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Punishing the Criminal Corpse, 1700-1840: Aggravated Forms of the Death Penalty in England

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Book Series: Palgrave Historical Studies in the Criminal Corpse and its Afterlife ISBN: 9781137513601 9781137513618 Year: Pages: 212 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-51361-8 Language: English
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Subject: Law
Added to DOAB on : 2017-11-23 15:35:22
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This book analyses the different types of post-execution punishments and other aggravated execution practices, the reasons why they were advocated, and the decision, enshrined in the Murder Act of 1752, to make two post-execution punishments, dissection and gibbeting, an integral part of sentences for murder. It traces the origins of the Act, and then explores the ways in which Act was actually put into practice. After identifying the dominance of penal dissection throughout the period, it looks at the abandonment of burning at the stake in the 1790s, the rapid decline of hanging in chains just after 1800, and the final abandonment of both dissection and gibbeting in 1832 and 1834. It concludes that the Act, by creating differentiation in levels of penalty, played an important role within the broader capital punishment system well into the nineteenth century. While eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century historians have extensively studied the ‘Bloody Code’ and the resulting interactions around the ‘Hanging Tree’, they have largely ignored an important dimension of the capital punishment system – the courts extensive use of aggravated and post-execution punishments. With this book, Peter King aims to rectify this neglected historical phenomenon.

The Golden and Ghoulish Age of the Gibbet in Britain

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Book Series: Palgrave Historical Studies in the Criminal Corpse and its Afterlife ISBN: 9781137600882 9781137600899 Year: Pages: 155 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-60089-9 Language: English
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Subject: Law
Added to DOAB on : 2017-11-23 15:41:55
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This book is the first academic study of the post-mortem practice of gibbeting (‘hanging in chains’), since the nineteenth century. Gibbeting involved placing the executed body of a malefactor in an iron cage and suspending it from a tall post. A body might remain in the gibbet for many decades, while it gradually fell to pieces. Hanging in chains was a very different sort of post-mortem punishment from anatomical dissection, although the two were equal alternatives in the eyes of the law. Where dissection obliterated and de-individualised the body, hanging in chains made it monumental and rooted it in the landscape, adding to personal notoriety. Focusing particularly on the period 1752-1832, this book provides a summary of the historical evidence, the factual history of gibbetting which explores the locations of gibbets, the material technologies involved in hanging in chains, and the actual process from erection to eventual collapse. It also considers the meanings, effects and legacy of this gruesome practice.

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