By Geoffrey Abbott, G. (Geoffrey) Abbott, Jeremy Beadle
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One wonders whether, after that number, there was anything worthwhile left to aim at. indd 42 12/04/2006 14:48:27 PART TWO: THE UNFORTUNATE VICTIMS The Axe Arthur Elphinstone, 6th Baron Balmerino After the battle against the Scots at Culloden in 1745, Lord Balmerino, Colonel of the Horse Guards, was captured and imprisoned in the Byward Tower of the Tower of London. He was taken to face trial in Westminster Hall, not by being marched through the streets but, unusually, by coach. This departure from tradition caused the authorities some problems, one being where Mr Fowler, the Gentleman Gaoler of the Tower, would travel, for his role was to escort the prisoner at all times.
Nor was that all, for what really hurt, in more ways than one, was that his sentence included being taken to Westminster where the public executioner removed one of his ears, and from thence to Cheapside, where the other was similarly amputated. Nor was the front of his face overlooked; an additional penalty required his nose to be slit down the centre. One hopes that he could see without the need for spectacles or pince-nez. Far from being cowed into submission, the now no longer good-looking author proceeded to publish pamphlets criticising the bishops, hardly a wise move, for once again he was brought to trial.
Great efforts were made to save him; his father, the Duke of Bedford, offered the King the phenomenal sum of £100,000 for a royal reprieve, and Lady Russell, the condemned man’s wife, went to the court and, throwing herself at Charles’ feet, begged him for mercy, but to no avail. indd 54 12/04/2006 14:48:32 AXE erected at Lincoln’s Inn Fields in London, where awaited the other equally terrifying member of the judicial duo, executioner Jack Ketch. ’ After praying, he removed his peruke (wig), cravat and coat, then handed Ketch ten gold guineas, saying that the executioner should strike without waiting for a sign.
Amazing True Stories of Execution Blunde by Geoffrey Abbott, G. (Geoffrey) Abbott, Jeremy Beadle