Wesley Fair

Jack Wright was hung for murder in a public execution at Durham Prison on 7th October, 1795. He was 19 years old. His accuser was Amanda Brindle, a beautiful gypsy woman who preyed on gullible young men like Jack and used them for her own means. Jack's real crime was falling in love. He was bewitched by Amanda after seeing her dance at a local fair. So much so that he left his farm labouring job to travel with her. Amanda convinced Jack that a deranged ex-lover was pursuing her and was intent on harming her. 


In fact, this man was one of her many husbands who she had robbed before running off to reunite with her fairground family. Bigamy and robbery were Amanda's modus operandi and she would often temporarily take strong, young lovers for protection from pursuing husbands. So it was with Jack. When Amanda's husband caught up with them, there was a fight and the husband was killed. Amanda accused Jack of murder and he was duly arrested, tried and convicted. She was never charged with any crime. She stood in the crowd and smiled as the execution bell rang and Jack was led from his cell to the gallows.


I recall as a free, young man I would visit Wesley Fair

And once on a bright, summer night I saw her dancing there

I was only a poor man's son and she was a Gypsy Queen

And far the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen

 

Peope came from miles around and paid just to watch her dance

I was only a face in the crowd but I somehow caught her glance

Hypnotised by her deep, blue eyes and her long, black, raven hair

Oh, I fell in love that night with the girl at Wesley Fair

 

Run while you can, boy, run

She wasn't meant for a poor man's son

Run while you can, boy, run

Listen to your heart and be gone

 

I had never been alive before till the joy that I knew that night

We made love in her caravan by in the flicker of the campfire light

Then she lay like a child in my arms and somehow turned so pale

And as I brushed a tear from her eye she told me her woeful tale

 

She was running from an evil man  who filled her heart with fear

He would surely put an end to her life if he came and he found her here

So bewitched and in love was I that I promised her then and there

That I'd fight the Devil that night if he came to Wesley Fair

 

Run while you can, boy, run

She wasn't meant for a poor man's son

Run while you can, boy, run

Listen to your heart and be gone

 

Now you find me in a prison cell, sentenced to lose my life

For the murder of an honest man who came to reclaim his wife

There's a lesson to be learned, my friend, better tread this way with care

And don't make the same mistake with the girl at Wesley Fair



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