The Scottish Maiden

"The Scottish Maiden was made of oak, and consisted of a sole beam 5 feet in length into which were fixed two upright posts 10 feet in height, 4 inches broad and 12 inches apart from each other, and 3 1/2 inches in thickness, with bevelled corners. These posts were kept steady by a brace at each side which sprung from the end of the sole and was fastened to the uprights 4 feet from the bottom.

The top of the posts were fixed into a cross rail 2 feet in length. The block was a transverse bar 3 1/4 inches in thickness, and a hollow on the upper edge of this bar was filled with lead.

The axe consisted of a plate of iron faced with steel; It measured 13 inches in length and 10 1/2 inches in breadth. On the upper edge of the plate was fixed a mass of lead 75 pounds in weight. This blade worked in grooves cut on the inner edges of the uprights, which were lined with copper."

The Maiden was used from 1564 up to 1710. Over 150 people had been executed with this device.

The Maiden is on display at the National Museums Scotland in Edinburg

Photo of The Scottish Maiden