Kw-halloween-logo-small

History - The Halifax Gibbet

The reconstructed Gibbet.
Courtesy of George Barraclough
Beware the blade.
Courtesy of George Barraclough

What is the Halifax Gibbet?

The Halifax Gibbet was a guillotine used for public execution from the 13th to the 17th century. The Halifax Gibbet is in Yorkshire, England (not Halifax, Canada). The earliest recorded execution was in 1286. It is suggested that the Gibbet was built to punish thieves who stole cloth, especially from tenters (a wooden frame that cloth was stretched and dried on).

Escaping the Halifax Gibbet

Convicted criminals did have one thing going for them. For hundreds of years the law stated that if a condemned person could withdraw his or her head before the blade was released and hit the bottom, all they had to do was hustle it to the next town - Hebble Brook - and he or she was free. The one condition: that person could never return. The only lucky and quick guy to do this was John Lacy. On January 29, 1623, John managed to escape and run to freedom. But after seven years, Running Man, as he was nicknamed, foolishly believed that because he had done the impossible he would be allowed back. He was as wrong as he was dumb. As soon as he came back he was immediately put back under the blade again and this time he didn't stand a chance.

Finding the Halifax Gibbet

Almost 60 people, both men and woman, were executed by the Halifax Gibbet. The town finally stopped using it in 1650. The Gibbet originally stood at Cow Green but it was later moved to a marked site on Gibbet Street. The actual site of the Gibbet was lost after the 17th century until it was rediscovered in 1839 when workmen discovered the skeletons and skulls of two bodies. Possibly the last two men executed. The original blade (the head of an axe) was returned to Halifax in 1970. It can be seen at the Calderdale Industrial Museum. A replica of the Gibbet was reconstructed in 1974.

Related Stories:

  • Ancient Torture Devices
  • The Lost City of Atlantis
  • Women in History Who Suck
  • More Weird, Scary and Strange Places
  • >
    >

    readers voted!

    Comments

    kiwinana12

    kiwinana12 wrote:

    oops
    commented: Thu Jun 20, 2013

    kiwinana12

    kiwinana12 wrote:

    .
    commented: Thu Jun 20, 2013

    kiwinana12

    kiwinana12 wrote:

    .
    commented: Thu Jun 20, 2013

    there are 5 more comments

    Please login or register to add comments


    like this article?
    Sign up now to get more just like!

    latest videos

    F992546869625

    Would You Have Tried to Escape?

    • No. As a criminal I should accept my punishment.
    • Yes. I would definately try.
    • This poll sucks more than having your head cut off!

    related stories

    Random in the forums

    Keeko21
    Keeko21 posted in Debating:
    No because the bully doesn't actually 'kill' the victim. They only make them want to kill them self
    reply about 1 hour
    Peppy.San
    I just began 'Let the Right One In' by John Ajvide Lindqvist. This is just morose and an unrelentingly disturbing book, but I appreciate the more artful/aware creation of interpretive fiction. I cannot say the same for most escape literature. However, IMHO, it doesnt really matter what you're reading... just so long as you can enjoy the books you read :)
    reply about 2 hours
    AlphaT
    AlphaT posted in Say Anything:
    "FireWolfRain" wrote:@Shae Exactly. :D @Mark What do you think? Hmmm?Divorce or Counseling? OR YOU COULD HYPNOSIS  HIM! Yeah. I still don't get how you're a wife, when you'rea boy.... Yeah ah be going ta divorce him otay? Otay? See uh gurl need ta git sumtin outta dis so imma jus take all his stuff imma take him to court and im getting waz mine. Bet money imma get mine.
    reply about 2 hours
    FireWolfRain
    Okay. bye. 
    reply about 2 hours
    FireWolfRain
    "shae508" wrote: "FireWolfRain" wrote: @Shae Uhh... change the topic.  How do you feel when you just vomit up poison sumac?  :D Horrible, I wanted to be the only one who didn't vomit. She already had to sallow it. XC Well, uh. Nat didn't want to, either, but the sight of barf is really gross... That reminds me! WHATS YER FAV FOOD?  
    reply about 2 hours

    play online games

    Candy-100

    A great online version of the famous Candy Crush. This is the best game launched...

    Big_icon_(7)

    Have you ever fancied being a ranger like those fantasy characters you love so m...

    Big_icon_(4)

    You run across the city in a car chase with the police officers.

    Big_icon_(6)

    The evil master kidnapped all of your friends!

    Ow_fright_ad_100x100

    Explore the world or hang out with friends in your own condo. Get a unique look,...