On 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.
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.
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