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Drawing and quartering

Drawing and quartering was part of the penalty anciently ordained in England for treason. Until 1870 the full punishment for the crime was that the culprit be dragged on a hurdle to the place of execution; that he be hanged by the neck but not until he was dead; that he should be disembowelled and his entrails burned before his eyes; that his head be cut off and his body divided into four parts (quartered). There is confusion among modern historians about whether "drawing" referred to the dragging to the place of execution or the disembowelling.

This penalty was first inflicted in 1284 on the Welsh prince David ap Gruffydd, and on Sir William Wallace a few years later. Women were generally burned at the stake rather than being subjected to this punishment. Other notable victims of the punishment include Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot as well as Edward Marcus Despard[?] and his six accomplices who were hanged, drawn and quartered in 1803 for conspiring to assassinate George III. The sentence was last carried out in 1820 (though it was passed as late as 1867).

During the American Revolution, most captured colonists were treated as prisoners of war, rather than as traitors, and thus were spared this punishment.

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