Stinky History: 6 of England’s worst medieval torture devices

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Stinky History is a new look at British history on Blimey! Why Stinky? Imagine living in medieval times and walking down the streets of York in northern England. I choose York because this is one of the only medieval streets still in excellent preservation, that one can experience in person. The ancient buildings lean towards one another on a very narrow street and everything feels very tightly cramped. Now, imagine the gutters over flowing with the blood and offal of animals that were butchered right there in the road. Add the smell of people throwing out their toilet waste and a few other odds and ends.  And I’m sure you can imagine the stench in such times.

Blood, disease, and stink. It was an incredibly unpleasant time to have existed. The fact that you’re here right now is, quite literally, a miracle when you consider what your ancestors went through.

Consider this.  What if you were a revolutionary? Or, someone who didn’t follow the political class? Or, perhaps  you were simply caught up in the events of the day – wrong place, wrong time? Well, in Medieval England there were plenty of ways to torture you…and here are 6 of the worst medieval England torture devices. I’ll never complain about Americans not knowing how to queue at TJ Maxx again.

Note: Many of the following could also be considered different methods of capital punishment. But in the medieval world, the line between torture and execution was so blurred I’m including them together in one foul, oozing painful boil.

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Blimey! is your daily dose of British news and features for anglophiles everywhere! This article was carefully written by Tim Holt, a British blogger, photographer and actor based back in the UK after many years of living in America. Forever torn between two magnificent slices of sod.

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