Nursery Rhymes

Thumbscrews

Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

Thumbscrews
The Medieval period of the Middle Ages was violent, and blood thirsty. In these barbarous times the cruel and pitiless torturers were induced to inflict the horrors of tortures. These included the Thumbscrews, on prisoners by crushing. Torture methods, devices and instruments were used to inflict the deliberate, systematic, cruel and wanton infliction of physical and mental suffering.

There were no laws or rules to protect the treatment of prisoners who faced torture, such as the Thumbscrews by crushing. Torture was seen as a totally legitimate means for justice to extract confessions, obtain the names of accomplices, obtain testimonies or confessions.

Crimes which warranted the use of / Method of inflicting the Thumbscrews


Different types of torture were used depending on the victim's crime and social status. There were also different tortures used according to the customs of each country. The use of the thumbscrew was a common method of inflicting intense pain on prisoners. The thumbscrew was a simple device designed to crush whatever was inserted. Typically thumbs, but even fingers or toes, were placed in the vice and slowly crushed. The crushing process was achieved by varying degrees of the screws which were applied and its toothed iron bars. The force of thumbscrews was such that they bone could be crushed and broken. The thumbscrews were useful to interrogators as they were a portable means of torture and not restricted to the confines of the torture chamber.

Middle Ages Torture
Middle Ages Index

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