Luke Huttons lamentation:


Luke Huttons lamentation:


which he wrote the day before his death, being condemned to be hanged at Yorke this last assises for his robberies and trespasses committed.


Highwayman Luke Hutton is hanged for his crimes in York

Digital Object

Image / Audio Credit

Huntington Library - Britwell, Shelfmark: HEH18307; EBBA 32346

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Wandering and wavering


I Am a poore prisoner condemned to dye,
ah woe is me woe is me for my great folly,
Fast fettred in yrons in place where I lie
Be warned yong wantons, hemp passeth green holly
My parents were of good degree
by whom I would not counselled be,
Lord Jesu forgive me with mercy releeve me,
Receive O sweet saviour my spirit unto thee.

My name is Hutton, yea Luke of bad life
ah woe is me woe is me for my great folly:
Which on the highway robd man and wife,
be warned yong wantons, etc.
Inticed by many a gracelesse mate,
Whose counsel I repent too late. Lord, etc.

Not twentie yeeres old alas was I
ah woe is me woe is me, etc.
When I began this fellonie
be warned yong wantons, etc.
With me went stil twelve yeomen, tall
Which I did my twelve a Apostles call. Lord, etc.

There was no Squire nor barron bold
ah woe is me woe is me for my great folly:
That rode the way with silver or gold,
be warned yong wantons, etc.
But I and my twelve Apostles gaie,
would lighten their load ere they went away, lord, etc.

This newes procured my kins-folkes griefe,
ah woe is me woe is me
They hearing I was a famous theefe
be warned yong wantons,
They wept they wailde they wrong their hands
that thus I should hazard life and lands. lord, etc.

They made me a Jaylor a little before, ah woe, etc.
to keep in prison offenders store, be warned, etc.
But such a Jaylor was never none,
I went and let them out everie one. lord, etc.

I wist their sorrow sore grieved me
ah woe is mee, etc.
Such proper men should hanged be
be warned yong, etc.
My office then I did defie
And ran away for company. lord, etc.
Three yeeres I lived upon the spoile
ah woe is me, etc.
Giving many a carle the soile
be warned yong etc.
Yet never did I kil man nor wife
though lewdly long I led my life. lord, etc.

But all too bad my deedes hath been,
ah woe is me, etc,
Offending my country and my good queene,
be warned yong, etc.
All men in Yorke-shire talke of me,
A stronger theefe there could not be. lord, etc.

Upon S. Lukes day was I borne, ah woe, etc.
whom want of grace hath made a scorne. be war. etc.
in honor of my birth day then,
I robd in a bravery nineteene men. Lord, etc.

The country weary to beare this wrong,
ah woe is me, etc.
With huse and cries pursude me long, be war, etc.

Though long I scapt, yet loe at last.
London I was in newgate cast.

There did I lye with a grieved [mi]nde,
ah woe is me, etc.
Although the keeper was gentle and kinde,
be warned yong etc.
[Y]et was he not so kinde as I,
[T]o let m[e go] at libertie. lord, etc.

At last the shiriffe of Yorke-shire came,
ah woe is me, etc.
And in a warrant he had my name,
be warned yong, etc.
[Quoth] he at Yorke thou must be tride,
With me therefore hence must thou ride. lord, etc.

Like pangues of death his words did sound,
ah woe is me, etc.
My hands and armes ful fast he bound,
be warned etc.
Good sir quoth I, I had rather stay,
I have no heart to ride that way. lord, etc.

When no intreaty might prevaile,
ah woe is me, etc.
I calde for beere, for wine and ale,
be warned, etc.
And when my heart was in wofull case,
I drunke to my friends with a smiling face. lord, etc.

With clubs and staves I was garded then,
ah woe is me, etc.
I never before had such waiting men
be warned, etc.
If they had ridden before amaine,
Beshrew me if I had cald them againe. lord, etc.

And when unto Yorke that I was come, ah, etc.
Each one on me did passe their doome. be war. etc.
and whilst you live this sentence note,
Evill men can never have good report. lord, etc.

Before the judges when I was brought,
ah woe is me, etc.
Be sure I had a carefull thought, be, etc.
Nine-score inditements and seaventeene,
against me there was read and seene. lord, etc.

And each of these was fellony found,
ah woe is me. etc.
which did my heart with sorrow wound, be, etc.
What should I heerein longer stay,
For this I was condemned that day. lord, etc.

My death each houre I do attend,
ah woe is me:
In prayer and teares my time I spend. be etc.
And all my loving friends this day,
I do intreate for me to pray. Lord etc.

I have deserved long since to die, ah woe etc
A viler sinner livde not then I: be etc.
On friends I hopte my life to save,
But I am fittest for my grave: Lord etc.

Adue my loving frends each one,
ah woe is me woe is me for my great folly,
Thinke on my words when I am gone,
be warned young wantons, etc.
When on the ladder you shal me view,
thinke I am neerer heaven then you. Lord etc.

Method of Punishment






Execution Location


Printing Location

London for Thomas Millington


For discussion of parentage of and writings ascribed to the highwayman Luke Hutton, see Arthur Valentine Judges, The Elizabethan Underworld (London, 1930), pp. 269-95 and notes, pp. 506-8.




“Luke Huttons lamentation:,” Execution Ballads, accessed May 20, 2024,

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