Hangman's Wages

131/2d. The fee given to the executioner at Tyburn, with 1 1/2d. for the rope. This was the value of a Scotch merk, and therefore points to the reign of James, who decreed that “the coin of silver called the mark-piece shall be current within the kingdom at the value of 13 1/2d.” Noblemen who were to be beheaded were expected to give the executioner from 7 to 10 for cutting off their head.

For half of thirteen-pence ha'penny wages
I would have cleared all the town cages,
And you should have been rid of all the stages
I and my gallows groan.

The Hangman's Last Will and Testament. (Rump Songe.)

The present price (1894) is about 40. Calcraft's charge was 33 14s., plus assistant 5 5s., other fees 1 1s., to which he added “expenses for erecting the scaffold.”

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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