Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Question from Guy - Women at executions

Did women go to see executions?


  1. We assume everyone (men, and women, and even children) in the Tudor era went as executions were open to the public.

  2. From the Diary of Henry Machyn: "The xxj of August [1553] was, by viij of the cloke in the mornyng, on the Towre hylle a-boythe x M1. men and women for to have [seen] the execussyon of the duke of Northumberland . . ."

  3. The state often prohibited people from thronging to the execution site of a religious marytr - they didn't want women to soak up the blood with their handkerchiefs and present them as relics for veneration.

    Hanging was by slow strangulation, rather than the neck-breaking drop. People were often invited to pull on the legs of the hanging man to end his suffering.

    I imagine female relatives rushed in, but maybe it was a man's job. Weird and horrible.


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