Jack Hall (song)

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Jack Hall is a traditional British folksong dating from 1707.


Jack Hall was a criminal who, as a young boy, was sold to a chimney sweep for a guinea. In later life he became a notorious highwayman. In 1707 he was arrested along with Stephen Bunce and Dick Low for a burglary committed at the house of Captain Guyon, near Stepney.[1] All three were convicted and hanged at Tyburn on December 7, 1707.[2] The song was made popular in the 1850s with the adaptation Sam Hall by English comic minstrel, C.W. Ross.[3] The melody was also used for the song called Captain Kidd, who was executed for piracy in London in 1701. Comparisons should also be made with the song about Admiral Benbow, who was wounded in action off the West Indies in 1702.[4]


Steeleye Span recorded Jack Hall on their album Tempted and Tried (1989). It was also released as B-side of the single The Fox (1990).[5]

The Group Sex Poets also recorded a slightly modified version of the song, which was re-interpreted by front man Sean Patrick McDonald in 2010 and released on their debut EP The Jack Hall EP (2011).

Sam Carter recorded Jack Hall on his 2012 album No Testament, with Sam Sweeney of the British folk group Bellowhead on violin. The duo also performed the song live on Jools Holland's Later program on 17th October 2012.


  1. ^ Half-Hours with the Highwaymen By Paul Hardy, Charles George Harper (page 116) ISBN 1-115-19985-4
  2. ^ "Jack Hall's entry from The Newgate Calendar 1700-1800". Pascal Bonenfant website. Retrieved March 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help); External link in |publisher= (help)
  3. ^ Lesley Nelson-Burns. "Jack Hall". Retrieved March 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help) sources: Cecil J. Sharp, ed. (1916). One Hundred English Folksongs. Boston: Oliver Ditson Company. 
  4. ^ David Kidd. "Captain Kidd Music: The History of the Melody". Retrieved January 2017.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  5. ^ Reinhard Zierke (23 January 2011). Jon Boden, ed. "Jack Hall / Sam Hall". Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music. Retrieved March 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

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