The History of Leith

June 22, 2006

Accessory to the murder of Colin Campbell of Glenure-The Appin Murder

The sentence of death passed on James Stewart, who was hanged on November 8, 1752, for being an accessory to the murder of Colin Campbell of Glenure, a government factor on the forfeited estate of Ardsheal.

In May of that year Glenure had been shot dead near Ballachulish while on official business. The Appin Murder, as the event became known, shocked the country at the time and has remained a cause célèbre ever since. Robert Louis Stevenson immortalised the murder in his novel Kidnapped

The main suspect was Allan Breck Stewart, but he escaped to France. James Stewart, the brother of the estate’s former owner, was found guilty of being an accessory to the murder. He was sentenced to be hanged on a conspicuous eminence above the ferry at Ballachulish and his body to be left hanging in chains.

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a Gibbet to be erected by the said Sheriff on a Conspicuous Eminence upon the south side of and near to the said ferry… James Stewart upon Wednesday the eight day of November next according to the present stile betwixt the hours of Twelve at noon and two o’ clock in the afternoon, to be hanged by the Neck upon the said Gibbet by the hand of an Executioner until he be dead. And thereafter to be hung in Chains.

Many people were convinced that James Stewart was innocent . Even Glenure’s relatives did not think he fired the fatal shot. Only Stewart families in Appin know the identity of the real killer and they are sworn to secrecy.

source-Scottish Executive

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