The downfall of William Grismond


The downfall of William Grismond


or, A lamentable murder by him committed at Lainterdine in the county of Hereford, the 22 of March, 1650, with his woful [sic] lamentation.


William Grismond's pregnant girlfriend asks him to marry her; he kills her instead. When her body is found three days later, he flees on a ship to Ireland. The ship must return to shore and he is arrested, taken to Westchester, Chester Prison and then to Hereford to be hanged. His father spends a lot of money to free him but to no avail.

Digital Object

Image / Audio Credit

University of Glasgow Library, Euing Ballads 61; British Library; Bodleian; EBBA 31739
Recorded in Universal Songster 3, p. 296; The Crotchet (1847), pp. 107-108.

Set to tune of...

Where is my love


The Downfall of William Grismond, Or, A Lamentable Murder by him committed at Lainterdine in the County of Hereford the 22 of March. 1650. with his woful Lamentation.

The tune is, VVhere is my Love.

[Figure: ]

O Come you wilfull youngmen,
and hear what I shall tell,
My name is William Grismond,
at Lainterdine did dwell,
O there I did a murder,
as it is [...]non full well.

And fo[...] mine offence I must dye.

There was a Neighbours dauhhter,
that l[...]ved there hard by,
Whom I had promis'd Marriage,
and with her I did ly.
I [illeg.] did dissemble with her,
my lust to satisfie.

And for, &c.

I had my pleasure with her,
I had my lewd desire,
The using of her body,
was that I did require.
I was ore come and snared,
by him that is a Lyar.

And for, &c.

She claimed of me Marriage,
and said she was with child,
Saying marry me sw_et William,
now you have me defil'd'
If you do now forsake me,
O utterly I'm spoyl'd

And for, &c.

When she had us'd these sp_eches,
my anger did arise.
And then to work her overthrow
I quickly did devise.
What though her words was honest
yet I did them despise,

And for, &c.

O mark how it did happen,
this huswife being poor.
And I who was my Fathers heir,
her words did urg me sore.
For I could have another,
with gold and silver store.

And for, &c.

My Father and my mother,
I knew would not consent,
If I had marryed with her,
I knew I should be [illeg.] shent .
Then unto wicked murder,
my heart was fully bent.

And for, &c.

In flattering sort I brought her,
into a field of broom,
And when we both together,
into the field was come.
I had my pleasure with her,
and then I was her doom.

And for, &c.

Then in the broom I kil'd her,
with my accursed knife,
There hatefully I kil'd her,
who lov'd me as her life.
I cut her throt I kil'd her.
who should have b_en my wife.

And for, &c.

Thr_e dayes she lay there murdred
before that she was found,
But when the neighbours serching
within that broomy ground.
Did find her there uncovered.
and with a bloody wound.

And for mine offence I must dye.
[Figure: ]
[Figure: ]

THe Neighbours having found her
where I did doe this d_ed,
There in the broom they found her
where I her blood did shed:
But when I did perceive that
I ran away with sp_ed,

And for mine offence I must dye.

No sooner had they found her,
but I away did goe.
I thought to go to Ireland,
the very truth is so.
But God he would not suffer me.
to run my Country throw,

And for, &c.

Yet I was got on Ship-board,
as you may understand,
But when the ship was troubled,
I must go back to Land,
I could not passe away so,
with guilty heart and hand,

And for, &c.

There is some wicked person
the ship-men then did say,
Within this ship w_e know it,
that cannot passe away.
W_e must return to land her,
and make no more delay,

And for, &c.

Then n_er unto Westchester,
I taken was at last,
And then in Chester Prison
I suddenly was cast,
From thence brought unto Hereford
to answer what was past,

And for, &c.

But when my loving Father,
his Gold he did not spare,
To save me from the Gallows,
he had of me great care,
But it wodld not be granted,
the Gallows was my share,

And for, &c.

My fault it was so hainous,
it would not granted be,
I must for an example,
hang on the Gallow tr_e,
God grant that I a warning
to all young-men may be,

And for, &c.

O my dear loving Father,
he was to me most kind,
He brought me up most costly,
so was his tender mind,
But I indeed to lewdnesse
was too too much inclin'd,

And for, &c.

He brought me up in Learning,
his love to me was still,
He thought it all too little,
he did bestow on VVill,
But when he lookt for comfort,
his heart I then did kill,

And for, &c.

I might have had a marriage,
my Father to contentŒ‡
And that my loving Mother,
would give her hearts consent.
But I had took such courses.
doth make us all repent,

And for, &c.

Now young-men take warning,
you see my fall is great,
O call to God for mercy,
Gods grace doe you intreat,
I might have lived bravely,
and had a gallant seat,

And for, &c.

O Lord I now crave pardon,
with a relenting heart,
I know my sins are hainous,
I'm very sorry for't:
Alas I have deserved,
a very hard report,

And for mine offence I must dye.

Method of Punishment






Execution Location


Printing Location

Printed for F. Coles, T. Vere, W. Gilbertson, and J. Wright.




“The downfall of William Grismond,” Execution Ballads, accessed May 20, 2024,

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