Anne VVallens Lamentation,


Anne VVallens Lamentation,


For the Murthering of her husband Iohn Wallen a Turner in Cow-lane neere Smithfield; done by his owne wife, on satterday the 22 of Iune. 1616. who was burnt in Smithfield the first of Iuly following.


Anne Wallen sings from the scaffold of her remorse at the stabbing death of her husband. However, spectators at her burning were convinced it was in self-defense against a violent attacker.

Digital Object

Image notice

Full size images of all ballad sheets available at the bottom of this page.

Image / Audio Credit

Magdalene College - Pepys Library, Pepys Ballads 1.124-125; EBBA 20053. Audio recording by Hannah Sullivan. 

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Great God that sees al things that here are don
Keeping thy Court with thy celestiall Son;
Heere her complaint that hath so sore offended,
Forgive my fact before my life is ended.

Ah me the shame unto all women kinde,
To harbour such a thought within my minde:
That now hath made me to the world a scorne,
And makes me curse the time that I was borne.

I would to God my mothers haples wombe,
Before my birth had beene my happy tombe:
Or would to God when first I did take breath,
That I had suffered any painefull death.

If ever dyed a true repentant soule,
Then I am she, whose deedes are blacke and foule:
Then take heed wives be to your husbands kinde,
And beare this lesson truely in your minde,

Let not your tongus oresway true reasons bounds,
Which in your rage your utmost rancour sounds:
A woman that is wise should seldome speake,
Unlesse discreetly she her words repeat

Oh would that I had thought of this before,
Which now to thinke on makes my heart full sore:
Then should I not have done this deed so foule,
The which hath stained my immortall soule.

Tis not to dye that thus doth cause me grieve,
I am more willing far to die than live;
But tis for blood which mounteth to the skies,
And to the Lord revenge, revenge, it cries.

My dearest husband did I wound to death,
And was the cause h[e] lost his sweetest breath,
But yet I trust his soule in heaven doth dwell,
And mine without Gods mercy sinkes to hell.

In London neere to smithfield did I dwell,
And mongst my neighbours was beloved well:
Till that the Devill wrought me this same spight,
That all their loves are turnd to hatred quight.

John Wallen was my loving husbands name,
Which long hath liv'd in London in good fame.
His trade a Turner, as was knowne full well,
My name An Wallen , dolefull tale to tell.

Anne wallens Lamentation,
Or the second part of the murther of one John Wallen a Turner in Cow-lane neere Smithfield; done by his owne wife, on saterday the 22 of June 1616.
who was burnt in Smithfield the first of July following,
To the tune of Fortune my foe.

My husband having beene about the towne,
And comming home, he on his bed lay down:
To rest himselfe, which when I did espie,
I fell to rayling most outragiously.

I cald him Rogue, and slave, and all to naught,
Repeating the worst language might be thought
Thou drunken knave I said, and arrant sot,
Thy minde is set on nothing but the pot.

Sweet heart he said I pray thee hold thy tongue,
And if thou dost not, I shall shall doe thee wrong,
At which, straight way I grew in worser rage,
That he by no meanes could my tongue asswage.

He then arose and strooke me on the eare,
I did at him begin to curse and sweare:
Then presently one of his tooles I got,
And on his body gave a wicked stroake

Amongst his intrailes I this Chissell threw,
Where as his Caule came out, for which I rue,
What hast thou don, I prethee looke quoth he,
Thou hast thy wish, for thou hast killed me.

When this was done the neighbours they ran in,
And to his bed they streight conveyed him:
Where he was drest and liv'd till morne next day,
Yet he forgave me and for me did pray.

No sooner was his breath from body fled,
But unto Newgate straight way they me led:
Where I did lie untill the Sizes came,
Which was before I there three daies had laine.

Mother in lawe, forgive me I you pray,
For I have made your onely childe away,
Even all you had; my selfe made husbandlesse,
My life and all cause [I] did so transgresse,

He nere did wrong to any in his life,
But he too much was wronged by his wife;
Then wives be warn'd example take by me.
Heavens graunt no more that such a one may be.

My judgement then it was pronounced plaine,
Because my dearest husband I had slaine:
In burning flames of fire I should fry,
Receive my soule sweet Jesus now I die.

T: Platte.

Composer of Ballad

T. Platte

Method of Punishment






Printing Location

Printed for Henry Gosson, and are to be solde/ at his shop on London bridge.


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“Anne VVallens Lamentation,,” Execution Ballads, accessed April 25, 2024,

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