E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Like the saddler of Bawtry, who was hanged for leaving his liquor (Yorkshire proverb). It was customary fer criminals on their way to execution to stop at a certain tavern in York for a parting draught. The saddler of Bawtry refused to accept the liquor and was hanged. If he had stopped a few minutes at the tavern, his reprieve, which was on the road, would have arrived in time to save his life.