Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Thursday, May 2, 2013


From an old broadsheet about the public execution of Francis Warne on December 28, 1864, for the murder of Amelia Blunt.  Blunt had the good judgment to leave Warne for another man, but the bad judgment to stay where he could later find her.

Broadsheets were hastily drafted and printed souvenir flyers sold at executions, detailing the gory crime or crimes committed by the soon-to-be hung.  Although prepared before the execution, they usually referred to the execution as a done deal.  Often they had a wood-cut drawing of the hanged body; sometimes -- as here -- they had a moral (and poorly-written) poem so the spectators can feel superior to the poor wretch at the end of the rope...And a good time was had by all, save one.

Come all good people far and near, and listen unto me,
While unto you I will unfold his dreadful tragedy:
Committed was by Francis Warne, or by "Teddy" better known,
He murdered poor Amelia Blunt at Chadwell Heath, near Romford town.

Together they had lived some time, and passed as man and wife
And poor Amelia, sad to say, with him lived a wretched life.
So dreadful he did abuse her that she always was in fear;
Amelia was a widow left with two children dear.

She left him and to service went, there comfort she had seen,
Unto the son in a few days more she would have married been
For the banns had been published at Dagenham church, garments bought for the bridal day,
Alas she was a washing, the villain came and took her life away.

To many he had boasted, her he did intend to kill,
He even to some neighbors said, "That woman's blood I'll spill."
Like a savage he approached her, she could not the murderer see,
For with a knife he came behind her, and did this tragedy.

Then at the Chelmsford assizes before the bar did stand,
And of murder was found guilty, by the laws of God and man,
The judge in passing sentence, these words to him did say,
For the murder of Amelia Blunt, you must at the gallows die.

My doom is fixed, oh, very quick draws high the fatal day,
When from every part of Essex, large numbers they will stray,
Unto the town of Chelmsford, there a dreadful sight to see,
The man for the murder on Chadwell Heath, die on the gallows tree.

The prison bell very often awakes me from my sleep,
And so think upon the gallows, I bitterly do weep;
And the prison clock that strikes so loud, the wheels round fast do fly,
And the fingers, as they onward move, points to eternity.

Come all you worthy Christians that come to see me die,
Pray do not laugh at my downfall, nor mock my destiny,
For little did my parents think when they [undecipherable]ed on their knee,
That they should rear a son to die on the gallows tree.

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