I wanted to know how cruel their punishments were. After reading this now I know that they are really harsh! But in a way I wish we had some sort of heavy punishments on people like paedophiles or serial killers.
Anyway, here is what it was like then.
Methods of execution
•Beheading (“Death by the Axe”)
This was a punishment that resulted in your head being chopped off! The heads were sometimes placed on spikes along London Bridge or other places.
Beheading was considered less degrading than hanging, and it usually killed more quickly. Noblemen (rich) who committed crimes were more likely to be beheaded than hung.
•Hanging from the gallows
A piece of rope was put around the neck making it hard for the person to breathe. The person would be hung from the rope until he/she had stopped breathing and was dead. People were hung for crimes such as stealing, treason, rebellion, riot or murder.
Women found guilty of either treason or petty treason were sentenced to be burned alive at the stake
•Being ‘pressed’ (crushed)
For attempting to murdering someone you could be boiled alive in a big bowl of hot water.
Lesser punishments for committing crime included:
Many towns had a whipping post. The victim was chained to the post, stripped to the waist and whipped.
*You could be whipped for stealing a loaf of bread!
• Branding with hot irons
Hot irons were used to burn letters onto the skin of offenders hand, arm or cheek. A murderer would be branded with the letter ‘M’, vagrants with the letter ‘V’, and thieves with the letter “T”.
•The pillory (standing)
The pillory was a T shaped block of wood with holes for the hands in the crossbar of the T. The person being punished would have to stand in the device in the middle of the market to be ridiculed by passersby.
The stocks (sitting)
Stocks were used in the same way as the pillory, except that with stocks, the feet were bound. The stocks were a block of wood with two holes for your feet to go in. Local people threw rubbish and rotten eggs at people in the stocks.
The Brank, (the gossip’s bridle)
The brank was a punishment enacted on women who gossiped or spoke too freely. It was a large iron framework placed on the head of the offender, forming a type of cage. There was a metal strip on the brank that fit into the mouth and was either sharpened to a point or covered with spikes so that any movement of the tongue was certain to cause severe injuries to the mouth.
•The ducking stool (Punishment for women)
Accused witches were dunked into a river, to see if they were innocent or guilty. If they floated, they were considered guilty and burnt at the stake. If they sank, they were innocent but died anyway, by drowning. Either way, they perished.
Limbs cut off
Some people who stole things from shops had their hands cut off.
The Drunkard’s Cloak
This was a punishment for public drunkenness. The drunk was forced to don a barrel and wander through town while the villagers jeer at him. Holes were cut in the barrel for the person’s hands and head, causing it to become like a heavy, awkward shirt.
More about Tudors is on this site:
http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/homework/tudors/dailylife.htm 4 months ago