The news out of Newgate after the 1715 Jacobite rebellion
in Connecting centre and locality
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This chapter examines the transmission of news in, through and about Newgate prison in the aftermath of the 1715 Jacobite rebellion. Although Newgate was not located in the provinces, the prison’s special structure of governance, its famously exotic customs, the difficulty of access to it and the high concentration of prisoners from Scotland and the northern counties that it housed after 1715 justify treating it conceptually as a ‘locality’. Newgate was at once psychologically distant from the coffee houses that comprised London's public sphere and yet seen by a wider public as the site and source of important political knowledge that impacted the legitimacy of the new regime. The news out of Newgate covered a wide range of topics: the alleged abuse of the ‘Jacobite Jew’ Frances Francia by Townsend to extort information, the general laxity or brutality of the prison wardens, the courage or cowardice or impudent debauchery of prisoners awaiting death or reprieve, the ‘truth’ about the Jacobite defeat at Preston. This chapter asks what news the denizens of Newgate had access to, and what news they themselves produced or recycled, and at why and how news about Newgate would reach a wider public.

Connecting centre and locality

Political communication in early modern England

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