Nursery Rhymes

Hung, Drawn and Quartered

Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

Hung, Drawn and Quartered
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, including quartering. Torture and execution methods, devices and instruments were used to inflict the deliberate, systematic, cruel and wanton infliction of physical and mental suffering - this was the worst method of all.

There were no laws or rules to protect the treatment of prisoners who faced executions such as being Hung, Drawn and Quartered.

The History of the Hung, Drawn and Quartered form of Execution
This evil and sadistic form of execution was invented in 1241, specifically to punish a man called William Maurice who had been convicted of piracy. This form of execution was no respecter of rank. It was used to execute traitors to the English, including those of royal birth. In 1283 David, the last Welsh Prince of Wales (Dafydd ap Gruffydd (c. 1235 3 October 1283) , was tried for treason against King Edward I and was sentenced "to be drawn to the gallows as a traitor to the King who made him a Knight, to be hanged as the murderer of the gentleman taken in the Castle of Hawarden, to have his limbs burnt because he had profaned by assassination the solemnity of Christ's passion and to have his quarters dispersed through the country because he had in different places compassed the death of his lord the king". William Wallace (circa. 1270 23 August 1305) now famous as 'Braveheart' was hung, drawn and quartered at Smithfield on 23 August 1305. His limbs were displayed, separately, in Newcastle, Berwick, Stirling, and Perth. In the 1500's, a total of 105 Catholic martyrs were hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn in London. Guy Fawkes and his fellow "Gunpowder Plot" conspirators were also victims of this terrible punishment. 

Method of inflicting the terrible death by being Hung, Drawn and Quartered
The most terrible punishment of the Middle Ages was being Hung, Drawn and Quartered. This barbaric form of execution was reserved for the most hated prisoners who had usually been convicted of treason. The form of execution referred to as being Hung, Drawn and Quartered was described by a chronicler called William Harrison:

"The greatest and most grievous punishment used in England for such as offend against the State is drawing from the prison to the place of execution upon an hurdle or sled, where they are hanged till they be half dead, and then taken down, and quartered alive; after that, their members and bowels are cut from their bodies, and thrown into a fire, provided near hand and within their own sight, even for the same purpose."

The Quarters of the the body were then hung in prescribed locations in the City of London as a deterrent to all English citizens.

Middle Ages Torture
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