ABSTRACT

In 1381, when the people of St Albans took down the bodies gibbeted there in the a ermath of the Great Revolt, the king ordered them to return the decomposing bodies to the gibbet with their own hands. omas Walsingham describes this as a rather odious task as the bodies ‘were now oozing with decay, swarming with worms, were putrid and stinking, and exuding their foul odour upon them’.1 e rotting bodies in contention at St Albans were the nal act in a theatre of justice, which was why Richard II insisted they be returned to the gibbet. For in late medieval England rebels were not considered fully punished nor nally dead until their bodies had decayed into nothingness – and that took time.2