ABSTRACT

Certainly, the younger Hugh Despenser bled a lot at his execution in 1326 – yet blood is interestingly absent in the multiple accounts describing this event.2 In late medieval England the criminal body could be decapitated, disemboweled and dismembered, but it did not bleed – at least not in the narratives describing these executions. From the traitors dismembered by Edward I as he extended his authority over Scotland and Wales to the quartered omas Wyatt in 1554, the descriptions of these executions remained signi cantly bloodless.3