1. The Rack (or The Duke of Exeter’s Daughter)
The rack was a very popular torture device with a very simple function – to stretch a victim on a wooden frame until the pain was unimaginable. Legs were tied at one bottom of a roller, with the wrists tied at the top. The body was then pulled until confession. The sound of snapping cartilage and ligaments was said to be most gruesome. Worst – once a body is stretched beyond a certain point, even if the torture is stopped, the muscle fibres lose their ability to contract, thus crippling the person for the rest of their lives. Pray for just a few broken bones then if you ever find yourself on one.
The rack in the Tower of London was called “The Duke of Exeter’s Daughter” – named after the constable of the Tower of London in 1447, John Holland, the 2nd Duke of Exeter. Lovely.
Most famously tortured: Guy Fawkes, the head of the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605 to blow up the Houses of Parliament.