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Bilboes, Bridals, and Gibbets

Poster: EoganOg@aol.com

In ae mailin datit 12/16/98 2:12:03 PM Eastern Standart Time, Kari scrieves:

> This was WONDERFUL!!  Got anything on the tortures he used (I'm asking this 
> for
>  a very good reason- not because I want to try any of them :) .  Also, did
>  use the Tower of London alot?  I know it was still in use for quite awhile
>  after him, but some used it more than others.  Thanks, Kari Kyst

Oh, goody!  I finally get to use this cool guide book to the Tower of London I
found years ago called "Torture & Punishment" (there's a title that just grabs
you, huh?)!

Torture has always been something kept in secret (for obvious reasons) and we
know very little about torture within the Tower of London prior to the
sixteenth century.  The Tudors provide us with ample information, however.
Here are some of the common impliments used:

Invented by John Holland, Duke of Exeter, constable of the Tower under Henry
VI.  AKA Duke of Exeter's Daughter.  It's severity could be increased very
gradualy and held at any desired point.  There are many reports of those who
were unable to walk or use their hands after being racked.  Guy Fawkes was
racked, and the signiture on the confession he signed afterwards is almost
illegible.  Last recorded use of the rack was 1640 on John Archer.

AKA Skeffington's Gyves, after Leonard Skeffington who invented it as
Leutenant of the Tower under Henry VIII.  Mainly used in the 16th century as
an alternative to the rack, it crushed the body instead of stretched it.

The wrists of the victim were locked in a pair of iron fetters, joined by
either chain or bar.  This was then hooked over a staple fixed high on the
wall, leaving the prisoner suspended.  This caused intense pain and the loss
of the use of hands for some time afterwards (but not permanantly, as was the
case with racking).  First recorded at the Tower in 1591, but afterwards is
mentioned with more frequency than any other torture.  They were used in other
prisons as well, unlike the rack and Scavenger's Daughter, which were confined
to the Tower.

This book mankes mention that the Tower also had various manacles and fetters
to restict movement, of course, and various lesser torture devices such as
"pilliwinks which crushed the hands (and which were replaced by thumbscrews in
the 17th century), and spiked collars for the neck."

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