Sushidog (sushidog) wrote in little_details,

Two queries about executions

First query; England, 17th century, (Sorry, originally said 16th; it's too hot to think here! :-)
I want to know about hanging, drawing and quartering, or rather, I want to know specifically about quartering; I've googled for it, and found lots of information, but none gives me the specific detail I want to know. When a criminal was hanged, drawn, and quartered, they were hanged (without a long drop, so the neck wasn't broken), then their guts were drawn out, and then they were usually beheaded and their body was cut into pieces. My question is exactly how this was done; were the limbs removed from the torso (resulting in five pieces plus the head), or was the tosro itself quartered, resulting in four pieces, each including a limb with a bit of torso? Or something else? I've disovered that earlier, in France (and possibly other places), quartering was done by tying the limbs to four horses and whipping the horses, so tht they would tear the body apart; presumably this would result in three of the limbs being torn off, with the remaining one still being attached to the torso, but it seems that by the 16th century, in England, quartering was done by people rather than horses. Most of the accounts I've seen are non-specific, but do tend to mention cutting the body into quarters (which may be being used metaphorically rather than precisely). However, a contemporary woodcut of the execution of Guy Fawkes looks as though the legs were removed from the torso. Any pointers?

Secondly; mid-to-late 19th century, England (London specifically). I'm interested in how the corpses of hanged criminals were disposed of. The Warburton Anatomy act of 1832 made it legal to sell unclaimed corpses to anatomists (in an attempt to prevent the Resurrection men violating buried corpses or indeed murdering people in order to sell their bodies), and this would presumably include criminals, but I can't seem to find anything about how these sales were carried out; who sold the bodies? How much would one pay for a fresh corpse? Was the demand still outstripping the supply by, say, 1880? If my character wants to get his hands on a corpse, and is not attached to any medical school, how easy would it be for him to do so legally? And if he were able to buy a recently-hanged body, how fresh would it be by he time he got it? Would he collect it from the scaffold, as it were, or from the prison, somewhat later? Or would it take a day or two before he could claim it?

Any help much appreciated!
Tags: 1600-1699, ~hanging
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic
    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.