The Ballad of Alice Stokes


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The Ballad of Alice Stokes is an art song from the Cracked Voices song cycle, set for soprano, bass clarinet and piano written by Graham Palmer and Jenni Pinnock.

Programme note
On 4 August 1604 Christina and Alice Stokes were hanged at Hertford. Terrified and almost certainly tortured, they had confessed to being witches.

King James of Scotland had come to the English throne only three years earlier. On his journey south he had stopped in Royston and taken note of the good hunting to be had on the extensive heathlands. This was a man who was fascinated with witchcraft. He quickly established a bachelor pad on Kneesworth Street and visited often. What could be better for the town’s fuddle-caps and maltworms (drunken menfolk) than to serve him up with two of Royston’s most troublesome women to hang?