The York-shire Tragedy:


The York-shire Tragedy:


GIVING An Account of a Barbarous Murther Committed on the Bodies of a young Man and Maid, by Thieves, who made their escape, and was not found in two Years after; and then being apprehended, they were Arraigned, and their Ring-leader found Guilty; for which he received the due Sentence of Death, and was accordingly Executed at York late Sizes.

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Image / Audio Credit

Magdalene College - Pepys Library, Pepys Ballads 2.182; EBBA 20798

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Fond Boy


N Ow, now loving People be pleas'd to draw near,
For a dismal Relation at large you shall hear,
How the innocent Blood of a Damsel was shed,
A Youth mortally wounded, the Murtherers fled;
Yet at length being seiz'd, they to Justice was brought,
At a time when all danger was past, as they thought.

The manner how they did this Murther commit,
And the time they escap'd, to the World I have writ,
That it may be a warning to others this day,
Therefore listen a while to this Ditty I pray,
In the Town of fair Slatburn a Widow did dwell,
Who had an [?] only Daughter she loved right well.

She had but that Daughter, not any Child more;
Now for her she had gather'd up Riches great store,
In broad pieces of Gold, nay, and Silver likewise;
Now the Thieves being told of this wonderful Prize,
They were never at rest, but did constantly wait
For a fit oppertunity, early and late.

While these cruel Ruffins in close ambush lay,
Like the Fox, or fierce Lyon that wait for their Prey;
The good Woman went forth, leaving no one within
But a Youth and her Daughter; the Thieves did begin
For to enter the House, and was desperate too,
And a sad bloody Slaughter did straightways ensue.

The poor frighted Damsel did trembling stand,
One of them did come to her with Pistol in hand,
And discharged the same through the midst of her head,
Blood and brains both did follow, she fell down for dead;
Yet they pinn'd he likewise with a Sword to the ground,
And the Youth that was with her receiv'd his death's wound.

Now while the young Damsel lay bath'd in her blood,
Which did flow from her Veins like a deluge or flood;
Oh! these murderous Thieves they were pleas'd to make bold
With the best of Apparel, nay, Silver and Gold,
For they rifl'd the House to replenish their store,
And was never discover'd for two Years and more.

This was to the Mother a dreadful surprize,
For to see the young Youth and her Daughter likewise,
In that bloody condition, both wreaking in gore,
Then she bitterly screak'd when she enter'd the door,
For her Daughter she found with the Sword in her side,
I am ruin'd, I'm ruin'd, her Mother she cry'd.

A young Man that had been in league with his Maid,
For the space of two Years he did lay by his Trade,
Ever searching for them, and by Fortune at last
They were taken and try'd, their head Ring-leader cast,
A ruff Villain, bold Henry Grigson by name,
He confessed the Murther, and dy'd for the same.

At length being brought to the place of his Death,
Where he was to surrender and yield up his breath,
He besought all the People that stood round him there,
For to joyn with him then in the Duty of Prayer,
That the Lord would be pleased his Sins to forgive,
So his Soul may in Heaven eternally live.

Then mounting the Ladder he bitterly wept,
Fare you well the bad Company which I have kept,
You have ruined me, for my Life's at an end;
Loving Father of Heaven on thee I depend,
For thy Mercies are many I needs must confess;
Let my Sins be forgiven tho' I did transgress.

Method of Punishment






Execution Location


Printing Location

London: Printed for I Blare, on London-bridge.




“The York-shire Tragedy:,” Execution Ballads, accessed June 24, 2024,

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