Mad Martins

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At the Assizes



Hark! how the watchman cries;
Oh, attend unto that sound:
Hark! the judge struggling through the crowd;
They'll have the poor man down.

And hark! the incessant tumult,
Rising with each pounding beat;
Of the arrivals of spectators,
And their struggles to get seats.

Hark at me, at the assizes!
I fear no bill and no surprises:
Hark at them, in all their guises!
They size me up, their tension rises.

A lady asks if I am sorry;
To her I say, no, not at all:
It may make them repent their ways;
If not, then they shall surely fall.

A gentleman asks if I am afraid;
To him I say, no, not at all:
As I stand here in the dock,
And laugh across the crowded hall.

Hark at me, with my brave heart!
I've made more noise than Bonaparte:
I stand assured, proud legs apart,
And wait for the old judge to start.

He asks if I wish for my trial to be removed,
To the County Assizes if I should approve;
From a city jury's prejudice,
Due to public restlessness:
But I am ready with my answer,
I fear not what is to come;
"I don't care where I am tried, sir;
The Lord's will be done.”

The clerk asks, will I pay the costs?
To him I say unflinchingly;
"I's a poor man, I's no money,
I's a poor man, yet I's willing.”

The judge asks if I am guilty
I say; “It was not me, my Lord;
But my God did it,
and on that I give my word.”

Now hark at me, outside the court!
The hissing crowd must have their sport:
I bow and smile in mild retort;
Next week to trial I shall be brought.

So, I say;
“Bring it on!  Bring it on! Bring it on!

Bring it on! Bring it on! Bring it on! Bring it on!

Bring it on!
Bring it on!”

(Lyrics: Gary Miller and adapted by Gary Miller from the words of Jonathan Martin / Music: Gary Miller)

© 2017 Whippet Records

Copyright Control MCPS/PRS


Recording Credits

Gary Miller - Vocals
Iain Petrie - Atmospheric Sound Effects


Martin Apprehended [printed poster], anon, 1829.
York: H. Bellerby, Gazette Office.

Jonathan Martin as he Appeared on his Trial, [engraving], anon.
In: Report of the Trial of Jonathan Martin, Baldwin and Cradock.


Additional Text

Meanwhile, Jonathan headed north-westwards, stopping first at Easingwold and then at Thirsk, selling copies of his ‘Life’ to buy bread and beer. He then took a room in Northallerton for the night. Next morning he hitched a lift on a coal-cart through Darlington to Flintoft Bank near West Auckland. From there he struck out across country on foot, spending a night at Allensford on the Derwent. The next day, after making two stops to buy ale, at Ridingmill and Corbridge, he finally reached his old refuge, the home of Edward Kell at Codlaw Hill, four miles from Hexham. He managed to spend two nights here until, on Friday February 6th, he was arrested by William Stanthorpe, an innkeeper and sheriff’s officer who had seen the advertisement in the ‘Newcastle Courant’.

Jonathan was kept for two nights in the house of correction at Hexham before his removal to York City Gaol to await trial.

On March 23rd, his trial opened at the Guildhall, used for crimes committed within the city, but his counsel argued that with a jury of local men a fair hearing could not be guaranteed. The case was then transferred to the county court and adjourned until March 26th.

"What is to happen? I may be acquitted. What then? I shall know that I am preserved for, and appointed to some greater work. God has yet something for me to do, and it will be done. Or they may find me guilty. They may be too blind to perceive the truth. I may be condemned to be hanged. What then? Sent to Heaven only a little the sooner. That, perhaps, may be God's purpose." (Jonathan Martin)


Jonathan Martin, The Incendiary, during his Confinement at the City Gaol, York [oil painting], R.W. Brown.