Kw-logo-holiday

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 it!

    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

    _baee_
    _baee_ posted in Food:
    PANCAKES
    reply 32 minutes
    princess_surupa
    princess_surupa posted in Food:
    Kit-Kat :3
    reply 38 minutes
    princess_surupa
    princess_surupa posted in Food:
    Pancakes :)
    reply 39 minutes
    princess_surupa
    GuesT
    reply 43 minutes
    princess_surupa
    Snow White and Cinderella :-)
    reply 44 minutes

    play online games

    Hour-of-code-tumb

    Codey the troll is lost! Help him avoid obstacles and get back into the computer...

    Candy-quest-feature

    Your troll is lost! Help it avoid obstacles and get back into the computer.

    Fo...

    Dragon-dash

    Your dragon must return to guard the treasure! Help it gather lost coins and avo...

    _thumb_100x100

    Shoot blobs with different properties to merge yellow blobs. Your blobs can be r...

    1005_cc_kidz_100x100_vlh

    Candy's got her candies into a terrible mess, can you help her to sort them out?

    Candy-100

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

    _thumb_100x100

    Bloons 2 is here! A worthy and awesome sequel at last to our original Bloons gam...

    Frostbox_100x100

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