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Beheading machine (detail), known as The Maiden

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from Edinburgh

Beheading machine (detail), known as The Maiden
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This is a detail of a beheading machine called 'The Maiden', the only one of its kind in Scotland. The detail shows the blade.

The blade is 36 centimetres wide and is made of iron edged with steel. It weighted with a 34 kilogramme block of lead.

'The Maiden' was used to carry out around one hundred public executions in Edinburgh between 1564 and 1710. Executions took place in open spaces. A popular place in Edinburgh was by the Mercat Cross. It was close to the old Tolbooth, where the criminal was imprisoned before his or her death. Other popular places in Edinburgh were the Grassmarket and Castle Hill, where large crowds could gather. A platform was built for each execution so that people could see the Maiden more easily.

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