What Was A Gibbet Used For?


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Kath Senior answered
A gibbet was a high wooden post with an arm that stuck out at an angle of 90 degrees that was used to hang a metal cage containing the body of an executed criminal, or various body parts from executed criminals. Gibbets hung with these macabre contents were distributed throughout the countryside and were meant to act as a deterrent. Following the Assize of 1685, in which many rebels were executed for plotting against the crown, the judge of the time ordered that the bodies of those who where hanged for the role in the Monmouth Rebellion should be dismembered and hung on gibbets near every village.

The idea was to show what would happen to people if they took part in a future rebellion. The gibbets were usually placed at prominent crossroads and crossing points so that they could be seen by as many people as possible. These places were often surrounded in fear and lots of local superstitious stories sprang up about them.

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