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Encyclopedia > William Burke
Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Burke, William.

William Burke (1792 - January 28, 1829) was an Irish-Scots serial killer who, along with William Hare committed a notorious series of murders in Edinburgh in the 19th century. Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ... Encyclopædia Britannica, the eleventh edition The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–1911) is perhaps the most famous edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. ... 1792 was a leap year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... is the 28th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 1829 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... Irish-Scots are people who emigrated to Scotland from Ireland, mostly in the 19th and 20th centuries, and their descendants. ... Serial killers are individuals who have a history of multiple slayings of victims who were usually unknown to them beforehand. ... William Hare (born 1792 or 1804) was an Irish serial killer who, along with William Burke committed a notorious series of murders in Edinburgh in the 19th century. ... For other uses, see Edinburgh (disambiguation). ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Burke was born in Urney, County Tyrone. After trying his hand at a variety of trades there and serving as an officer's servant in the Donegal Militia, he left his wife and two children in Ireland and emigrated to Scotland about 1817, working as a navvy for the Union Canal. He acquired a mistress, Helen MacDougal, and afterwards worked as a laborer, weaver, baker and lastly a cobbler. By 1827 he was living in a lodging-house in Edinburgh kept by Hare, another Irish laborer, and Maggie Laird. Statistics Province: Ulster County Town: Omagh Area: 3,155 km² Population (est. ... This article is about the country. ... 1817 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... Navvy is a shorter form of the word navigator and is particularly applied to describe the manual labourers working on major civil engineering projects. ... The Union Canal is a 50 km (31. ... Year 1827 (MDCCCXXVII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ...

Main article West Port murders

Condemned by Hare's evidence, Burke was found guilty and hanged at Edinburgh's Lawnmarket on January 28, 1829. According to a report in The Scotsman "During the time of the wretched man's suspension, not a single indication of pity was observable among the vast crowd: on the contrary, every countenance wore the aspect of a gala-day, while puns and jokes were freely bandied about." The West Port murders were perpetrated in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1827-1828 by William Burke and William Hare who sold the corpses of their 17 victims to the Edinburgh Medical College for dissection. ... “Guilty” redirects here. ... Hanging is the suspension of a person by a ligature, usually a cord wrapped around the neck, causing death. ... The Scotsmans offices in Edinburgh The Scotsman is a Scottish national newspaper, published in Edinburgh. ...

The Anatomy Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh holds his death mask and a wallet allegedly made of his skin. His skeleton is on display within the medical school. The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, a centre of excellence for surgical education and research traces its origins to 1505 when the Barber Surgeons of Edinburgh was formally incorporated as a Craft Guild of Edinburgh, and granted a royal charter in 1506 by King James IV of Scotland. ... For an episode of the television series Rome, see Death Mask (Rome). ...

The Police Information office on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh (located just a few yards from where Burke was hanged) also houses a business card case made from the skin of Burke. This is located at the back of the office opposite the entrance.

From Burke's method of killing his victims has comes the verb burking. Suffocation redirects here, for the band, see Suffocation (band). ...


  • Bailey, B. (2002) Burke and Hare: The Year of the Ghouls ISBN 1-84018-575-9
  • Douglas, H. (1973) Burke and Hare ISBN 0-7091-3777-X
  • Edwards, O.D. (1993) Burke and Hare ISBN 1-873644-25-6
  • Macgregor, G. (1884) History of Burke and Hare and of the Resurrectionist Times

  Results from FactBites:
William Burke - LoveToKnow 1911 (301 words)
WILLIAM BURKE (1792-1829), Irish criminal, was born in Ireland in 1792.
The latter turned king's evidence, and Burke was found guilty and hanged at Edinburgh on the 28th of January 1829.
From Burke's method of killing his victims has come the verb "to burke," meaning to suffocate, strangle or suppress secretly, or to kill with the object of selling the body for the purposes of dissection.
The Newgate Calendar - WILLIAM BURKE (7612 words)
William Noble, the shopman to Mr Rayner, a grocer at Portsburgh, near Tanner's Close, was then examined, and proved that on the night of the 31st October Burke, who had been in the habit of dealing at his employer's house, called there in order to purchase some trifling articles of grocery.
Burke was, indeed, the only one of the two qualified to manage the out-door business of the co-partnery; and he it was, accordingly, who always went out to prowl for victims, and to decoy them to their destruction.
Burke had availed himself of the short interval of twenty minutes, during which her companion, Janet Brown, was absent, to execute his horrid purpose, when she was asleep, by stopping her breath; and that very afternoon, between five and six o'clock, her body was taken to the dissecting-room and disposed of for eight pounds.
  More results at FactBites »



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