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Palgrave Historical Studies in the Criminal Corpse and its Afterlife
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Punishing the Criminal Corpse, 1700-1840

Aggravated Forms of the Death Penalty in England

Authors: King, Peter

  • Open Access
  • Provides the first substantial study of the role that punishing the criminal corpse played in seventeenth and eighteenth century English penal policy
  • Analyses the development of attitudes, legislative initiatives and policies in relation to post-execution punishment 
  • Provides insight into this neglected area of the history of capital punishment
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eBook  
  • ISBN 978-1-137-51361-8
  • This book is an open access book, you can download it for free on link.springer.com
Hardcover £20.00
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-51360-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book is open access under a CC BY 4.0 licence. 

This book analyses the different types of post-execution punishments and other aggravated execution practices, the reasons why they were advocated, and the decision, enshrined in the Murder Act of 1752, to make two post-execution punishments, dissection and gibbeting, an integral part of sentences for murder. It traces the origins of the Act, and then explores the ways in which Act was actually put into practice. After identifying the dominance of penal dissection throughout the period, it looks at the abandonment of burning at the stake in the 1790s, the rapid decline of hanging in chains just after 1800, and the final abandonment of both dissection and gibbeting in 1832 and 1834. It concludes that the Act, by creating differentiation in levels of penalty, played an important role within the broader capital punishment system well into the nineteenth century. While eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century historians have extensively studied the ‘Bloody Code’ and the resulting interactions around the ‘Hanging Tree’, they have largely ignored an important dimension of the capital punishment system – the courts extensive use of aggravated and post-execution punishments. With this book, Peter King aims to rectify this neglected historical phenomenon.

About the authors

Peter King is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Leicester, UK. He has published three books and over thirty articles on the history of crime and justice and the history of poverty and welfare in the period 1700-1850. His publications include Crime, Justice and Discretion in England 1740-1820 (2003) and Crime and Law in England 1740-1840: Remaking Justice from the Margins (2006). 

Table of contents (5 chapters)

  • Introduction

    King, Peter

    Pages 1-28

  • ‘Hanging not Punishment Enough’: Attitudes to Aggravated Forms of Execution and the Making of the Murder Act 1690–1752

    King, Peter

    Pages 29-75

  • Patterns of Post-execution Sentencing in England and Wales 1752–1834. The Murder Act in Operation

    King, Peter

    Pages 77-112

  • Changing Attitudes to Post-execution Punishment 1752–1834

    King, Peter

    Pages 113-182

  • Conclusion

    King, Peter

    Pages 183-203

Buy this book

eBook  
  • ISBN 978-1-137-51361-8
  • This book is an open access book, you can download it for free on link.springer.com
Hardcover £20.00
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-51360-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Punishing the Criminal Corpse, 1700-1840
Book Subtitle
Aggravated Forms of the Death Penalty in England
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Historical Studies in the Criminal Corpse and its Afterlife
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-51361-8
DOI
10.1057/978-1-137-51361-8
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-51360-1
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XV, 212
Number of Illustrations and Tables
3 b/w illustrations
Topics