19th Century Crime and Punishment
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Last beheading

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Hanging, drawing & quartering remained the lawful punishment for treason. The 1745 Jacobite Rebellion led to 91 sentences passed by a Commission at Carlisle. However after this it was not used often as it was considered so barbaric. Governments became concerned about public opinion. Ordinary hanging (until dead) replaced it. Although the Monarch could still order beheading and quartering of the body, the cutting down of the prisoner whilst still alive and disembowlment ceased. It was not until the Forfeiture Act of 1870 that all reference to drawing and quartering was removed from the Statute Book. The five Cato Street conspirators became the last to suffer this fate when they were executed in front of Newgate prison on May the 1st 1820 for conspiring to murder several members of the Cabinet. They were a group of middle aged men including Arthur Thistlewood, the last man to be beheaded after being hung.

1st Sep 2007 by Diane Earl


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Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 4+

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