The Clippers execution,


The Clippers execution,


or, Treason justly rewarded manifested in the fearful example of two Women who were Notorious offenders, and tryed at the Old-Bayly the 13th of this present April, 1678. for clipping and defacing his Majesties Coyn, where they were found Guilty of High Treason, and received Sentence to be Drawn on a Hurdle to the place of Execution, and there their Bodies to be Burnt. One of them being accordingly Executed in Smithfield upon the 17th of the said Moneth; as a warning for all others to avoid the like Dreadful Punishment. To the tune of, In summer time.


'Coin-clipping' was a kind of forgery: the practice of taking small chunks of gold coins in order to melt them down and make new coins. It was considered treasonous, and so these women were burned for it.

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

Image / Audio Credit

Image: Bodleian Library, Wing / C4716. Recorded in EEBO (institutional login required). Audio recording by Hannah Sullivan.

Set to tune of...

In summer time


Lament, lament, good Christians all,
who now draw near unto this place,
To see a wretched Sinners fall,
who here doth die in great disgrace:
Although the Laws are ne'r so strict,
some daily do the same transgress,
And warnings all they do neglect;
they'r rooted so in wickedness.

As by this sad example here,
it is confirm's to every one,
Now that the Devil lays his baits,
to bring us to destruction:
For every one he hath a snare,
to please, and satisfie their mind,
And for their ruine doth prepare,
according as they are inclin'd.

This woman being Covetous,
for to grow rich it was her aim,
She did not value by what means,
which did procure her lasting shame:
Some of them did a practice make,
our Soveraigns Coyn for to deface,
Not thinking at the last to come,
To end their lives in foul disgrace.

But though they for a time did Raign,
and prosper in their wickedness,
They now are brought to open shame,
their heinious crimes for to confess:
This wretched woman being one,
who having not the Fear of God,
Now for her Crime is hither come,
to feel his dreadful heavy Rod.

Her Clipping and her Fileing Trade
in private she long time did use,
Hoping she should not be betraid,
the King and Country did abuse:
A little Girl she us'd to send
unto the Shops her Coyn to change,
And so convei'd it to her friend,
who put it off in manner strange.

At length the same suspected was,
by one that liv'd neer Temple-Barr,
who watcht the Girl when home she went
she being not of him aware:
With Officers the House they searcht,
and there one woman they did find,
With Clippings in a Handbaskit,
which did appear of the same kind.

In breaking ope another door,
they likewise plainly did perceive,
Clippings and Fileings on the floor
which carelesly they chanc't to leave;
A File, and Shears, likewise there was,
and Melting-pot, which they did use,
And all things for their purpose fit,
the blinded world for to abuse.

For which to Prison they were sent,
until their Tryal for to lye,
And time they had for to repent,
to make their peace before they dye:
Two of them Sentence did receive,
upon a Hurdle drawn to be,
And Burnt to Ashes in the Flames,
where people all the same might see.

This wretched woman being one
which here is brought unto your view,
To pay for her transgression,
because she proved so untrue:
A Spectacle of misery,
she doth appear in this same place,
Being bound the Law to satisfie,
and end her life in great disgrace.

All you good Christians who are here,
and see her sad and woful fall,
Pray that with patience she may beat,
and unto Christ for mercy call:
Who knows but that the Lord on high,
In mercy may her her soul receive,
And free her from all misery,
if firmly she in him believe.

Let her Example warn you all,
to have the Lord still in your mind;
Least to such crimes you hap to fall,
and unto Sin you be inclin'd:
Beware of filthy averice,
and strive your lives for to amend,
Do not presume to follow vice,
least you come to untimely end.

A dreadful thing it is you see,
her body in the flames to burn,
But worse when soul, and body both,
into eternal Flames shall turn.
Therefore once more I say beware,
and strive Gods mercy to imbrace,
And let it be your onely care;
to find a Heavenly resting place.

Method of Punishment



clipping gold coins



Execution Location


Printing Location

London[?] : Printed for F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright and J. Clarke

Tune Data

Recording is another song in that tune


the clippers song.mp3


“The Clippers execution,,” Execution Ballads, accessed May 30, 2024,

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