The Execution of Arthur Tacket in Edinburgh in 1684
In his journal, for 1 August, 1684, John Erskine of Carnock records the execution of Arthur Tacket:
‘[Arthur Tacket] about 19 years of age, was executed the 1st of this month for being at Bothwell. This was the first time that people were restrained to speak or pray publickly [before they were hanged].’ (Erskine, Journal, 77.)
Other sources claim that Tacket was executed on 30 July, rather than 1 August, A footnote to Carnock’s journal states that the privy council delayed his execution from Wednesday 30 July to Friday 1 August due to a fast day.
Arthur Tacket was from Hamilton parish, Lanarkshire. If Carnock is correct, then Tacket’s execution was the first that was curtailed to prevent an emotive and potentially damaging martyrs’ testimony being declaimed at execution.
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