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Hanging, Drawing and Quartering

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Ian Dunn
671413.  Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:59 am Reply with quote

On Saturday, 13 October 1660, Samuel Pepys wrote that he went to see Major General Thomas Harrison being hanged, drawn and quartered. After seeing what we today consider to be a vile and disgusting act, Pepys and his friends went out for an oyster lunch, before returning home where he became annoyed at his wife's untidiness.

Hanging, drawing and quartering was lawful punishment for High Treason up until 1870.

Source: The A to Z of Punishment and Torture by Irene Thompson.

671472.  Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:31 am Reply with quote

It was, although the last time the drawing and quartering were carried out before death seems to have been in 1781. The Treason Act 1814 went so far as to specify that they were to happen afterwards.

That 1781 event - with the victim a French spy - may have been the last h-d-and-q-ing actually to be carried out anywhere in the world. The sentence was issued a few more times (in Canada as well as in the UK), but seems always to have been replaced by "normal" hanging.

671489.  Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:59 am Reply with quote

Because where's the fun in drawing and quartering after the victim is dead.

671526.  Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:10 pm Reply with quote

One of the last persons to be hung, drawn and quartered was Dr Archibald Cameron a prominant Jacobite who was involved in a plot to abduct George the Second. He was dispatched in the H D and Q manner in 1753.

671631.  Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:59 pm Reply with quote

Lord Lovatt often quoted (in error) in some textbooks as the last person to be HD&Q was in fact beheaded. As a peer of the realm he was afforded a more lenient sentence.

Does anyone know when this practice began? I have searched Saxon records and have assumed rightly or wrongly that it was brought to England by the Normans. I know that the Romans had some pretty barbaric forms of dispatch but did this include HD&Q.

A criminal was Hanged but Hung Drawn and Quartered.

671642.  Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:17 pm Reply with quote

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.


671649.  Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:34 pm Reply with quote

Just so.

671693.  Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:01 pm Reply with quote

George Washington was drawn and quartered.

671732.  Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:04 am Reply with quote

AnneB wrote:

Just so.

that was my local for a little while ... :)


672816.  Fri Feb 19, 2010 6:36 am Reply with quote

The last D&Q recorded appears to have been in Portsmouth in 1782 to a Scotsman David Tyrie but he was cut up after his death.

The last people to be sentenced to HD&Q appear to be two Irish nationalists called Burke and O'Brian in 1867.

758607.  Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:04 am Reply with quote

zomgmouse, I think you mean he was drawn on a quarter.


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