—— folk family and jam

Tim Evans

Tim Evans was a prisoner,
Fast in his prison cell
And those who read about his crimes,
They damned his soul to hell,
   Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

For the murder of his own true wife
And the killing of his child
The jury found him guilty
And the hangin' judge, he smiled.
   Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

The governor he came in one day
And the chaplain by his side,
Said, "Your appeal has been turned down,
Prepare yourself to die."
   Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

They moved him out at 7 o'clock
To his final prison cell,
And the screws who slammed that prison door
damned his soul to hell.
   Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

Tim Evans walked in the prison yard
And the screws, they walked behind;
And he saw the sky above the wall
But he knew no peace of mind.
   Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

They came for him at eight o'clock
And the chaplain read a prayer
And then they marched him to that place
Where the hangman did prepare.
   Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

The rope was fixed around his neck
And a buckle behind his ear.
The prison bell was tolling
But Tim Evans did not hear.
   Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

A thousand lags were cursing
And a-banging on the doors;
But Evans couldn't hear them,
He was deaf for ever more.
   Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

They sent Tim Evans to the drop
For a crime he did not do.
It was Christy was the murderer
And the judge and jury too.
   Sayin', "Go down, you murderers, go down."

 I think this is one I got from Tom.  He sang it at any rate.

It's a long story; but based on fact.  Tim Evans was probably not all that bright, and apparently admitted to killing his wife and child in his first statement to the police, later changing this to protestations of innocence.  This contributed to him being convicted of the murder of his daughter, and being hanged in 1950. 
However there is no doubt that the proceedings were reprehensibly far from thorough, and that Tim Evans should not have been convicted on the evidence presented, and especially in view of the evidence that was not presented there was a patent miscarriage of justice. 
Later it became clear that Christie had murdered not only his own wife, Time Evans' wife and child, but also a number of others.  Tim Evans was pardoned posthumously, disinterred and buried outside the prison.  As if that did him much good.  But at least the mistake was admitted.
Ewan MacColl wrote the ballad in the 50's, before his (Evans') restitution.

The version I sing is somewhat shorter (and somewhat different) from the original version.  I don't feel bad about it.

Ewan MacColl (whose name was originally Jimmie Miller) had a colourful career.  In the Communist party, deserted from the Army, married to Joan Littlewood and cooperating with her theatre workshop projects - later left her and the theatre and married again and on the side had a long affair with Peggy Seeger (sister of Pete) gettting more and more into folk songs.  He wrote songs (Shoals of Herrin, Dirty Old Town, The First time ever I Saw your face - hear the Roberta Flack version from 1972) and together with A.L.Lloyd collected ballads and folk songs, and recorded them - amongst others an 8-LP collection of Child's ballads.  And a record of Barrack Room Ballads from which come, for instance Royal Arsenal, When this ruddy war is over, 7 years in the sand and Ghost Army of Korea.  One of the pillars of the folk revival besides many other things. 
He had a characteristic pose when singing.  Sitting backwards on a chair, eyes closed and resting an elbow on the chair back so that he could keep a hand over one ear.