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timothykinney's avatar

William Wallace, patriot of Scotland, was "bound to a hurdle" as part of his punishment for "treason". What does this practice actually entail?

Asked by timothykinney (2728 points ) May 31st, 2008

“Wallace, bound to a hurdle, was pulled behind a horse from Westminster to the Tower…” (“The Survival of Scotland” by Eric Linklater, pg. 57, 1968, Double Day, New York)

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4 Answers

Seesul's avatar

In those days, one definition of a hurdle was a sled, usually tied behind a horse for execution. Bound should be obvious. In those days, execution was a multi-step process, that part, being probably the least gruesome of the experience.

timothykinney's avatar

Yeah, I have a general picture of what is happening since the convicted is being dragged behind the horse. What I’m looking for is an accurate historical picture of what kind of device the hurdle was. Thank you for your response.

Seesul's avatar

Did you come across this yet? Still looking for a drawing. According to this, it wasn’t wheeled, just a piece of fence.
http://www.baronage.co.uk/bphtm-01/wallace3.html

Seesul's avatar

The only thing that I can come up with are modern day makers of livestock hurdles. I found those by googling hurdles william wallace and then clicking on google images. I’ve seen those and they are mainly made of willow, and I don’t know if that type of fence would have made it, being dragged through the streets. I would think in the emotion and mob reaction of the time and the situation, they would have just grabbed the nearest piece of fencing available. Maybe they built a custom piece, but I doubt it. Fences in London proper were probably studier than livestock fences, especially around the area that the execution took place.

I didn’t get to the Tower the last time I was there, but perhaps someone out there can remember seeing something on display. I know the film took a lot of liberties with the story, merely trying to portray the essence, but straying away from fact a great deal.

Good luck in your search. There has to be some sort of book that has illustrations on this type of stuff.

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