Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Drawing and quartering
"Drawing and quartering was part of the penalty anciently ordained in England for treason. It is the epitome of "cruel and unusal" punishment and was reserved for traitors because treason was deemed more heinous than murder and other capital crimes.
"Until 1870 the full punishment for the crime was that the culprit be dragged on a hurdle to the place of execution; that he be hanged by the neck but not until he was dead; that he should be disembowelled and his entrails burned before his eyes; that his head be cut off and his body divided into four parts (quartered). Women were generally burned at the stake rather than being subjected to this punishment. There is confusion among modern historians about whether "drawing" referred to the dragging to the place of execution or the disembowelling. "
"As a form of judicial execution, hanging in England is thought to date from the Saxon period, c. 400 AD, although it had earlier been used in the Persian Empire. British hangmen are recorded from Thomas de Warblynton in the 1360s, with complete records from the 1500s to the last hangmen, Robert Leslie Stewart and Harry Allen who conducted the last British executions in 1964.
"Early methods of hanging simply involved a slip knot on a rope placed around the victim's neck, with the loose end thrown or tied to a tree branch; the criminal was then drawn up and slowly strangled. Early refinements were to make the culprit climb a ladder or stand in a cart which was subsequently removed.... As the number of executions increased, the tree was replaced by a purpose-built gallows which usually comprised of two posts joined by a crossbeam -- virtually every major town and city in Britain had its own gallows.
"Until 1808 the death penalty was inflicted in England for some 200 offences, including:
* being in the company of gypsies for one month, * vagrancy for soldiers and sailors, * "strong evidence of malice" in children aged 7-14 years old.
"Between 1832 and 1834 Parliament abolished the death penalty for:
* shoplifting goods worth five shillings or less, * returning from Transportation, * letter-stealing, and * sacrilege. "
Tyburn gallows = http://www.motco.com/Map/81002/SeriesSearchPlat...
The link above shows the location of Tyburn gallows, which was the main execution site in London and was at the end of Oxford Street roughly where Marble Arch is now.
If you look at the little drawing you will see that the Gallows was triangular, enabling up to thirty felons to be hanged simultaneously.
Tyburn Tree and Public Execution in Early Modern England
On the figure of Tyburn Tree this site hangs a collection of links to 17-18c resources on a topic that runs its twisted course down to public lynchings and internet beheadings.
[Link updated from http://www.evergreen.loyola.edu/~cmitchell/ on 26 May 2009. P.G.]
Hanging at Tyburn, c.1700 Attributed to Marcellus Laroon IIhttp://www.kipar.org/period-galleries/engraving...
Justice and Discipline in Tangier and throughout the British Army http://www.kipar.org/military-history/kirkes_di...
"In Tangier the courts martial from 1663-1669 awarded six sentences of death for acts of neglect on sentry duty, insubordination and violence to superiors. In five cases execution was by shooting, and in one by hanging. There were seven sentences of death for desertion and theft from comrades, all carried out by the less honourable method of hanging, which was also awarded for rape, acting as a spy, and unauthorised plunder....
[The sentence "for being asleep upon the centinels post" was] "to be whipt by the Executioner forward and backward through the Parade drawne in two ranks, his lashes soundly laid on" (the same punishment was awarded for the same crime in the Roman Legions)."
"Soldier Running the Gauntlet, 1695. (French) This was the usual punishment for stealing from fellow-soldiers. While exemplary punishment could be extremely severe, harsh practices such as floggings were considered 'inhumane' as normal punishment. Engraving after Guérard." http://www.kipar.org/military-history/military/...
See the link below, and several others if you Google "Halifax Gibbet", for an unusual provincial mode of public execution in England, only a few years before the time of Pepys' Diary.
Charlie Mitchell’s “Public Execution in Early Modern England” has for several years been the best internet site on the subject.
Paul Dyson noted "an unusual provincial mode of public execution in England, only a few years before the time of Pepys’ Diary."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halifax_Gibbet
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