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Beheading machine, known as The Maiden

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from Edinburgh

Beheading machine, known as The Maiden
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This beheading machine, called 'The Maiden', was the only one of its kind in Scotland. It was used to carry out around one hundred public executions in Edinburgh between 1564 and 1710.

The machine was operated by a lever at the back. This lever held a rope which was attached to the blade via a pulley at the top. When the lever was pressed, the rope was released and the blade fell.

Beheading was usually done by axe, but this could be messy with the executioner taking several attempts to remove the head. A beheading machine ensured the head came off cleanly in one mighty chop.

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