Monday, 8 February 2010

Under Sentence of Death

'That you, be taken to the place from whence you came and from thence be drawn on a hurdle to the place of execution, where you shall be hanged by the neck, not till you are dead; that you be taken down, while yet alive, and your bowels taken out and burnt before your face - that your head be then cut off, and your body cut in quarters, to be at the King's disposal. And God Almighty have mercy upon your soul.'

This was the grim sentence read out to condemned prisoners up until the 1820's, clearly explaining to the wretched inmate the fate that awaited him. It had been the sentence of the court for well over five hundred years, first used in the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) in the 14th century. However a form of it was known to exist as early as 1283, when Dafydd, the last native Prince of Wales, was executed.
By the 1820's reforms were being made and dissection of the body after the execution was discontinued, the wording on passing sentence of death to the accused was changed to the following:

'The sentence of the court upon you is, that you be taken from this place to a lawful prison and thence to a place of execution and that you be hanged by the neck until you are dead; and that your body be afterwards buried within the prescints of the prison in which you shall be confined before your execution. And may the Lord have mercy on your soul. Amen.'

1 comment:

  1. The hanging was the end of you're life for a crime you done ,But the mad thing is.It's the chopping you up bit that gets me ,Your still got some breath left and you see you're body being spliced apart for the kings desposal ,God the welsh knew how to put fear into people .