COR­NER OF YORK­SHIRE:

The Hal­i­fax Gib­bet

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Front Page -

A LIT­TLE re­minder of York­shire’s grue­some past. Move over, M Le Guil­lo­tine, you were not the first to in­vent a de­cap­i­tat­ing ma­chine – that rather du­bi­ous hon­our goes to a cit­i­zen of Hal­i­fax, who, at some point in me­dieval times, thought up this means of a swift ex­e­cu­tion.

Many dozens of peo­ple were sent to meet their maker at this par­tic­u­lar gib­bet, the first recorded one in 1286, and the last in 1650, when the use of it was for­bid­den by one Oliver Cromwell, the man who, you’ll re­call, was in­stru­men­tal in hav­ing Charles I be­headed.

At one time, in the reign of Ed­ward I, there were 92 gib­bets op­er­at­ing across York­shire, and you only had to steal a few pence, or be guilty of a very mi­nor mis­de­meanour, to end up at or on one of them. Hal­i­fax in par­tic­u­lar, had a strict at­ti­tude to­ward law en­force­ment, and car­ried on us­ing their gib­bet long af­ter other towns had aban­doned theirs.

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