To Hell, Hull or Halifax

Updated: 3 days ago


The Halifax Gibbet was an early guillotine used in the town of Halifax West Yorkshire years before it was used in France. During the 16th century, it was used as an alternative to beheading by axe or sword. Halifax was once part of the Manor of Wakefield, where ancient custom and law gave the Lord of the Manor the authority to execute summarily by decapitation any thief caught with stolen goods to the value of 13½ shillings, a petty crime, or who confessed to having stolen goods of at least that value. Decapitation was a fairly common method of execution in England, but Halifax was unusual in two respects: it employed a guillotine-like machine that appears to have been unique in the country, and it continued to decapitate petty criminals until the mid-17th century, the setting for my next novel 'Dream of Courage'.


The device consisted of an axe head fitted to the base of a heavy wooden block that ran in grooves between two 15-foot (4.6 m) tall uprights, mounted on a stone base about 4 feet (1.2 m) high. A rope attached to the block ran over a pulley, allowing it to be raised, after which the rope was secured by attaching it to a pin in the base. The block carrying the axe was then released either by withdrawing the pin by the animal that was stolen or by the owner of the stolen goods.


Folklore tells the tale that if the perpetrator managed to move his head and escape to the other side of the river before the executioner could catch him, then he was set free.


The Halifax Gibbet plays a small part in my new novel 'Dream of Courage' but not the way you might imagine. I have never been a believer of blood and gore to make a story interesting but mention of it is appropriate to make the story believable and historically accurate, which makes my novels quite unique.






Paul Rushworth-Brown is the author of two novels:

Skulduggery- An exciting, mysterious, fictional and historically accurate adventure pulls no punches about the life and hardships of peasant farmers living on the moors of Yorkshire in 1590. Reading this novel, you will walk the moors around Haworth and try a jack of ale at the Kings Arms; you will laugh, cry and feel empathy for young Thomas Rushworth and his family who face the rigors of life living as copyholders on Lord Birkhead’s land at Green Hall. Shenanigans, murder, deception, and love will keep you enthralled right until the end, but be forewarned as the author paints a realistic, literary picture which quite easily places you amidst the tale.

Winter of Red- Come on this historic journey, which twists, turns and surprises until the very end. If you like history, adventure and intrigue with a dash of spirited love, then you will be engrossed by this tale of a peasant family unexpectedly getting caught up in the ravages of the English Civil War in 1642. Now turn the page, if you dare, and follow the exploits of Tommy Rushworth as he tries to stay alive after being absconded into the Parliamentary Army. You will fear for Thomas Rushworth, his father, who is racing against time to save him from a war he wanted no part of. Reading this novel one can immerse themselves within the tale and discover the more colourful, candid details of what it was like to live in this rebellious time.

Dream of Courage- Coming Soon

Sharon Whitham-Cole.jpg
Mother_Shipton_and_Cardinal_Wolsey.png

Ursula Sontheil, the Yorkshire Witch

unnamed (1).png

Background Picture

Sharon Whitlam Cole

Bernard Smith.jpg

SkulduggeryTM

Novels by Paul Rushworth-Brown

TALES FROM 16TH CENTURY YORKSHIRE

  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Facebook

Bachground Picture

Bernard Smith

©2020 by Skulduggery. Proudly created with Wix.com