Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 428 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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THE SCOTTISH MAIDEN was an instrument of capital punishment formerly in use in Scotland. It is said to have been invented by the earl of Morton, who is also said to have been its first victim. This, however, could not have been the case, as the maiden was first used at the execution of the inferior agents in the assassination of Rizzio (1561) and Morton was not beheaded till 1581. The maiden was practically an early form of guillotine. A loaded blade or axe moving in grooves was fixed in a frame about ten feet high. The axe was raised to the full height of the frame and then released, severing the victim's head from his body. At least 120, suffered death by the maiden, including the regent Morton, Sir John Gordon of Haddo, President Spottiswood, the marquis and earl of Argyll. In 1710 it ceased to be used; it is now preserved in the museum of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, in Edinburgh.
THE SKULL FROM BEHIND (norma occipitalis) (fig. 3)

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The Scottish Madien's first known recorded use was in 1307.
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