Execution of Archibald Hare

 

Screen Shot 2018-05-03 at 13.01.47On the night of 16th August 1850, it was alleged that Irishman Archibald Hare murdered Blantyre man, Ronald McGregor whilst in the village in Blantyre.

Over a year later, after spending that time in a Glasgow jail, Archibald Hare found himself in the dock in Court and was sentenced for the crime. On Saturday 25th October 1851, Archibald was told be a judge he was to die by hanging for murder.

After sentence was imposed on him, Archibald said he had wrongly spent the year in jail and protested his innocence saying it wasn’t him who killed Ronald McGregor. He remained calm as if to know his please would now make no difference.

On the day before his execution, his wife and family were admitted to see him, the meeting being heartwarming to witness and again one which saw Archibald self confess his innocence.

On Thursday 30th October 1851 he was then visited by Bailies Dreghorn and Watson who tried again to get a murder confession, but again Archibald denied any wrong doing, adding he had done many sins in his lifetime but murder was not one of them.

Hangman beckons

Archibald then ascended he scaffold with unfaltering step. Family and a large crowd watched on, openly in public. He was placed on the stool drop with his face facing towards Saltmarket Street. Asked if he had final words, he shuffled around to face Glasgow Green and the crowd. In a loud voice saying, “Before all here, I say I am innocent of the crime laid to my charge. I forgive all who have witnessed against me and the laws that have persecuted me. I am not afraid to die, as about as much afraid as you would be going to your bed each night. I have faith at this moment.”

The executioner made the call and work was done. After a few minutes, a lifeless corpse hung from the rope. The multitude of the crowd then dispersed and went back to their daily business.

Pictured just 14 years later is one of the earliest photos of Glasgow by Thomas Annan, showing Saltmarket. You can almost imagine crowds of people, including children coming out of these slums to watch the daily hangings on the cobbles below.

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said,

Elizabeth Weaver Oh aye, the good old days…that’s why civilised countries don’t have a death penalty. Crowds enjoying the spectacle and families losing their possibly innocent father – hellish times.

Sarah Godfrey How awful
Heather Campbell Morag Campbell will have something to say here! Ghastly spectacle

Michael Griffiths Your grand dad was a miner from Blantyre Sarah.

Michael Griffiths William Lyttle.

Sarah Godfrey Yes Dad. Oddly that’s why I follow this site xxx 😂

Betty McLean Interesting but sad story.

Blantyre Project Walter in Australia has added more amazing detail. He writes,

“If Archie was indeed innocent then this account shows that he was even harder done by than we think…

Archibald Hare
Hangman John Murdoch was 84 when he officiated at the execution of Archibald Hare, 25, on Friday, October 24th, 1851. Not surprisingly, given the executioner�s advanced age, the event was described as �a terrible spectacle.� After the lever was pulled, Hare dropped only two feet and writhed in agony as he tried to free his hands to grab the rope. Murdoch desperately pulled on the condemned man�s legs in order to kill him.

A crowd of 10,000 watched the botched execution � Murdoch�s last � outside Glasgow�s South Prison. Hare had stabbed to death Ronald McGregor during a drunken fight in Blantyre, Glasgow, but the crowd was particularly fascinated because it was believed Hare was a nephew of the infamous William Hare of the Burke and Hare crimes.”

2 responses to “Execution of Archibald Hare

  1. Paul
    A bit more about this appears on the truecrimelibrary.com website. If Archie was indeed innocent then this account shows that he was even harder done by than we think…

    Archibald Hare
    Hangman John Murdoch was 84 when he officiated at the execution of Archibald Hare, 25, on Friday, October 24th, 1851. Not surprisingly, given the executioner’s advanced age, the event was described as “a terrible spectacle.” After the lever was pulled, Hare dropped only two feet and writhed in agony as he tried to free his hands to grab the rope. Murdoch desperately pulled on the condemned man’s legs in order to kill him.

    A crowd of 10,000 watched the botched execution – Murdoch’s last – outside Glasgow’s South Prison. Hare had stabbed to death Ronald McGregor during a drunken fight in Blantyre, Glasgow, but the crowd was particularly fascinated because it was believed Hare was a nephew of the infamous William Hare of the Burke and Hare crimes.

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