I have previously discussed the ballad Francis Winter’s Last Farewell, an account of the execution of Captain Winter, condemned to hang for his part in the death of a constable during a riot against the bricking up of a gate connecting the Temple to Whitefriars.
Here, I present a different ballad of the same title, one that I only recently found in the wonderful English Broadside Ballad Archive. Unlike the first Farewell, this song is decidedly uncontroversial and sparse of detail, giving no account of the crime for which he was hanged. The sentiment is overly religious, and gives the impression of being a boilerplate narrative of repentance that could be easily adapted for any execution. That said, having looked for similar versions turned to other victims of the gallows, I’ve found nothing recycling these lines.
What is of interest is that it is the only source on Winter I’ve found that refers to the Captain being married and having children. No other document I’ve found mentions his marital status or family.
There is, however, in the Whitefriars listings for the 4 Shilling tax of 1693/4, an entry for Winter (Widow), who has property worth £3.60, rental value £18, but no stock. The value of the house is average for the precinct. This could be his widow. Some support is given to this theory by the Examination of Francis Winter of March 1692, where he claimed to have been “at his owne house” at the time of the riot. (The transcription gives “at this owne house” but the manuscript clearly lacks the leading ‘t’.) This implies he was a property owner: it doesn’t say ‘in his own rooms’ as if he were renting. This house would presumably have been inherited by his wife. Against this, the Ordinary of Newgate’s Account has Winter “Contract[ing] some Debts in the World, which occasioned him to fly for Refuge into White Fryers”, giving him more of a desperate air.
As a footnote to this, another collection suggests that there is further ballad of Captain Winter, but it appears to confuse him with the highwayman Captain Whitney, executed around the same time: “A Letter to Satisfie all Persons that Whitney is not fled from Newgate.” So here is the Captain Winter’s final final farewell. I have modernised the spelling of the text and fixed a typo. Sing along: EBBA have provided a recording putting the words to the tune.
An Excellent New Song, Call’d,
Captain Winters last Farewell
To the WORLD;
Or His Mournful parting with His Wife and Children,
Who was Executed in Fleetstreet, May 17th 1693.
Tune of, All Happy Times:
Good People that do see my End,
Be cautious how your Time you spend
Without a watchful Care each day,
The best that is may go astray.
‘Tis true a shameful Death I die
For which some will me vilify,
But why should I ashamed be
Since my dear Savior died for me.
I beg all mercy from above,
The joyful peace of Heavenly Love,
As for this Life I freely give,
And beg God would my Soul receive,
Adieu my dear and loving Wife,
For now I must depart this Life;
The Fates does call, I can’t withstand,
Grim Death, who once will all Command.
But still my Prayers is for you Dear,
That you would this with Patience bear;
Be not cast down, but be content,
Altho Death is my Punishment.
My next advice to thee my Love,
Is that thou servest thy God above,
And then I doubt not but he will
Preserve thee from all danger still.
My little Lambs I bid adieu,
And leave the Charge of them to you;
Such tender Care I know you’ll take,
That shall be for the Childrens Sake.
I am concern’d the more my dear
Because a Child thee now dost bear,
Therefore thy sorrow is the more
But God I hope will thee Restore.
Farewell, for evermore adieu
This is the last farewell to you,
When thou a Widow once shall be
I hope the Lord will cherish thee.
I hope I shant forget the Prayer
Which God in Mercy did declare,
That all the World would me forgive
As I do them whilst here I live.
I dye with all the World in Peace,
And hope that when my Breath doth cease
My Soul may unto Heaven fly,
And there remain Eternally.
My Spirit Lord I recommend
Unto my Saviour, Man’s best friend
I come O Lord, I come to Thee,
O grant me blest Eternity.
Printed and Sold by T. Moore. 1693.