A Rare Broadside Recording the (Unjust?) Case of a Man Hanged for Arson [Broadside]. [Execution]. [Head, James]. Trial, Execution, And Dying Behaviour of James Head Aged 40, For Setting Fire to a Barn at Wakeley. [London]: Catnach, Printer, Monmouth Court, Seven Dials, . 14-1/2" x 10-3/4" broadside mounted on thick paper, text in two columns below headline and woodcut execution scene. Light browning and soiling, repairs to edges in a few places, notably the upper left corner, where the letter "T" in "Trial" was carefully replaced in facsimile. $1,650. * Head was a former employee of John Overell, a farmer. After a wage dispute, he was accused of taking revenge by burning Overell's barn and stable. Along with this motive, Head was believed to have committed an earlier act of arson on Overell's farm in 1817. Head pleaded not guilty, but he was convicted and sentenced to death. (The jury deliberated for 10 minutes.) The broadside does not mention that Head's wife was arrested as an accomplice and acquitted by the jury. The account of the crime, trial and execution is followed by "A Copy of a Letter Sent by the Unfortunate Man to His Wife" and "A Prayer." This is a rare item. No copies listed on OCLC or COPAC. The Annual Register, Or, A View of the History, Politics, and Literature for 1819 205-207.
Book number 72973