“Saint Stephen and Herod”


Stephen sees the star of Bethlehem, and tells his master King Herod that he can no longer serve him because he must serve the better child in Bedlam. Herod says that the roasted cock will sooner crow. It does crow, and Herod has Stephen stoned.


For the stoning of Stephen (c. 30-31 C.E.) see Acts 7:54-8:2 (note that Herod had been dead for more than thirty years when Stephen was killed!).

For the birth of Jesus in the time of Herod (probably 6 B.C.E) see Matt. 1:18-2:23, Luke 1:5f.

For the cruelty of Herod, see also Josephus, Antiquities (the end of Herod's life is the primary theme of Josephus's book XVII, detailing, e.g., the executions of several of Herod's sons and the mass slaughter he planned to follow his death).

The only recent find of this, and the only version with a tune, is the version Flanders collected from George Edwards; she speculates that his source (his grandfather) may have learned it from print. - RBW

Historical references

  • 4 B.C.E. - Death of Herod the Great
  • (not before) 30 C.E. - Death of Stephen

Cross references


  1. Child 22, "St Stephen and Herod" (1 text)
  2. Bronson 22, "St Stephen and Herod" (1 version)
  3. Flanders/Olney, pp. 217-218, "St. Stephen and Herod" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's (#1)}
  4. Flanders-Ancient1, pp. 239-241, "St. Stephen and Herod" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's (#1)}
  5. Leach, pp. 107-108, "St. Stephen and Herod" (1 text)
  6. OBB 98, "St. Stephen and King Herod" (1 text)
  7. PBB 1, "Saint Stephen and Herod" (1 text)
  8. Gummere, pp. 295-296+362, "St. Stephen and Herod" (1 text)
  9. DT 22, STPHEROD*
  10. ADDITIONAL: Walter de la Mare, _Come Hither_, revised edition, 1928; #255, "ACarol for Saint Stephen's Day" (1 text)
  11. Roud #3963
  12. BI, C022


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1856, from ms of c. 1430 ( (British Museum -- Sloane MS. 2593)
Found in: US(NE)