'Orrible Murder! To Thread - Forum Home

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'Orrible Murder!

21 Jan 99 - 07:53 AM (#55032)
Subject: 'Orrible Murder!!
From: Steve Parkes

I was looking at the Pearl Bryan thread and thought the subject of gruesome murders was a fitting subject for a thread, so I'm starting it here. Much as I deplore the taking of a life (as I'm sure you all do too), I have to admit that I'm much like everyone else - fascinated by the gory details. It's ok, of course, when it all happened a long time ago ... I keep telling myself! A few examples: Lizzie Borden, Jack the Ripper (there must be some songs abouthim?), Sweeny Todd (fictional); and not forgetting Sweet Fanny Adams (historical). Any of you closet News of the World (or US equivalent) readers care to add anything?


21 Jan 99 - 10:47 AM (#55046)
Subject: out of the closet
From: Philippa

In recent years, I've become rather embarassed of my liking for long detailed (and no-longer fashionable even among 'folkies') murder ballads like Fair Ellender and the Brown Girl, the False Knight Upon the Road, Gill Morice, etc.

I'm not especially into blood and gore in other genres (films, tabloids, real life)

21 Jan 99 - 04:13 PM (#55079)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Joe Offer

I wqas in a used book sotre in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, a couple of years ago, and I picked up a tattered treasure called American Murder Ballads, by Olive Wooley Burt. It has all sorts of good songs, and I'll try to post some later (if I can find any that aren't already in the database) - but I guess the boss would prefer that I get some work done now.
Be sure to do a category search by putting @murder in the search box in the upper-right corner of this page. It appears that our Esteemed Editors, Dick and Susan, may be rather obsessed with the topic. If you want further evidence of this obsession, try @lynching, @deadbaby, @suicide, @poison, @execution, @death. Susan proudly announced the other day that there will be a @deadcat category soon. Remind me I don't ever want to be caught alone in a room with either Dick or Susan...
-Joe Offer-

21 Jan 99 - 07:10 PM (#55115)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: dick greenhaus

Hey Joe- @murder only accounts for 262 songs in the DT, less than 3-1/2 percent. Probably due to the massive influx of warm, fuzzy singer/songwriter stuff.

21 Jan 99 - 07:46 PM (#55121)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Kate Riley

Don't forget the tale of the Murdered Maiden Student, a la New Hampshire.

21 Jan 99 - 08:34 PM (#55130)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Barbara

Do you suppose the @deadcat -egory will refer to dead cats or dead 'Cats? Or both? We've certainly enough parodies on the tech Help Forum page to do the latter.
One of the women I sing with regularly, a nannie, favors dead and murdered baby songs, a fact that was revealed for the first time to the three families she nannies for at her surprise 50th birthday party last weekend. Person after person got up and each sang a song more gruesome than the last, since they all know her taste. For all I know, she's job-hunting this week.(grin).

21 Jan 99 - 08:59 PM (#55131)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Joe Offer

Hi, Kate - I was wondering which murdered maiden song you were talking about? I found SUNCOOK TOWN TRAGEDY. I was expecting something humorous, but this one certainly isn't. Powerful song, though - it sent a chill down my spine.
I guess THE BROOKFIELD MURDER is not set in New Hampshire, but it's another very powerful song.
-Joe Offer-

21 Jan 99 - 11:06 PM (#55151)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Kate Riley

I did mean the murder in Suncook, NH. A creepy song but then the best murder songs should chill you. Is that the criterion for a good murder song? (She wasn't Le Page's first victim, either.)

22 Jan 99 - 09:49 PM (#55285)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: catspaw49

How about a song with a murder, not especially horrible, but a murder nonetheless. I'd like to submit "East Texas Red" as perhaps not the best murder song, but certainly at the top of the "don't get mad, get even" genre.catspaw

23 Jan 99 - 04:20 PM (#55374)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca

I don't know any version of The False Knight Upon The Road that involves a murder. Is there a version where the False Knight finally gets fed up and murders the annoying, know-it-all little boy?

There is The False Knight, but that's a different song and she really doesn't murder the false knight because she is acting in self-defence.

23 Jan 99 - 06:08 PM (#55391)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Philippa

see above message

I meant False Lover John

He gets her to sneak off with him with her inheritence (or wealth she TOOK from her parents) and then tries to drown her,telling her he's already done the same to other gullible women, but she tricks him and he goes in the river instead.
Lie there, lie there, you false young man
Lie there instead of me,
It's six pretty maidens you have drowned here
Go keep them all good company.

These songs were the soap operas of their day. It's not the gore I like, but the intrigue and the tales of relationships! (nd the tunes)

24 Jan 99 - 03:17 PM (#55487)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Henrik W.


Check out Nick Cave's "Murder Ballads" album if violent and brutal death is what you are after...



24 Jan 99 - 04:30 PM (#55496)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Dan Keding

I've always been partial to murder ballads. Sometimes I could kill off several dozen people in one set - if I added a song about war that toll could easily mount into the tens of thousands. The Death of Young Andrew is a particularly gory end. As afr as folktales go Mr. Fox is hard to beat - I've collected at least six different gruesome endings. I do think that these are important songs if only to remind us of the cruelty we can inflict and the need to strive beyond that action. But they are also great songs to sing. Dan

24 Jan 99 - 06:38 PM (#55510)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Allan S.

Love a good murder ballad. Those who know me my motto is "The higher the body count the better the song. Out did my self. did the Titanic last time. An old camp song the kids love it. especally the verse that ends "Uncles and aunts little children peeded their pants it was sad when that great ship went down. Seriously THe old murder ballads were the newspapers of years ago. And I think death in a family was more common 100 years ago. Before modern medicine 1 out of 4 children died before their first year. My gmother had 7 ch. and 5 survived. Im the civil war more Americans died whan were killed in WW 1&2 korea and Nam. An old friend had a gg Grandmother who was a mid wife in a very rual area and said it was common to give Iodine to seriously deformed child at birth. In parts of europe it was commonto put a 5 or 6 year old out of the house to fend for it self. THey simpily did not have enough to feed the child. In England young boys went to sea at the age of 8 Also 200 years ago there was a different concept of heaven. and God than the one that is PC today I think it made death easier to deal with if one believed in an after life Were they correct?? who is right? Oh yes the ancient Hebrew in the old testiment does not say "You shall not kill" It translates as "you shall not murder" I leave you with a quote "There are things which the human mind has the capicity to grasp and there are things which the mind in no way can fathom." Maimonides Heavy Stuff

24 Jan 99 - 07:29 PM (#55521)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca

The one you put as False Lover John is similar to the one I have heard as The False Knight (not The False Knight On The Road.) It goes by another name too -- there is something about a cat and a parrot named Polly in it.

Again, I don't think its murder, but self-defence, because otherwise he would have tossed her in the drink like the rest of his women. Rather like the old man in Marrowbones (aka Old Woman From Wexford/Mabou) who catches wind of his wife's plan to murder him and drowns her instead.

I think The Flower of Serving Men starts off with a murder by the mother, although the daughter doesn't seem to get any revenge by the end of the song.

24 Jan 99 - 09:22 PM (#55545)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Susan of DT

Tim Jaques - In some versions, such as the one we have called Famous Flower of Serving Men, the mother is burned at the stake. See #106 for the 3 versions.

Joe - How many songs do you want to sing where it was a lovely day and nothing happened? The categories reflect groups of songs that someone might wish to look for as a group. There ARE lots of songs where someone is murdered. If you don't like songs about murder, chose other songs to sing.

25 Jan 99 - 05:20 AM (#55585)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Joe Offer

Aw, Susan, I'm just teasing....
I'm quite pleased to see so many songs on the topic. This thread has helped me discover an number of good songs I hadn't been aware of. A couple were more powerful than I had expected to find, and they hit me like a ton of bricks. Good stuff - they really conveyed the impact of what happened.
-Joe Offer-

25 Jan 99 - 09:33 AM (#55608)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Philippa

Tim Jacques - I class the false knight/ false lover John song as a murder ballad because He was going to murder Polly.

John Lewis treated " 'Omie Wise" in a similar fashion

I see mention of "There was an old woman who lived in the wood, weela weela waile..." (infanticide song)in the "Dark Irish Kids" thread, but I don't feel like typing out the words just now, even though I know them. The adult versions are best known as "Down by the Greenwood Side" or "The Cruel Mother" (the latter title appears in the DT).

25 Jan 99 - 02:17 PM (#55640)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Barry Finn

Try out Long Lankin, Child #93, there's a few versions in the DT. Very nice one on blood & gore. Barry

26 Jan 99 - 06:05 AM (#55713)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Philippa

on consideration, there are significnt differences between the behaviour of False Lover John and John Lewis. They both enticed women with promises of marriage, but the real intention of murdering them. John#1's motive was to gain riches from Polly. John Lewis on the other hand seduced 'Omie Wise with a promise of riches: ...he promised her jewels and other fine things...
He brought her no jewels
But he flattered the case
We'll go and get married
'Twill be no disgrace
...but that offer apparently was only to get his way with her
John Lewis, John Lewis, tell me what is your mind
My mind is to drown you and leave you behind
The strange twist in the first tale, is that the wicked false John who has alredy drowned six women, respects Polly's modesty. He demands her silken gown "for I do think your clothing is too fine/For to rot in the salt salt sea", but agress to turn his back while she undresses (Polly says, "For I do think it a very great shame a naked woman to see"), whereupon the sly Polly pushes HIM into the see (a bit like Eggs and Marrowbones/Old Woman of Wexford).

see what I mean about plot and intrigue? take a look at Gill Morice in the database!

Barbara:(re your 21 Jan message) Off hand, I can think of two songs about dead cats and four about dead birds.

26 Jan 99 - 07:06 PM (#55808)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca

In the version I know Polly is the parrot, who doesn't really serve any purpose except to squawk at the cat.

We have forgotten that old chestnut, Staggerlee. (See former thread on the subject where a link was given to about a hundred different recordings of versions of this song.)

There is also a song that runs through my head but I can't think of the title -- "In Worchester City there lived a damsel" etc, and the lover poisons himself and her, with the last line, "Young men beware of jealousy".

IIRC, in The Lily of The West there is mention of a dagger piercing a breast.

Does Barbara Allen count, to murder someone by breaking his heart?

Maddy Groves, too, with the enraged Lord Arnold getting wounded sore before he finishes off little Maddy, who presumably was fighting buck naked given where he had been and what he had been doing just a moment before. (Lord Arnold says he would not slay an unarmed man, not a naked man.)

Ballad of Jesse James must count.

27 Jan 99 - 09:42 AM (#55920)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: RWilhelm

American murder songs are usually not as well plotted but here are some I like: "Duncan and Brady", "Betty and Dupree", "The Banks of the Ohio", "Bill Martin and Ella Speed", "White House Blues" (if you include assassination.)

27 Jan 99 - 10:46 AM (#55925)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Steve Parkes

Sarah Grey has a US version of Mathy Groves (I think) where Lord Darnell, having bumped off MG with his sword, sees off Lady D with his Police Special! The sneaky little page was none other than Robert Ford!

There's an excellent Black Country version of the song, set in Dudley. To my shame, I can't remember the name of the man who wrote it. The two men have at each other in good ol' (Teddy-)boy style with bicycle chains:

It's true as I've got two bike chains
I got 'em off me mate;
But yo' can 'ave the 'alf-inch,
An' I'll 'ave the three-eight!

If anyone can tell me the rest, I'll be dead chuffed. I think this song & its variants deserve a thread to themselves (there probably is one, I haven't looked).


27 Jan 99 - 05:17 PM (#55974)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Philippa

how about "I don't like Mondays?" (Bob Geldorf, Boomtown Rats)

What other newly composed songs have we got which report or comment on real 'orrible murders? (I'm thinking of the likes of Dunblane, not of killings by the state and armies -the latter being the subject of many protest songs)

27 Jan 99 - 10:15 PM (#56021)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Sandy Paton

I collected a version of "Matthy Groves" from Joseph Able Trivett in Butler, Tennessee, back in 1961. Abe was 82 years old and had worked his mountain farm and done local logging all of his life. In his version, after the Lord has successfully disposed of the interloper, he does NOT "cut off her head with his glittering sword and kick it against the wall," as is so often the case, and which so often draws giggles from an uninitiated audience. Instead, Abe sang:

He took his wife by the lily-white hand,
He led her through the hall.
He snapped his pistol to her breast;
She fell by a fatal ball, ball,
She fell by a fatal ball.

By the way, there is some discussion earlier in this thread about "Lady Isabel and the Elfin Knight." I don't have my books up here, but I think that's Child #4 (corrections will be welcome), and, while our fair lady may not be guilty of murder in that she is merely protecting herself by tossing the threatening villain into the sea (self-defense plea), the ballad certainly qualifies as a murder ballad, since he declares that he has drowned "six pretty maidens" before this chapter of the tale begins. Well, don't murders such as these often occur off-stage in our dramatic literature?


02 Feb 99 - 09:01 AM (#56834)

Here's three more - funny, sad and gruesome. - Susanne

THE IRISH BALLAD (Tom Lehrer) is in the DT.

[1960:] Now I'd like to turn to the folk song, which has become in recent years the particularly fashionable form of idiocy among the self- styled intellectual. We find that people who deplore the level of current popular songs [...] yet will sit around enthralled singing "Jimmy crack corn and I don't care" or "Green Grow The Rushes, Oh!" - whatever that means. At any rate, for this elite I have here an ancient Irish ballad, which was written a few years ago, and which is replete with all the accoutrements of this art form. In particular, it has a sort of idiotic refrain, in this case "rickety- tickety- tin" you'll notice cropping up from time to time, running through, I might add, interminable verses - the large number of verses being a feature expressly designed to please the true devotees of the folk song who seem to find singing fifty verses of "On Top Of Old Smoky" is twice as enjoyable as singing twenty- five.

This type of song also has what is known technically in music as a modal tune, which means - for the benefit of any layman who may have wandered in this evening - that I play a wrong note every now and then. I think you'll notice that.

This song though does differ strikingly from the genuine folk ballad in that in this song the words which are supposed to rhyme - actually do.

I, ah, I really should say that - I do not direct these remarks against the vast army of folk song lovers, but merely against that peculiar hard core who seem to equate authenticity with artistic merit and illiteracy with charm.

Oh - one more thing. One of the more important aspects of public folk singing is audience participation, and this happens to be a good song for group singing. So if any of you feel like joining in with me on this song, I'd appreciate it if you would leave - right now. (Intro 'Tom Lehrer Revisited')

[1989:] Dennis Nilsen, a former policeman and a bespectacled Job Centre employee, was Britain's worst mass killer up to [1983], but he couldn't tell a lie. Killing came naturally, but lying did not. (Michael Prince, Murderous Places)

(James Simmons)

The Sperrins surround it, the Faughan flows by
At each end of Main Street the hills and the sky
The small town of Claudy at ease in the sun
Last July in the morning, a new day begun

How peaceful and pretty, if the moment could stop
McIlhenny is straightening things in his shop
His wife is outside serving petrol and then
A child takes a cloth to a big window-pane

And McCloskey is taking the weight off his feet
McClelland and Miller are sweeping the street
Delivering milk at the Beaufort Hotel
Young Temple's enjoying his first job quite well

And Mrs. McLaughlin is scrubbing her floor
Artie Hone's crossing the street to a door
Mrs. Brown, looking around for her cat
Goes off up an entry, what's strange about that

Not much, but before she comes back to the road
The strange car parked outside her house will explode
And all of the people I've mentioned outside
Will be waiting to die or already have died

An explosion too loud for your eardrums to bear
Young children squealing like pigs in the square
All faces chalk-white or streaked with bright red
And the glass, and the dust, and the terrible dead

For an old lady's legs are blown off, and the head
Of a man's hanging open, and still he's not dead
He is shrieking for mercy while his son stands and stares
And stares, and then suddenly - quick - disappears

And Christ, little Katherine Aiken is dead
Mrs. McLaughlin is pierced through the head
Meanwhile to Dungiven the killers have gone
And they're finding it hard to get through on the phone

Repeat 1


A boy to me was bound apprentice
Because his parents they were poor
So I took him from St. James's Workhouse
All for to sail on the Greenland shore

One day this poor boy he did annoy me
Nothing to him then did I say
But I rushed him to my frozen yard-arm
And I kept him there till the very next day

When his eyes and his teeth did hang towards me
With his hands and his feet bowed down likewise
And with a bloody iron bar I killed him
Because I wouldn't hear his cries

[1967:] Early in the nineteenth century, a whale skipper was charged in King's Lynn with the murder of an apprentice. A broadside ballad, in the form of a wordy gallows confession and good night, appeared, and in course of circulating round the East Anglian countryside it got pared down to the bone. The poet George Crabbe was interested in the case, and took it as a model for his verse-narrative of 'Peter Grimes', which subsequently formed the base of Britten's opera. The opera is in three acts. The same ground is covered in three verses by a song as bleak and keen as a harpoon head. (Notes A. L. Lloyd, 'Leviathan!')

02 Feb 99 - 11:11 AM (#56847)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!

"The Outlandish Knight," which is a version of Pretty Polly, has the parrot squawking a welcome to the maiden when she returns...she tries to hush him up so her parents don't find out about her escapades. Other muder ballads dear to my heart: "Frankie and Johnny," "Sheath and Knife," and, of course, "the Banks of the Ohio." I also vaguely remember hearing a Child ballad about a mother who "put her babe in a bottomless boat and pushed it out to sea." Does this ring any bells with anyone? I'd like to get the lyrics if possible.

02 Feb 99 - 07:26 PM (#56927)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca

I like your song about the bomb very much, and wish that such songs were sung more often in "celtic" pubs on this side of the Atlantic. Is it recorded?

02 Feb 99 - 08:01 PM (#56933)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Susan of DT

Mary Hamilton put her baby in a bottomless boat (Child #173), at least in some versions

08 Feb 99 - 11:30 AM (#57644)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: skw@worldmusic.de

Tim - were you talking to me? Sorry if this sounds rude,but I couldn't make it out, and also I fell ill on 3 Feb.
So, if it's 'Ballad of Claudy' you're asking about - I've only ever heard the song by James Simmons himself. It was played on a German programme about Northern Ireland ages ago from an album called, I think, 'The Rostrevor Sessions'. The Sands Family were on it as well, but I think it was too early for the Fiddler's Green Festival. I'll have to go home to find out more. Maybe you could ask the Sands about the song? - Susanne

28 Jun 06 - 08:32 PM (#1771574)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: The Fooles Troupe


28 Jun 06 - 09:57 PM (#1771651)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Muttley

I agree with Barry Finnabout "Long Lankin" - I was going to suggest it myself but thought I'd better read the thread through first. A great murder song.

How about these ones?

SIR JAMES THE ROSE- not only is there a murder (alluded to not described) But there is treachery and a nicely gruesome denouemont.

EDWIN - again, a nice gruesome murder with a final tragedy tossed in for good measure

and lastly

LITTLE SIR HUGH - a "traditional" story in several forms and tunes (though 'countessrichard' might argue the 'traditional' label). It is supposed to have been inspired by the rumour which is said to have sparked the 'Massacre of Jews' in York and (specifically) Clifords Tower, York in (I think) the 14 or 1500's. Again a nice little song with gory details of a child being "Stabbed Like A Sheep....." and his body disposed of in a well after having been enticed inside by a Lady (the capital 'L' is deliberate).

I have all three above on album by "Steeleye Span", though I'm told there are other versions, sung by other artists as well. "Long Lankin" I have only heard done by "Steeleye" as well

However, two other points:

Phillippa - I'm not sure that "I Don't Like Monday's" is about murder, per se. It does contain the lines:
   And all the playing's stopped in the playground now
   She wants to play with her toys awhile
   And school's out early and soon we'll be learning
   And the lesson today is how to die"

That's the only reference, the song is more about a psychological / social breakdown than murder.

As for Earl - how could you suggest "Banks of the Ohio"? it's disgustingly mawkish and despite "Australia's Darling" Olivia Newton-John doing the most recognisable version it's still disgustingly mawkish and Olivia should have been shot herself before she allowed herself to record it. BTW - this is ONE Australian who does NOT think of her as "Our Livvie" or "Australia's Darling" - More like an Aussie version of John Denver, at least she doesn't WRITE the garbage she sings - pity she wasn't hitching a ride on his Ultra-light with him.


29 Jun 06 - 05:39 AM (#1771826)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Mr Fox

From an interview with Bob Geldof:-
"I wrote it in Atlanta about 20 minutes after I was doing a college interview and they were playing tracks and the telex machine was coming through with the news and I was just reading it, as the machine disgorged this stuff. And it said that this shooting was underway in California, this girl was in her house overlooking the playground of her school, shooting people. This journalist had called her in the house, in the room where she was and asked her, firstly, was there any particular person she was shooting and she said, "No." And he said, "Well how are you choosing who to shoot?"

She said, "I don't really like the people in the blue jackets, so I'm shooting them first." Then he said, "Well why are you doing it?" She paused momentarily and replied, "Because I don't like Mondays."

29 Jun 06 - 07:42 AM (#1771898)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Muttley

WOW - I never knew that.

Puts a whole new perspective on it, hey?

I'll have to read through the words again with that tale in mind, again - - - - WOW!


29 Jun 06 - 11:11 AM (#1772033)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Mr Fox

There was programme about the shooter on (British) TV not long ago. Apparently, she's up for parole.

Going back to 'Banks of the Ohio', my favourite version is by Snakefarm - if you haven't heard it, it's sort of technofolk.

29 Jun 06 - 11:18 AM (#1772037)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!

"Edward", "The Two Brothers", "Lucy Wan", "On The Banks of Red Roses", "Oxford Girl"/"Knoxville Girl", "Young Edwin in the Lowlands Low", "The Bonny Hind", "Clerk Colven", "Polly Vaughan" (accidental slaying), etc...

29 Jun 06 - 11:25 AM (#1772040)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Les from Hull

29 Jun 06 - 11:27 AM (#1772043)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Les from Hull

Muttley - you're probably getting a bit mixed up in your massacres of Jews.

Sir Hugh

30 Jun 06 - 07:46 AM (#1772629)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: kendall

Someone once observed that if the girl is still alive at the end of the song, it aint folk music.

30 Jun 06 - 08:20 AM (#1772662)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: The Fooles Troupe

... or the train driver, kendall...

01 Jul 06 - 12:24 AM (#1773271)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Muttley

Les from Hull

Yes, I knew of the Lincoln connection, but apparently the song has claimants from other places as well including one I recall (can't remember WHERE I read it) from Scotland - as the originating story behind the song. However, the York connection was reiterated to us by a guide when we were there last year and backed up my reading behind the tale.

It was said that one of the catalysts for the 'Massacre of Jews' in York was, in fact, the murder of a child "possibly of noble / minor noble birth' by a Jewish woman of high social standing - possibly the wife of a merchant.

I don't recall the full story of the massacre without looking it up but i do know that a couple of hundred (more? less?) saught refuge and holed up in Clifford's Tower and many elected to suicide rather than face the mob. Those that did were peremptorily murdered.


11 Jul 06 - 08:53 PM (#1781438)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Muttley

The murder of the Jews in York occurred in 1190.

In a quote from a guide book for Clifford's Tower"

"Life for Jewish groups in England was punctuated by outbreaks of religious attacks, usually prompted by false accusations of ritual murder."

This is a basis behind the "Little Sir Hugh" tale as the murder by the "Lady in Green" was an example of that very ritual murder.

"The death of their (the Jews of England) protector Henry II in 1189 and the coronation of the crusader king Richard I, led to a propaganda not only against the Moslem 'pagan' but against the internal Jewish 'infidel'. An anti-Jewish riot broke out on the coronation day and the London Jewish Quarter was set alight with the loss of at least 30 lives. Benedict of York (a Jewish usurer) was injured in the riot and died in Northampton on his journey home. The London riot was repeated in Kings Lynn and Norwich in Februaru 1190. York repeated the same pattern early in March."

The York riot began with the killing of Benedict's widow and children and the looting of their home. Jewish leaders then sought Royal Protection within York Castle - they barricaded themselves in the central keep - later rebuilt in stone and even later named Clifford's Tower. The rioting lasted several days and the Jews, terrified, even refused entry to the tower by the Constable of the Castle fearing he's turn them over to the Sheriff and his armed retainers. Finally on the eve of Passover, Rabbi Yomtob called on the beseiged Jews to follow the example of the Jews of Masada 1100 years earlier in AD74 and suicide. The mass suicide was accompanied by a fire which burned the keep to the ground cremating the Jews so their bodies could not be dismembered and desecrated. A few survivors surreb=ndered on the promise of "Christian Baptism" but were seized upon by the mob and and massacred anyway. In all 150 Jews died on that day: Friday, March 16, 1190.

The constant thread in all these massacres was the ritual murder - especially of a noted / fair / noble child - in the city by (generally) a Jewish woman. It was this thread which was most commonly used to light the fuse and incite riot.

It appears Richard even condoned the acts covertly as he was apparently VERY anti-Semitic. A feeling which may have run through the entire Plantagenet line as his descendant Edward I (Longshanks) actually signed the "Statute of Jewry" in 1275 and then went a step further by ordering ". . . all the Jews of our kingdom . . ." leave the country in ". . perpetual exile . ." in 1290 - exactly 100 years after the massacre in York.

So NO I am NOT confused about the massacres of Jews or mixed up. Lincoln WAS traditionally the prime originator of the story - but there are other claimants to the story as well: York among them. As I said - my reading has been backed up by a tour guide from York who directed us around the place while we were there last year.


12 Jul 06 - 03:44 AM (#1781584)
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
From: Big Al Whittle

Ralph McTell's Bentley and Craig.

Incidentally this week, Somerfield are selling the dvd of Let Him Have It - the Christopher Eccleston film about the case for 99p.