhaps reflects the fact that the murder and subsequent execution took place in a rural community, where such events would have been rare. An execution probably had greater impact as a spectacle, and a warning, for the people of Roxburghshire and Berwickshire than it would have had for the people of Edinburgh.

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.