E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
When in doubt, kill Hopton. Sir Ralph Hopton was a Royalist general. During the Civil Wars we read that Hopton was killed over and over again; thus, in Diurnal Occurrences, Dec. 5th, 1642, we read, It was likewise this day reported that Sir Ralph Hopton is either dead or dangerously sicke. Five months later we read in Special Passages, May 6th, 1643, of Hoptons death after a fight on Roborough Down, in Devonshire. And again, May 15th, 1643, we read of his death in A True Relation of the Proceedings of the Cornish Forces.