Page:History of the Guillotine.djvu/51

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town trustees having, a few years since, purchased the Gibbet Hill, and having determined to reduce it to the level of the surrounding fields, this curious relic of antiquity was brought to light, and has been since carefully developed; and except some dilapidation of the upper surface and of one of the steps, it presents a perfect corroboration of the evidence of the prints. The ancient axe is still in the possession of the lord of the manor of Wakefield, to which this extraordinary jurisdiction belonged. Mr. Pennant had so recently as 1774 published an account of the Halifax gibbet, as we have described it, and adds,—

"This machine of death is now destroyed; but I saw one of the same kind in a room under the Parliament House at Edinburgh, where it was introduced by the Regent Morton, who took a model of it as he passed through Halifax, and at length suffered by it himself. It is in the form of a painter's easel, and about ten feet high: at four feet from the bottom is a crossbar, on which the felon places his head, which is kept down by another placed above. In the inner edges of the frame are grooves; in these are placed a sharp axe, with a vast weight of lead, supported at the very summit by a peg; to that peg is fastened a cord, which the executioner cutting, the axe falls, and does the affair effectually."—Pennant's Tour, vol. iii. p. 365.

This instrument, strangely called the Maiden, is still in existence in Edinburgh, and as it has never, that we know of, been engraved, we think the accompanying representation will not be unacceptable to our readers. It will be observed that, in this