The Wandering Jew's Chronicle

About this archive

This site is devoted to The Wandering Jew's Chronicle, an unusual English popular ballad printed between 1634 and 1830 in numerous different formats and editions, copies of which are now extremely rare and hard to access. The site aspires to be a complete reference source for the ballad's remarkable history and to act as a guide for the study and editing of early printed ballads in general. It provides images and transcriptions of almost all extant editions of the ballad; tools for comparing both the ballad's illustrations and its texts; a bibliography; and a textual history that puts the ballad into context. Future updates will add images and transcriptions of more copies of the ballad and further commentaries.

How to use this site

This site has several sections: this is the About section.

The Text

The Text section has two modes: Single, in which an image and transcription of one ballad may be viewed, and Multiple, in which transcriptions of several ballads may be viewed at once. Ballad images may also be viewed in Multiple mode by selecting the image icon in the top-right of each column. Users can select part or whole of a line to see how that part of the text is given in each copy, and therefore how it changes over time.

Ballads may be selected in either mode through the navigation on the left-hand side, rendered either as a text List, listing the names and shelfmarks of the original items, ar as Thumb images. The 'Bibliographic info' button displays more information about each copys's provenance, along with its full title, tune, licence and imprint. A more detailed Bibliography listing all known copies of the ballad is given in the About section.


Most copies of the ballad include woodblock-printed illustrations representing English monarchs: select a ballad and monarch to display an illustration. Users can adjust the opacity of the image with the slider: more than one image can then be overlaid. This will show whether illustrations were printed from the same block or from a copy.


The Bibliography lists and locates all surviving copies of the ballad (the Editor would be very interested to hear about the existence of other, unknown copies). Future updates will add more information about the provenance (i.e. the history of ownership) of copies as they were bought and sold, in their time and afterwards.

Textual History

The Textual History sets out the distinctive pattern of continuity and change between editions of the ballad, situating it within the context of the development of the ballad trade and some key moments in British history.