Valuation Rolls 1865 - Press Release

STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 00:01 ON THURSDAY 19TH MARCH 2015.


Dr Edward Pritchard the Glasgow Poisoner


Two women were poisoned in a Victorian murder mystery that resulted in the public hanging of a Glasgow doctor.

The murders 150 years ago at a house at 131 Sauchiehall Street, have been tracked by archivists at the National Records of Scotland. They uncovered a chilling entry in the 1865 valuation roll, which eerily describes the house as 'empty', with no occupiers.

Early that year, two inhabitants had met their deaths at the property which was owned by Dr Edward William Pritchard, the infamous 'Glasgow poisoner': his wife and his mother in law. At the time the valuation roll was compiled, both women were dead and Dr Pritchard himself was in prison awaiting trial.

He was found guilty in the High Court of poisoning his victims, and became the last man to be hanged publicly in Glasgow.

The entry for Dr Pritchard is just one of almost 140,000 indexed names and addresses for Glasgow in the 1865 rolls, among more than 1.3 million entries for every owner, tenant and occupier of property in Scotland in 1865. The digitised 1865 valuation rolls are being released online on ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk, the government's family history website.

Dr Pritchard poisoned his wife using antimony and aconite under the guise of medical treatment. Mary Jane died on 17 March 1865, and during her illness was nursed by her mother, Mrs Taylor, who came to stay on 10 February, but also died at the hands of the poisoner on 25 February. Following each death Pritchard falsely certified the cause - Mrs Taylor supposedly died of paralysis and apoplexy, and Mrs Pritchard of gastric fever.

Much of the evidence was circumstantial: Dr Pritchard was the only person with the means, motive and opportunity to commit the murders but had never been caught actually administering the poisons. However post-mortem examinations proved the death certificates and his sworn medical declarations to be false. Before his execution he wrote two confessions.

Tim Ellis, Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:

"The Valuation Rolls for 1865 provide a window into the lives of mid-Victorian Scots for anyone who wants to discover more about their ancestors or the history of local communities. The example of Dr Pritchard reveals a small but telling detail in an infamous episode. The latest release is part of the commitment by the National Records of Scotland to provide access to the key records that researchers want."

Annelies van den Belt, the CEO of Findmypast, which enables the ScotlandsPeople website on behalf of the National Records of Scotland, said:

"We're very pleased to add this eighth set of Valuation Roll indexes and images to the ScotlandsPeople website - bringing the current total of index entries on the website to over 105 million. These new records will complement the six previous releases of Valuation Rolls spanning the sixty years from 1865 to 1925, and will also help family historians who are looking to fill in gaps between the 1861 and 1871 Censuses."

ENDS


Notes for Editors

On Thursday 19 March, 1,318,661 names and addresses will be added to ScotlandsPeople, the family history website of the National Records of Scotland. The 1865 rolls join seven previous releases on the site, enabling anyone worldwide to find property owners, tenants and occupiers across Scotland between 1865 and 1925.

The 1865 Valuation Rolls will be available on the ScotlandsPeople website (http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk), at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh, and at local family history centres in Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Hawick and Inverness.


Image Gallery

To download high resolution images and stories for the launch of the 1865 Valuation Rolls, visit the image gallery:

- Valuation Rolls 1865 Image Gallery


Access to the ScotlandsPeople website for journalists

If you would like to gain access to the ScotlandsPeople website to research a story for this launch or for a special feature, then please get in touch via the contact details listed below.


Lisa O'Hare: lohare@findmypast.com

Mobile: 07785 618844


The National Records of Scotland & ScotlandsPeople

National Records of Scotland is a Non-Ministerial Department of the Scottish Government. It holds and gives access to the nation's archives, oversees the registration of births, marriages and deaths, produces statistics on Scotland's population and conducts the Scottish Census. It is a centre of expertise on data handling, record keeping and archives.

ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk, the official genealogy website for Scottish ancestry, is a partnership between the National Records of Scotland and the Court of the Lord Lyon, enabled by Findmypast.


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