From the recording The Ballad of Emily Swann (mp3)

‘The Ballad Of Emily Swann’ is a true story about a lass from Wombwell, South Yorkshire, who was arrested and hanged in Leeds for the murder of her abusive husband. She was hanged along with her lover, John Gallagher, in 1903. The chorus is based on the last words they exchanged just before their deaths.

Written by Lewis 'Burner' Pugh. All instruments by Lewis except pedal steel by Steven Hicken Jr. and fiddle by Niles Krieger.



Emily Swann was a wife, from South Yorkshire she came
When her husband turned up dead she took all the blame,
The neighbours knew his ways and her face would often tell
Of the beating that he gave her, her life a living hell.

Good morning John, Good morning love,
Are we going below? Or to heaven above?
God bless you Johnny, and rest your soul,
Last time I'll see you is on this gallows pole.

The gallows took her life in nineteen hundred and three
She denied playing a part, but they judged her easily
Sentenced to the pole, in Leeds she was sent down
But it was Gallagher her protector who put Bill in the ground.

John Gallagher fled the scene, at his sisters he did hide
The bounty went out for his life, Wanted Dead or Alive
They tracked him down in 'Boro, dragged him back to Leeds
They left this plane together for the earthly deeds.