By Geoffrey Abbott, G. (Geoffrey) Abbott, Jeremy Beadle
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Only when she had given her word that they would not do so, was she allowed to choose three or four attendants to accompany her. A contemporary historian described what happened next. ‘After this, escorted by the lords, knights, and gentlemen, the Sheriff leading, she passed into the great hall and stepped up on to the scaffold, this being two feet high and twelve feet broad, with rails about, hanged and covered with black. She sat down on a low stool and, being thus seated, the warrant for her execution was read out.
The executioner, seeing the anger of the people, tried two or three times to sink the malefactor with a great iron hook, and forthwith several people, believing that the cords had been broken by a divine miracle, became excited and cried out loudly, and seeing that the false coiner was suffering no harm, they approached the executioner as he lay with his face on the ground, and gave him so many blows that he died. ’ Found guilty of committing high treason against James I, George Brooke was condemned to be executed by the axe in the courtyard of Winchester Castle.
If so, could the victim actually see the ground or basket coming up to meet them – even perhaps have sufficient time to witness the gloating faces of those clustered round the scaffold as their head is brandished by the executioner? Alas, like death itself, only those who personally experience decapitation can know what happens and within what timescale. indd 40 12/04/2006 14:48:26 PART ONE: METHODS OF TORTURE AND EXECUTION the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, although isolated cases reportedly took place in Scotland.
Amazing True Stories of Execution Blunde by Geoffrey Abbott, G. (Geoffrey) Abbott, Jeremy Beadle