British Executions

Robert Brown Anderson

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 11 Oct 1811

Crime Location:

Execution Place: unknown

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown


an account of the Trial of ROBERT BROwN ANDERSON, and JAMES MENZIES, alias Ro-
BERTSON, before the Circuit Court of Justiciary at Stirling, for Shop-breaking and Theft,
at Grahamstown, near Falkirk, who were sentenced is be executed at Stirling, on. Friday
the 11th of october, 1811.

THE   Circuit Court of Justiciary was
   opened here on Saturday last, by the
Right Honourable Lord Hermand.

Robert Cochnan, sawyer in Alloa, indict-
ed for forging and vitiating documents of
debt, was outlawed for not appearing.

The Court then proceeded to the trial of
Robert Brown Anderson, and James Men-
zies, or Robertson, prisoners in Stirling jail,
accused of breaking into the shop of James
[ ell, merchant in Grahamston, near Fal-
kirk on the night of Saturday the 23d of

February last, and stealing therefrom a cask
of brandy, two chests of tea, a drawer con-
taining copper coin, and a loaf of sugar

John Burns, changekeeper in .Falkirk,
Elizabeth Williams, his wife, and Alexander
Logan, changekeeper in Denny, were in-
cluded in the same indictment, for resetting
the said goods, knowing the same to have
been stolen. The trial lasted till Sunday
morning; and this day the Jury returned a
verdict, by a plurality of voices finding the

libel proven against Anderson and Menzies,
but recommended them to mercy.    Unani-
mously finding Burns and his wife Guilty;

and by a plurality of voices Not Proven a-
gainst Logan. Anderson and Menzies were
sentenced to be executed here on the 11th of
october next. Burns and his wife to be
transported for 14 years, and Logan was
assoilzied and dismissed from the bar.

The Court were next occupied with the
trial of Thomas Coventry, for the forgery of
a bill of L.30. At the conclusion of the
evidence, the Advocate-Depute restricted the
libel to an arbitrary punishment, and the Jury
returned a verdict, finding the libel Proven.
He received sentence of transportation for
seven years.

      AYR, SEPTEMBER 12.
The   Circuit Court   of   Justiciary was
opened here, on Friday, by the Right Ho-
nourable Lord Justice Clerk and Lord Ar-


The Court were occupied during the
greater part of that day with the trial of
Alexander Kerr, sen. and Alexander Ker,
jun. Archibald Cook, James Nichol, and
John Murphy, indicted for the crimes of
assaulting and deforcing certain of the Ayr
Customhouse Officers.

The general facts libelled were distinctly

    sworn to by James Campbell, tidewaiter,
as affecting all the prisoners, and by John

Taylor, tidewaiter, as affecting three of
them, with the addition of the specific facts
committed by Archibald Cook and Alexan-
der Ker, jun. in knocking him down, and
kicking and trampling on him. The evi-
dence on the part of the prosecution being
closed, and some exculpatory witnesses ex-
amined, William Boswell, Esq. Advocate-
Depute, addressed the Jury in a short ener-
getic speech, in which he maintained that
it was abundantly clear that all the pannels
had been engaged in the smuggle, and that
three of them had been guilty of the assault
and deforcement—and by james Ferguson,
Esq. senior Counsel for the prisoneis, who
employed much ingenuity in endeavouring;
to show, that the evidence had completely
failed, inresect to Alexander Ker, sen. and
John Murphy, and that it was defective in
as far as it related to the identifying of the
other three. After which his Lordship short-
ly summed up the evidence, and stated that
it came completely home to the pannels
Alex. Ker, jun. Archibald Cook, and James
Nichol. The Jury returned a verdict on
Saturday morning of Guilty against the said
Alex. Ker, jun. Archd. Cook, and James
Nichol, and of Not Proven in the case of
Alex. Ker, sen. and John Murphy, upon
which these two last were dismissed from the
Bar, with a suitable admonition from the
Lord Justice Clerk, who pointed out to them
in forcible language the illegality of smug-
gling, with respect to the revenue and the
fair trader, the guilt to which it frequently
led, and the dangerous conlequences with
which it was often followed.

Alex. Ker, jun. Archd. Cook, and James
Nichol, were sentenced to fix months' Jm-
prisonment, and to seven years' banishment
from Scotland.

Afterwards John Armstrong, sometime
sailar on board the Helena, of Workington,
was brought to the Bar, accused of the crime
of Rape; but no evidence having been ad-
duced to identify his person, during the
commission of the crime, the Jury returned
a verdict, finding the libel Not Proven; and
he was, therefore, dismissed from the Bar,
after a most feeling and impressive admoni-
tion from Lord Armadale.

The Public Prosecutor not considering
himself justified in proceeding with the trial
of John Grafs, indicted for Murder, on ac-
count of the absence of some material wit-
nesses, deserted the diet pro loco et tempore.

Printed by T. dunoan, 159, Saltmarket.


This execution notice begins: 'An account of the Trial of ROBERT BROWN ANDERSON, and JAMES MENZIE, alias ROBERTSOn, before the Circuit Court of Justiciary at Stirling, for Shop-breaking and Theft, at Grahamstown, near Falkirk, who were sentenced to be executed at Stirling, on Friday, the 11th of October, 1811.' This sheet was published by Thomas Duncan of Glasgow.

Thomas Duncan operated in the Saltmarket area of Glasgow between 1800 and 1823. Among his speciality productions were court lists and execution notices. Due to competition in the area, however, he often used information from places further away. The most sensational verdict was that for Anderson and Robertson, who were sentenced to hang for breaking into James Russell's shop. There are, however, another four cases for this court circuit mentioned, as well as a list of those tried at Ayr Circuit Court, held on the 12th September.

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.