The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2190  Thursday, 9 December 1999.

From:           F. Nicholas Clary <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 8 Dec 1999 16:01:30 -0500
Subject:        Executioners

Can anyone tell me whether there is an English rubric that denies
funeral, funeral procession, and churchyard burial to the spouse of an
executioner (circa 1450)?

Also, is anyone familiar with two superstitions from the same period
concerning the construction of a gallows: first, that the bark must be
stripped bare from the wood of the gallows so that the criminal's demons
could hide under the bark after the execution; second, that the whole
town helped raise the gallows, with no one pounding in more than a
single nail, so that the condemned man might not exact retribution from
any one person from the other side of the grave and only the executioner
would have blood on his hands?

Nick Clary

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