A warning for wiues,


A warning for wiues,


By the example of one Katherine Francis, alias Stoke, who for killing her husband, Robert Francis with a paire of Sizers, on the 8. of Aprill at night, was burned on Clarkenwell-greene, on Tuesday, the 21 of the same moneth, 1629.

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Magdalene College - Pepys Library, Pepys Ballads 1.118-119; EBBA 20049

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ALas what wretched bloody times doe we vile sinners live in!
What horrid and what cruell crimes are done in spight of heaven!
What barberous murders now are done none fowler since the world begun!

Oh women, Murderous women. whereon are your minds?

The Story which I now recite, expounds you meanings evill
Those women that in blood delight,
Are ruled by the Devill,
Else how can th' wife her husband kill,
Or th' Mother her owne childs blood spill,
Oh women,
Murderous women, etc.

At Cow-crosse, neere to Smithfield-barres, adjacent to the City,
A man ands wife at houshold jarres long liv'd, the more's the pitty,
Like Cat and Dog they still agree'd;
Each small offence did anger breed:
Oh Women, etc.

She oftentimes would beat him sore, and many a wound she gave him,
Yet hee'd not live from her therefore, to stay ill fate would have him,
Till she with one inhumane wound,
Threw him (her husband) dead toth' ground,
Oh women, etc.

Upon the 8 of Aprill last, betweene this man and wife,
Some certaine words of difference past; and all their cause of strife,
Was but about a trifle small, yet that procur'd his fatall fall,
Oh women, etc.

This was about the houre of tenne, or rather more that night,
When this was done, whereof my Pen, in tragicke stile doth write;
The maner of's death most strange appeares
Being struck ith' neck with a pair of sheeres,
Oh women, etc.

As many of the neighbours say, that thereabout doe dwell,
This couple had most part oth' day beene drinking, so they tell,
And comming home at night so late,
She did renew her former hate.
Oh women, etc.

The second part To the same tune

ANother woman that was there, she out oth' doores did send,
And had her fetch a Pot of Beere, oh then drew nere his end,
For ere the woman came againe,
This wife had her owne husband slaine:

Oh women,
Murderous women, whereon are your minds?

She long had thirsted for his blood, (even by her owne confession)
And now her promise she made good, so heaven gave permission
To Satan, who then lent her power
And strength to do't that bloody houre.
Oh women, etc.

It seemes that he his head did leane toth' Chimney, which she spide,
And straight she tooke, (O bloody queane) her Sisers from her side,
And hit him therewith such a stroake
Ith necke, that (some thinke) he nere spoke.
Oh women, etc.

She having done that monstrous part, (woe worth her for her labour)
No power had from thence to start, but went unto a neighbour,
And told him, that she verily thought, that she her husbands death had wrought.
Oh women, etc.

The man amaz'd to heare the same, caught hold of her, and said,
Ile know the truth, and how this came, if such a part to be plaid,
No sooner had he said the same,
But neighbours did her fact proclaime.
Oh women, etc.

Then to New Prison was she sent, because it was so late,
And upon the next day she went (through Swithfield to New Gate,
Where she did lye untill the Session,
To answer for her foule transgression.
Oh women, etc.

Where she condemned was by Law, in Clarkenwell to be burned,
Unto which place they did her draw, where she to ashes turned,
A death, though cruell, yet too milde
For one that hath a heart so vlide.
Oh women, etc.

Let all good wives a warning take, in Country and in City,
And thinke how they shall at stake be burned without pitty.
If they can have such barbarous hearts,
What man or woman will take their parts,
Oh women,
Murderous women. whereon are your minds?

Composer of Ballad

Martin Parker

Method of Punishment






Execution Location


Printing Location

London for F. G. on Snow-hill.

Tune Data

Bragandary is a lost tune (Simpson 1966, p. 743).


'Middlesex Sessions Rolls: 1629', Middlesex county records: Volume 3: 1625-67 (1888), pp. 25-30.

8 April, 5 Charles I. - True Bill that, at Cowcrosse co. Midd. on the said day, Katherine Francis, late the wife of Robert Francis alias Katherine Francis late of the said parish spinster, assaulted the said Robert then her husband, and then and there murdered him by stabbing him with a pair of scissors in the neck, so that he then and there died instantly. G. D. R., . . . . April, 5 Charles I.


A warning for wives, By the example of one Katherine Francis, alias Stoke.jpg


“A warning for wiues,,” Execution Ballads, accessed May 30, 2024, https://omeka.cloud.unimelb.edu.au/execution-ballads/items/show/931.

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