The History of Leith

June 16, 2013

Broadside entitled ‘Elegy and Epitaph’

This memorial notice begins: ‘Elegy and Epitaph on Thomas Williams, Late Dempster, or Hangman, of the City of Edinburgh’. The dedication under the title begins: ‘Who died the 5th of January 1833, aged 66 years. He was upwards of 12 years in that capacity, and conducted himself with wonderful propriety, which few does in his line. This shows, that whatever occupation in life we follow, a man may keep his character somewhat blameless.’ The first line of the elegy itself reads, ‘SCARCE had the infant year begun’, while the opening line of the epitaph reads, ‘HERE lies TAM WILLIAMS, our city Dempster’. A ‘dempster’ was a legal officer who repeated the sentence after the judge. for more click here

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