Godfrey McCulloch

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Sir Godfrey McCulloch, 2nd Baronet of Mertoun (c. 1640 – 26 March 1697) was a Scottish politician who was executed for murder.

Murder Unlawful killing of a human with malice aforethought

Murder is the unlawful killing of another human without justification or valid excuse, especially the unlawful killing of another human being with malice aforethought. This state of mind may, depending upon the jurisdiction, distinguish murder from other forms of unlawful homicide, such as manslaughter. Manslaughter is a killing committed in the absence of malice, brought about by reasonable provocation, or diminished capacity. Involuntary manslaughter, where it is recognized, is a killing that lacks all but the most attenuated guilty intent, recklessness.


In 1678 McCulloch served as a Commissioner for Wigtownshire at the Convention of Estates (Scottish Parliament).

Wigtownshire was a constituency represented in the Parliament of Scotland until 1707.

In 1684, he shot William Gordon in the leg, partly as a result of a long-standing feud (rising from a land dispute) between his family and the Gordon family. Gordon later died of the infection caused by the wound. McCulloch was found guilty and sentenced to death. Although he initially escaped to France, he was captured when he returned to Edinburgh in 1697 and beheaded at the Mercat Cross. McCulloch had been living in Scotland since 1694 under the alias "Mr. Johnstoune". He was the last man to be executed on the Maiden. Following his death, much of his family emigrated to America, and Cardoness Castle, which had been owned by the family since c. 1470, was abandoned.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Edinburgh Capital city in Scotland

Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian, it is located in Lothian on the Firth of Forth's southern shore.

There is also a legend (quoted by Sir Walter Scott, a distant relation) that McCulloch was in fact saved from execution by a gnome whom he had done a favour for earlier in life, and that he was never seen again. Another story tells that after his beheading, his headless body ran 100 yards down the Royal Mile. Given his sensational trial and the number of witnesses present, either story is unlikely at best.

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