Truth brought to light. Or, Wonderful strange and true news from Gloucester shire, concerning one Mr. William Harrison


Truth brought to light. Or, Wonderful strange and true news from Gloucester shire, concerning one Mr. William Harrison


formerly Stewart to the Lady Nowel of Cambden, who was supposed to be Murthered by the Widow Pery and two of her Sons, one of which was Servant to the said Gentleman. Therefore they were all three appprehended and sent to Gloucester Goal, and about two years since arraigned, found guilty, condem|ned, and Executed upon Broadway hill in sight of Cambden, the mother and one Son being then buried under the Gibbet, but he that was Mr. Harrisons Servant, hanged in Chains in the same place, where that which is remaining of him may be seen to this day, but at the time of their Execution, they said Mr. Harrison was not dead, but ere seven years were over should be heard of again, yet would not confess where he was, but now it ap[...]ears the Widow Pery was a witch, and after her Sons had ro[...]d him, and cast him into a Stone Pit, she by her witch-craft conveyed him upon a Rock in the Sea near Turkey, where he remaind four days and nights, till a Turkish Ship coming by, took him and sold him into Turky, where he remained for a season, but is now through the good providence of God returnd again safe to England, to the great wonder and admiration of all that know the s[...]me. This is undenyably true, as is sufficiently testified by the Inhabitants of Cambden, and many others thereabouts.
To the Tune of, Aim not too high.


William Harrison is murdered by his servant, and the servant's brother and mother. They are punished but claim that Harrison will return alive again within seven years. Two years later Harrison, who had been in Turkey, returns and it is believed that Widow Perry, the mother, was actually a witch who had bewitched him.

Digital Object

Image / Audio Credit

Bodleian 18713, Wood 401(191), Bod18713

Set to tune of...

Aim Not Too High (Fortune My Foe)


AMongst those wonders which on early are shown,
In any age there seldom hath béen known,
A thing more strange then that which this Relation,
Doth here present unto your observation.
In Glocestershire as many know full well,
At Camben Town a Gentleman did dwell,
One Mr. William Harrison by name,
A Stewart to a Lady of great fame.

A Widdow likewise in the Town there was,
A wick wretch who brought strange things to pass,
So wonderful that some will scarce receive,
[...]hese lines for truth nor yet my words beleive.

[...] such as unto Cambden do resort,
Have surely found this is no false report,
Though many lies are dayly now invented,
This is as true a Song as ere was Printed.

Therefore unto the story now give ear,
This Widow Pery as it doth appear,
And her two sons all fully were agréed,
Against their friend to work a wicked déed.

One of her Sons even from a youth did dwell,
With Mr. Harrison who loved him well,
And bred him up his Mother being poor,
But sée how he requited him therefore.

For taking notice that his Master went,
Abroad to gather in his Ladies rent,
And by that means it was an usual thing,
For him great store of money home to bring.

He thereupon with his mischevous mother,
And likewise with his vile ungodly Brother,
Contriv'd to rob his Master, for these base
And cruel wretches were past shame and grace.

One night they met him comming into Town,
And in a barbarous manner knockt him down,
Then taking all his money quite away,
His body out of sight they did convey.

But being all suspected for this déed,
They apprehended were and sent with spéed,
To Glocester Goal and there upon their Tryal,
Were guilty found for all their stiff denyal.

JT was supposed the Gentleman was dead,
And by these wretches robd and Murthered,
Therefore they were all thrée condem'd to death,
And eke on Broadway-hill they lost their breath.

One of the Sons was buried with his Mother,
Vnder the Gibbet, but the other Brother,
That serv'd the Gentleman was hang'd in Chains,
And there some part of him as yet remains.

But yet before they died they did proclaim
Even in the ears of those that thither came,
That Mr. Harison yet living was
And would be found in less then seven years space.

Which words of theirs for truth do now appear
For tis but two year since they hanged were,
And now the Gentleman alive is found
Which news is publisht through the Countrys round

But lest that any of this truth shall doubt,
Ile tell you how the business came about
This Widow Pery as tis plainly shown
Was then a Witch although it was not known.

So when these Villains by their mothers aid
Had knockt him down (even as before was said)
They took away his money every whit,
And then his body cast into a pit.

He scarce was come unto himself before
Another wonder did amaze him more,
For whilst he lookt about, he found that he
Was suddainly conveyd unto the Sea.

First on the shore he stood a little space
And thence unto a rock transported was,
Where he four days and nights did then remain
And never thought to see his friends again.

But as a Turkish ship was passing by
Some of the men the Gentleman did spy,
And took him in and as I understand,
They carried him into the Turkish Land.

And there (not knowing of his sad disaster)
They quickly did provide for him a Master,
A Surgeon or of some such like profession,
Whose service he performed with much discretion.

It séems in gathering Hearbs he had good skill,
And could the same excéeding well distil,
Which to his Master great content did give,
And pleas'd him well so long as he did live.

But he soon dyd, and at his death he gave him,
A piece of plate that so none should enslave him,
But that his liberty be might obtain,
To come into his native land again.

And thus this Gentleman his fréedom wrought;
And by a Turky Ship from thence was brought;
To Portugal, and now both safe and sound,
He is at length arrived on English ground.

Let not this séem incredible to any,
Because it is a thing afirmed by many,
This is no feigned story, though tis new,
But as tis very strange tis very true.

You sée how far a Witches power extends,
When as to wickedness her mind she bends,
Great is her Malice, yet can God restrain her,
And at his pleasure let her loose or chain her.

If God had let her work her utmost spight,
No doubt she would have kild the man outright,
But he is saved and she for all her malice,
Was very justly hang'd upon the Gallows.

Then let all praise to God alone be given,
By men on earth as by the Saints in heaven,
He by his mercy dayly doth befriend us,
And by his power he will still defend us.

Method of Punishment

hanging, hanging in chains


murder, witchcraft



Execution Location


Printing Location



Truth Brought to Light.gif


“Truth brought to light. Or, Wonderful strange and true news from Gloucester shire, concerning one Mr. William Harrison,” Execution Ballads, accessed May 30, 2024,

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