Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/36

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fastened that cometh down among the people, so that, when the offender hath made his confession and hath laid his neck over the nethermost block, every man there present doth either take hold of the rope (or putteth forth his arm so near to the same as he can get, in token that he is willing to see true justice executed), and, pulling out the pin in this manner, the head-block wherein the axe is fastened doth fall with such a violence that, if the neck of the transgressor were as big as that of a bull, it should be cut asunder at a stroke and roll from the body by a huge distance. If it be so that the offender be apprehended for an ox, oxen, sheep, kine, horse, or any such cattle, the self beast, or other of the same kind shall have the end of the rope tied somewhere unto them, so that they, being driven, do draw out the pin, whereby the offender is executed. Thus much of Halifax law, which I set down only to show the custom of that country in this behalf." (P. 243.)

Felons who, when apprehended, refused to speak at their arraignment were pressed to death. A sharp stone was placed under the back, and heavy weights placed upon the breast, one after another till the victim was dead. If one man poisoned another, he was boiled to death in brine or lead; but if a woman poisoned her husband she was burned alive. Heretics were also burned at