Drawn and Quartered Apr 11, 2007 12:14:11 GMT -5
Post by mr dio on Apr 11, 2007 12:14:11 GMT -5
To be hanged, drawn, and quartered was the penalty once ordained in England for high treason. It is considered by many to be the epitome of "cruel" punishment, and was reserved for treason as this crime was deemed more heinous than murder and other capital offences. It was only applied to male criminals. Women found guilty of treason in England were burnt at the stake, a punishment abolished in 1790.
Details of the punishment
Until 1870, the full punishment for the crime was to be "hanged, drawn, and quartered" in that the convict would be
Dragged on a hurdle (a wooden frame) to the place of execution. (This is one possible meaning of drawn.)
Hanged by the neck for a short time or until almost dead. (hanged).
Disembowelled, and the genitalia and entrails burned before the victim's eyes (This is another meaning of drawn. It is often used in cookbooks to denote the disembowelment of chicken or rabbit carcasses before cooking).
Beheaded and the body divided into four parts (quartered).
Typically, the resulting five parts (i.e. the four quarters of the body and the head) were gibbeted (put on public display) in different parts of the city, town, or, in famous cases, country, to deter would-be traitors. Gibbeting was abolished in England in 1843.
There is confusion among modern historians about whether "drawing" referred to the dragging to the place of execution or the disembowelling, but since two different words are used in the official documents detailing the trial of William Wallace ("detrahatur" for drawing as a method of transport, and "devaletur" for disembowelment), there is no doubt that the victims of the punishment were disembowelled.
Judges delivering sentence at the Old Bailey also seemed to have had some confusion over the term "drawn", and some sentences are summarised as "Drawn, Hanged and Quartered". Nevertheless, the sentence was often recorded quite explicitly. For example, the record of the trial of Thomas Wallcot, John Rouse, William Hone and William Blake for offences against the king, on 12 July, 1683 concludes as follows:
"Then Sentence was passed, as followeth, viz. That they should return to the place from whence they came, from thence be drawn to the Common place of Execution upon Hurdles, and there to be Hanged by the Necks, then cut down alive, their Privy-Members cut off, and Bowels taken out to be burnt before their Faces, their Heads to be severed from their Bodies, and their Bodies divided into four parts, to be disposed of as the King should think fit."
Edward I, the instigator of hanging, drawing and quartering, as depicted in a statue in York MinsterH Thomas Milhorn claims that hanging, drawing and quartering was first used against William Maurice, who was convicted of piracy in 1241. This would make Henry III the first practioner.
The punishment was more famously and verifiably employed by King Edward I ('Longshanks') in his efforts to bring Wales, Scotland, and Ireland under English rule.
It was inflicted in 1283 on the Welsh prince Dafydd ap Gruffydd in Shrewsbury. Dafydd had been a hostage in the English court in his youth, growing up with Edward and for several years fought alongside Edward against his brother Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, the Prince of Wales. Llywelyn had won recognition of the title, 'Prince of Wales', from Edward's father King Henry III, and both Edward and his father had been imprisoned by Llywelyn's ally, Simon de Montfort, the Earl of Leicester, in 1264.
Edward's enmity towards Llywelyn ran deep. When Dafydd returned to the side of his brother and attacked the English Hawarden Castle, Edward saw this as both a personal betrayal and a military setback and hence his punishment of Dafydd was specifically designed to be harsher than any previous form of capital punishment. The punishment was part of an overarching strategy to eliminate Welsh independence. Edward built an 'iron ring' of castles in Wales and had Dafydd's young sons incarcerated for life in Bristol Castle and daughters sent to a nunnery in England, whilst having his own son, Edward II, assume the title Prince of Wales. Dafydd's head joined that of his brother Llywelyn (killed in a skirmish months earlier) on top of the Tower of London, where the skulls were still visible many years later. His quartered body parts were sent to four English towns for display.
Two decades later Sir William Wallace was the next to suffer the fate, as a consequence of Edward I's Scottish wars. The precedent had been set and the punishment became the ultimate penalty for treason against the English crown. Some, including Dafydd ap Gruffydd and William Wallace in their trials, assert that these first two victims of the penalty were not traitors as they fought in defence of Wales and Scotland against foreign invaders. Wallace had a better claim than his Welsh counterpart, having never fought for Edward before fighting against him.
In an attempt to intimidate the Roman Catholic clergy to take the Oath of Supremacy, Henry VIII ordered that John Houghton, the prior of the London Charterhouse, be condemned to be hanged, drawn and quartered, along with two other Carthusians. Henry also famously condemned one Francis Dereham to this form of execution for being one of Catherine Howard's lovers. Dereham and the King's good friend Thomas Culpeper were both executed shortly before Catherine herself, but Culpeper was spared the cruel punishment and was instead beheaded.
In the aftermath of the Babington plot to murder Queen Elizabeth I and replace her on the throne with Mary Queen of Scots, the conspirators were condemned to this method of execution in September 1586. On hearing of the appalling agony to which the first seven victims were subjected while being butchered on the scaffold, Elizabeth ordered that the remaining conspirators, who were to be dispatched on the following day, should be left hanging until they were dead. Other Elizabethans who were executed in this way include Elizabeth's own physician Dr. Rodrigo Lopez, a Portuguese Jew, who was convicted of conspiring against her in 1594, and the Jesuit Edmund Campion.
Other notable victims of the punishment include Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot to assassinate James I in 1606. Fawkes, though weakened by torture, cheated the executioners. When he was to be hanged until almost dead, he jumped from the gallows, so his neck broke and he died. A co-conspirator, Robert Keyes, had attempted the same trick, but the rope broke, so he was drawn fully conscious. Henry Garnet was executed on 3 May 1606 at St Paul's. His crime was to be the confessor of several members of the Gunpowder Plot. Many spectators thought that his sentence was too severe. Antonia Fraser writes:
"With a loud cry of 'hold, hold' they stopped the hangman cutting down the body while Garnet was still alive. Others pulled the priest's legs ... which was traditionally done to ensure a speedy death".
Under the Commonwealth, while convicted traitors were seemingly spared this gruesome execution, St John Southworth, being a priest, was prosecuted under the Elizabethan anti-priest legislation which proscribed the sentence of hanging,drawing and quartering. He was hanged but spared the drawing and quartering.
Over six days in October of 1660, after the Restoration of Charles II, nine of those convicted of the regicide of Charles I in 1649 were executed in London in this manner. Those executed were: Thomas Harrison, John Jones, Adrian Scroope, John Carew, Thomas Scot, Gregory Clement, Daniel Axtel, Hugh Peters, and John Cooke. Three more regicides suffered the same fate within two years: John Okey, John Barkstead and Miles Corbet. Additionally, the corpses of John Pym, Oliver Cromwell, John Bradshaw and Henry Ireton were disinterred and hanged, drawn and quartered in posthumous executions for their involvement in the regicide.
In 1676, Joshua Tefft was executed by this method at Smith's Castle in Wickford, Rhode Island. He was an English colonist who fought on the side of the Narragansett during the Great Swamp Fight battle of King Philip's War. This may be the only occurrence of "hanging, drawing and quartering" as a method of execution in American history.
Oliver Plunkett, Archbishop of Armagh and the Catholic primate of Ireland, was arrested in 1681 and transported to Newgate Prison, London, where he was convicted of treason. He was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn, the last Catholic to be executed for his faith in England. He was beatified in 1920 and was canonized in 1975 by Pope Paul VI. His head is preserved for viewing as a relic in St. Peter's Church in Drogheda, while the rest of his body rests in Downside Abbey, near Stratton-on-the-Fosse, Somerset.
If there was a large rebellion against the Crown, only a few of the ring leaders would be "hanged drawn and quartered", most would either be hanged, sent to penal colonies, or pardoned. The Bloody Assizes of Judge Jeffreys after the Monmouth Rebellion is a notorious post Civil War English example, but in the aftermath of rebellions in Ireland and Scotland punishment was often just as ruthless.
From the Eighteenth Century
During the American war of independence (1775–1783) notable captured colonists such as signers of the Declaration of Independence were subject to being hanged, drawn and quartered as traitors to the King. Those taken in arms (military) would be treated as prisoners of war.
The penultimate time the sentence was carried out in England was against the French spy Francis Henry de la Motte, who was convicted of treason on 23 July 1781. The last time it was carried out was on Saturday 24 August 1782 against Scottish spy David Tyrie in Portsmouth for carrying on a treasonable correspondence with the French (using information passed to him from officials high in the British government). A contemporary account in the the Hampshire Chronicle describes his being hanged for 22 minutes, following which he was beheaded, his heart cut out and burned. He was then emasculated, quartered, and his body parts put into a coffin and buried in the pebbles at the seaside. The same account claims that immediately after his burial, sailors dug the coffin up and cut the body into a thousand pieces, each taking a piece as a souvenir to their shipmates. Little else is known of his life.
Edward Marcus Despard and his six accomplices were sentenced to hanging, drawing and quartering for allegedly plotting to assassinate George III but their sentence was commuted to simple hanging and beheading.
By 1817 the three leaders of the Pentrich Rising, convicted of high treason, suffered hanging and beheading only.
In 1820, Arthur Thistlewood and other participants in the Cato Street Conspiracy were condemned to this punishment, though the court record shows that the drawing and quartering was omitted from the completion of the sentence. The sentence was passed on the Irish rebel leader William Smith O'Brien in 1848 but commuted to transportation.
Details of the crime
The crime of treason, or offences against the king (or queen) is often thought of in terms of attempted regicides, such as Guy Fawkes and others mentioned above. However, the crime was interpreted at different periods of English history to include a variety of acts which, at the time, were deemed to threaten the constitutional authority of the monarchy.
For example, on 12 December 1674, William Burnet, was condemned to this punishment for offences against the king: namely that he "had often endeavoured to reconcile divers of his Majesties Protestant subjects to the Romish Church, and had actually perverted several to embrace the Roman Catholique Religion, and assert and maintain the Popes supremacy." In other words, he had come to England and attempted to convert Protestants to Catholicism. In a similar vein, John Morgan was also sentenced to this punishment on 30 April 1679, for having received orders from the See of Rome, and coming to England: there being "very good Evidence that proved he was a Priest, and had said Mass".
On the same day in 1679, two other people were found guilty of offences against the king, at the Old Bailey. In this case, they had been "Coyning and Counterfeiting". Again, they were sentenced to be Hanged, Drawn, and Quartered. In a similar case on 15 October 1690, Thomas Rogers and Anne Rogers were tried for "Clipping 40 pieces of Silver" (in other words, clipping the edges off silver coins). Thomas Rogers was hanged, drawn and quartered and Anne Rogers was burnt alive.
Similar, lesser punishments for treason
Men convicted of the lesser crime of petty treason were dragged to the place of execution and hanged until dead, but not subsequently dismembered. Women convicted of treason or petty treason were burnt at the stake rather than being subjected to this punishment.
Class distinctions in its application
In Britain, this penalty was usually reserved for commoners, including knights. Noble traitors were 'merely' beheaded, at first by sword and in later years by axe. The different treatment of lords and commoners was clear after the Cornish Rebellion of 1497: lowly-born Michael An Gof and Thomas Flamank were hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn; while their fellow rebellion leader Lord Audley was beheaded at Tower Hill.
This class distinction was brought out in a House of Commons debate of 1680, with regard to the Warrant of Execution of Lord Stafford, which condemned him to be hanged, drawn and quartered. Sir William Jones is quoted as saying "Death is the substance of the Judgment; the manner of it is but a circumstance.... No man can show me an example of a Nobleman that has been quartered for High-Treason: They have been only beheaded". The House then resolved that "Execution be done upon Lord Stafford, by severing his Head from his Body."
Dismemberment of the body after death was seen by many contemporaries as a way of punishing the traitor beyond the grave. In western European Christian countries, it was ordinarily considered contrary to the dignity of the human body to mutilate it. A Parliamentary Act from the reign of Henry VIII stipulated that only the corpses of executed murderers could be used for dissection. Being thus dismembered was viewed as an extra punishment not suitable for others. There are cases on record where murderers would try to plead guilty to another capital offence so that, although they would be hanged, their body would be buried whole and not be dissected.
Attitudes towards this issue changed very slowly in Britain and were not manifested in law until the passing of the Anatomy Act in 1832. Respect for the dead is still a sensitive issue in Britain as can be seen by the furore over the "Alder Hey organs scandal" when the organs of children were kept without parents' informed consent.
Sign outside the Hung, Drawn and Quartered pub in Tower Hill, LondonAn account is provided by the diary of Samuel Pepys for Saturday 13 October 1660, in which he describes his attendance at the execution of Major-General Thomas Harrison, who was a Fifth Monarchist. The complete diary entry for the day, given below, illustrates the matter-of-fact way in which the execution is treated by Pepys, who seems to handle it with less emotion than he devotes to the untidiness of his wife:
To my Lord's in the morning, where I met with Captain Cuttance, but my Lord not being up I went out to Charing Cross, to see Major-general Harrison hanged, drawn; and quartered; which was done there, he looking as cheerful as any man could do in that condition. He was presently cut down, and his head and heart shown to the people, at which there was great shouts of joy. It is said, that he said that he was sure to come shortly at the right hand of Christ to judge them that now had judged him; and that his wife do expect his coming again. Thus it was my chance to see the King beheaded at White Hall, and to see the first blood shed in revenge for the blood of the King at Charing Cross. From thence to my Lord's, and took Captain Cuttance and Mr. Sheply to the Sun Tavern, and did give them some oysters. After that I went by water home, where I was angry with my wife for her things lying about, and in my passion kicked the little fine basket, which I bought her in Holland, and broke it, which troubled me after I had done it. Within all the afternoon setting up shelves in my study. At night to bed.
At 26-27 Great Tower Street, Tower Hill, London, there is a pub called "The Hung [sic] Drawn and Quartered". On the wall is the quotation from Samuel Pepys, shown above. The pub is close to the site of several executions, but not to Charing Cross.
Mentions in fiction
Shakespeare's play Henry V features the discovery of a French plot to kill King Henry V before he sailed to France. Two of the conspirators (Henry, Lord Scroop of Masham, and Richard, Earl of Cambridge) were nobles and were beheaded; Thomas Grey, Knight of Northumberland, was drawn and quartered.
In Robin Hobb's "realist" fantasy novels The Farseer Trilogy and The Tawny Man Trilogy, villagers accused of being able to talk to animals are hanged, quartered, and burned.
Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities also refers to Charles Darnay possibly being drawn and quartered as a punishment if he was convicted of treason.
The historical execution of the regicide Robert-François Damiens, including quartering using horses, drew prominent late-20th-century attention:
In the 1963 play Marat/Sade, the playwright Peter Weiss has his imagined version of the Marquis de Sade describe it with relish.
A decade later, Michel Foucault described and discussed it in the introduction of his Surveiller et Punir (English edition, Discipline and Punish).
In Jimmy Carter's 2003 novel The Hornet's Nest. rebellious American colonists are arrested by the Crown and tried for and convicted of treason. They are sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered, but the sentence is never carried out.
The 2006 mini-series Elizabeth I featured graphic scenes depicting the drawing and quartering of conspirators against the Queen.
In France, the traditional punishment for regicide (whether attempted or completed) under the ancien régime (known in French as ecartèlement) is often described as "quartering", though it in fact has little to do with the English punishment. The process was as follows: the regicide offender would be first tortured with red-hot pincers, then the hand with which the crime was committed would be burnt with sulphur and molten lead and wax and boiling oil poured into the wounds. The quartering would be accomplished by the attachment of the victim's limbs to horses, who would then tear them away from the body. Finally, the often still-living torso would be burnt. Notable examples include:
Jean Châtel, who attempted to assassinate Henry IV
François Ravaillac (1578 – 27 May 1610) was the murderer of King Henri IV of France and was punished by being "scalded with burning sulphur, molten lead and boiling oil and resin, his flesh then being torn by pincers ..." before he was drawn and quartered.
Robert-François Damiens, who attempted the assassination of Louis XV in 1757 (At least two prominent 20th-century intellectuals described this execution.)
Jacques Clément, the murderer of Henri III (He was killed in this act of regicide, and his corpse was subjected to the same "punishment".)
These executions were carried out (along with most others under the ancien régime) in the Place de Grève.
Balthasar Gérard, assassin of William the Silent, but only after two days of tenacious torture.
Gérard's execution took place on the market square in Delft, the Netherlands.