The History of Gibbeting

The History of Gibbeting

Britain's Most Brutal Punishment

Samantha Priestley


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An eye-opening guide to the public execution practice of hanging criminals in body-shaped cages as a crime deterrent or religious punishment.

The history of gibbeting is the story of one of Britain’s most brutal forms of punishments, the hanging of criminals in a body shaped metal cage as a warning and as a form of justice. From the folklore of live gibbetings to the eerie historical documenting of this weird post-execution tradition, The History of Gibbeting examines how and why we dealt with murderers and other serious criminals in this way. The book uses case studies through history and takes a look at how the introduction of the Murder Act shaped our relationship with gibbeting for years to come, and how we as a society demanded the most shocking post-mortem treatment of criminals. Whether gibbeting was ever a successful deterrent, it is still a fascination today and gibbet cages remain on display in museums all over the country.

“I have to say that I was not aware that gibbeting involved metal cages, nor how society clamored for post-mortems on gibbeted victims. Absolutely fascinating, but not for the faint-hearted!” —Books Monthly


Samantha Priestley:
Samantha is a writer based in Sheffield, England. She won the H E Bates competition and The Tacchi-Morris Prize for short stories. Her chapbooks, Dreamers and Orange Balloon, are published by Folded Word. She is the author of the novels Despite losing it on Finkle Street, Reliability of Rope, and A Bad Winter. Samantha writes short stories for the Slumber app and a monthly column, InOrganic, at Folded Word. She lives in north Sheffield with her partner, two daughters, two dogs and one cat.