Gibbet or Hanging in Chains

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jihfadiuh
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Gibbet or Hanging in Chains

Postby jihfadiuh » Tue 11 Oct, 2016 11:06 pm

I have been reading about executed murders being hung in chains or gibbetted as it was called, this lead me on a search of any known ones in or very close to leeds but have not found a thing.

Does anyone else know of any people being punished in this way? it also said people were put in still alive and left to either die of thirst or hunger.
volvojack
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Re: Gibbet or Hanging in Chains

Postby volvojack » Wed 12 Oct, 2016 7:00 am

I would have thought that Halifax was the nearest known place to Leeds, I am sure you find have an answer quite soon on this site.
jma
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Re: Gibbet or Hanging in Chains

Postby jma » Wed 12 Oct, 2016 9:38 am

volvojack wroteColonI would have thought that Halifax was the nearest known place to Leeds, I am sure you find have an answer quite soon on this site.


I believe that Halifax's version was known as the "Sharp Gibbet." It was a type of guillotine.

==============================================
PS Just found this

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halifax_Gibbet
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tilly
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Re: Gibbet or Hanging in Chains

Postby tilly » Wed 12 Oct, 2016 2:09 pm

I think the guillotine and the gibbet were both used in Halifax The blade for the guillotine used to be on display in the Piece Hall there is a copy of the gibbet on the hill above the town in the place were the original one once stood.There used to be a saying from Hell Hull and Halifax lord deliver us so Hull must have been a bad place as well in the past.
No matter were i end my days im an Hunslet lad with Hunslet ways.

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buffaloskinner
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Re: Gibbet or Hanging in Chains

Postby buffaloskinner » Wed 12 Oct, 2016 4:22 pm

From Wikipedia

The Halifax Gibbet was an early guillotine, or decapitating machine, used in the town of Halifax. It was probably installed during the 16th century as an alternative to beheading by axe or sword. Halifax was once part of the Manor of Wakefield, where ancient custom and law gave the Lord of the Manor the authority to execute summarily by decapitation any thief caught with stolen goods to the value of 13½d or more, or who confessed to having stolen goods of at least that value. Decapitation was a fairly common method of execution in England, but Halifax was unusual in two respects: it employed a guillotine-like machine that appears to have been unique in the country, and it continued to decapitate petty criminals until the mid-17th century.
The device consisted of an axe head fitted to the base of a heavy wooden block that ran in grooves between two 15-foot (4.6 m) tall uprights, mounted on a stone base about 4 feet (1.2 m) high. A rope attached to the block ran over a pulley, allowing it to be raised, after which the rope was secured by attaching it to a pin in the base. The block carrying the axe was then released either by withdrawing the pin or by cutting the rope once the prisoner was in place.
Almost 100 people were beheaded in Halifax between the first recorded execution in 1286 and the last in 1650, but as the date of the gibbet's installation is uncertain, it cannot be determined with any accuracy how many were dealt with by the Halifax Gibbet. By 1650 public opinion considered beheading to be an excessively severe punishment for petty theft; use of the gibbet was forbidden by Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, and the structure was dismantled. The stone base was rediscovered and preserved in about 1840, and a non-working replica was erected on the site in 1974. The names of 52 people known to have been beheaded by the device are listed on a nearby plaque.
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Is this the end of the story ...
or the beginning of a legend?
volvojack
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Re: Gibbet or Hanging in Chains

Postby volvojack » Wed 12 Oct, 2016 7:43 pm

Am I right in thinking that Halifax was the last place in England to hold public executions ?
I thought i read many years ago that the hangings were done down in the town and then their corpses or what remained were hung on show on a hill overlooking Halifax.
jihfadiuh
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Re: Gibbet or Hanging in Chains

Postby jihfadiuh » Wed 12 Oct, 2016 9:02 pm

Thats right Volvojack it is recorded of 2 people being for sure hung in chains on beacon hill overlooking the town after execution which also as the name suggests has an old beacon that would be lit should there be threat of attack and was rumoured that it was to be used should the Spanish invade with the armada. I'm not sure if it was the last place in England to hold public executions tho but I do know that with the gibbet if you were to escape before the blade came down and get across the boundary you were a free man so long as you don't return, again 2 people managed to do this but one returned around 7 years later and this time didn't escape, the other I'm not sure what happened I cant remember but there is a pub just up the road from where the gibbet replica is which is called the running man , so called due to the man running from the gibbet.

However the term gibbet I refer to is the act of hanging a corpse in a cage until the body rots and the bones fall the floor of an executed criminal, known as being hung in chains or gibbetting.

Taken from Wikipedia:

A gibbet is any instrument of public execution (including guillotine, executioner's block, impalement stake, hanging gallows, or related scaffold), but gibbeting refers to the use of a gallows-type structure from which the dead or dying bodies of executed criminals were hanged on public display to deter other existing or potential criminals. In earlier times up to the late 18th century, live gibbeting also took place in which the condemned was placed alive in a metal cage and left to die of thirst. The term gibbet may also be used to refer to the practice of placing a criminal on display within a gibbet. This practice is also called "hanging in chains".

I'm trying to find out if there has been someone hung on display in this way in Leeds, I have come across accounts of people from Leeds being punished like this but its usually done at the site of the murder itself and so those from Leeds who have being gibbetted have been gibbetted elsewhere and not in or around the city.
jma
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Re: Gibbet or Hanging in Chains

Postby jma » Wed 12 Oct, 2016 9:37 pm

The last public execution in England was in London in 1868

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Barrett_(Fenian)

There's this on Leodis about the only public execution at Armley Gaol (of two men.)

http://www.leodis.net/display.aspx?reso ... SPLAY=FULL

For anybody interested in that type of thing, I see the Leodis User comments include one from a former prison officer who has published a book about the prison. I suppose the fact that only one public execution took place at Armley doesn't mean there were not others elsewhere in Leeds in an earlier period but before the Industrial Revolution it was not such an important place. You might think that if there had been a site of public executions in Leeds it would be recorded somewhere, if only in the form of a street name, as seems to be the case elsewhere. The whole idea of displaying the bodies was to act as a deterrent, so it's hardly something that would pass unnoticed.

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buffaloskinner
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Re: Gibbet or Hanging in Chains

Postby buffaloskinner » Sun 16 Oct, 2016 10:09 am

In September 1864, the first, and final, public execution took place at Armley Gaol.

The two convicts, James Sargisson and Joseph Myers, had both been found guilty of murder. Joseph Myers had tried to commit suicide by slitting his throat, but "surgical skill" was used to save him for his "just" end.
The reporters of the Leeds Mercury newspaper were at the tragic scene and described the events in vivid detail.

"The preparations at the prison for the execution were completed on Saturday morning and ample provision was made for the preservation of order among the crowd which, even on the previous night, began to occupy the field in front of the gaol and the road which leads up to it's gate. The scaffold had been erected during the day, but it was not until morning that its limbs were screened by the black cloth, which to some extent was also to hide the wretched men when they stood upon the drop, from the crowd beneath. The barricades on either side served in some measure to avert the gaze of the spectators, and were a safeguard against any eruption within the boundary wall which they might make".

"As the hour of the execution approached, the spectators continued to pour in, in large numbers until the wide open space in front of the gaol and every available spot around were occupied. The roof of every house and mill, walls and even the lamp-posts were thronged with those anxious to witness the execution and there could not have been less than 80,000 to 100,000 people present".
"There were also some hundreds of spectators on the Burley Road and near Woodhouse Moor, but they would be unable, except with the aid of glasses, to witness the execution. They were, speaking of the mass, of the class usually collected together on such occasions men employed in mills, factories, workshops, etc. with a not inconsiderable sprinkling drawn from a lower and more degraded Stratum of Society, but embracing a few of what were called 'the respectable class'. Here and there, until the fatal hour had nearly arrived, the more thoughtless of the mass indulged in jests, and others even so far forgot the solemnity of the event as to engage in games of 'thimblerig' and 'fly the garter'. On the whole, however, their behaviour was quiet and orderly and many listened with evident attention to the scripture readers who, mounted upon stools, enforced the lessons which the occasion so impressively suggested. Amongst the crowd were a large number of women, many of them with children in their arms, and their anxiety, if possible, exceeded that of the men to obtain 'good views'."

"Fears were entertained that the wound in the throat of Myers might open, and as far as possible to prevent such an occurrence Mr. W.N. Price, 'Surgeon to the Gaol', applied plaster to the wound. About this time, both the prisoners appeared very exhausted, and before the pinioning Sargisson was so weak that stimulants had to be administered. Myers was exceedingly pale, but appeared to be more resigned to his fate. During the process of pinioning Sargisson turned to Myers and said - "Are you happy" 'Yes, I am', the latter replied. At five minutes to nine, the bell of the gaol, which announced the arrival of the fatal hour, began to toll. There was then a cry from the dense multitude in front of "Hats Off", and almost immediately, the Under Sheriff Mr. Keene passed from the door to the scaffold, followed by the Chaplain in his canonical robes, repeating the funeral service. Immediately behind him, supported on each side by warders, were the two prisoners, pale and anxious-looking. They knelt upon the drop whilst Mr. Tuckwell most impressively continued to read the Service. Both of them uttered the responses and frequently ejaculated 'Lord have mercy upon me" and "Lord Save my soul". Mr Tuckwell, having pronounced the absolution, the executioner at once stepped forward, placed a white cap over the head of Sargisson and next over that of Myers. He then adjusted the rope upon Myers and after that upon Sargisson. Myers appeared quiet, but Sargisson shook his head and breathed heavily. Both of the men continued to call out ' Lord, save me" and the last words uttered by Sargisson were to his brother murderer. He called out 'Art thou happy lad?' to which Myers responded "Indeed I am"."

"Instantly, with a solemn thud, amidst the hush of the multitude, the drop fell and the bodies were immediately completely hidden from the crowd. Myers seemed to die almost immediately, but the other man struggled violently for some minutes.

The crowd, immediately after the drop, rapidly dispersed, though a number remained to witness the cutting down of the bodies at ten o'clock. A few minutes before that hour the upper portion of the screen was withdrawn, we suppose to allow the spectators then remaining to see that the sentence of the law was effectually carried out. It was then made evident how wise had been the precaution of concealing the bodies. Also that the fears entertained regarding the wound in Myers' throat were not without foundation. The results of the sudden drop had been to tear open the wound, producing in the throat an orifice sufficiently large to admit the insertion of a pocket-handkerchief and we are informed that blood flowed from the wound some minutes after the drop fall. In accordance with the sentence, the bodies were buried within the precincts of the gaol."

Many were clearly shocked by the execution, and the festive spirit of the occasion. One such person was Canon Edward Jackson, Incumbent of St. James', and friend of the Reverend Henry Tuckwell who had tended the convicts prior to the execution. Jackson's feelings arc clearly revealed in the following letter:


September 19th, 1864.
On Saturday week there was the awful execution, our first in Leeds which, whilst it caused a deep sensation over all the town, affected me and my people all the more, in that the good chaplain has for long been a voluntary curate at St. James' one whom we deeply respect, so that his trouble and anxieties were ours.

Alas! What a sad and I may say horrible, picture of humanity was then exhibited. I allude not to the wretched culprits so much, as to the fact of the vast crowd gathered together to gaze on their dying agonies, and the utterly revolting deportment showed by the larger portion of those comprising it

The chaplain, the Rev. Henry Tuckwell, who has suffered so much in preparing these men for their doom, is himself fully convinced, both as regards the condemned criminals and the whole body of prisoners in the gaol, that the sentence of imprisonment for life would have been viewed with comparative indifference, whilst the execution brought a thrill throughout the whole place, and in the case of the sufferers was preceded by the marks of what we believe to have been the truest penitence.
Is this the end of the story ...
or the beginning of a legend?
jgl1954
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Re: Gibbet or Hanging in Chains

Postby jgl1954 » Mon 17 Oct, 2016 9:22 am

Of course, today there'd be idiots there taking pictures on their phones!

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