Frank Turner’s “English Curse” Lyrics Meaning

The lyrics of “English Curse” find Frank Turner describing an old legend about King William, his ascension to the throne and how he ravaged lands after his victory.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Frank Turner's English Curse at

The first three verses of the song narrate how the former Duke of Normandy took over the throne from King Harold. As insinuated in the story, he was not content with his victory, but greedily destroyed the lands of the hardworking people of England. As a result, a curse was placed on him by the people, symbolized by a hardworking man named John, leading to the death of his son William Rufus, who succeeded his father to become King William II.

Inspiration behind “English Curse”

Frank Turner in an interview with the blog, Drankin’ and Smokin’ explained that he grew up near New Forest and found inspiration for this song through reading local folklore, particularly the story titled “The Blacksmith’s Curse” on the death of King William II. The song was written and released on June 6, 2011 as the sixth track off his 2011 album, England Keep My Bones.

How King William II Died

Though it is known that the king was killed from an arrow which was shot through his lungs, what remains a mystery till now is the one behind the murder. William II was killed in August 1100 when he went hunting in a forest believed to be close to Brockenhurst. Different sources have given their own accounts of how he was murdered. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the king was murdered by a member of his entourage. Further reports have also cited Walter Tirel, a nobleman, as the murderer, though other descriptions are yet to confirm that. His lifeless body was abandoned in the forest where he was killed until he was found by a peasant.

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