Scope of Project
This project aims to identify people executed on order of the Kings and Queens of England and Great Britain.
Under the law of the United Kingdom, high treason is the crime of disloyalty to the Crown. Offences constituting high treason include plotting the murder of the sovereign; having sexual intercourse with the sovereign's consort, with his eldest unmarried daughter, or with the wife of the heir to the throne; levying war against the sovereign and adhering to the sovereign's enemies, giving them aid or comfort; and attempting to undermine the lawfully established line of succession. Several other crimes have historically been categorised as high treason, including counterfeiting money and being a Catholic priest.
High treason was formerly distinguished from petty treason, a treason committed against a subject of the sovereign, the scope of which was limited by statute to the murder of a legal superior. Petty treason comprised the murder of a master by his servant, of a husband by his wife, or of a bishop. Petty treason ceased to be a distinct offence from murder in 1828.
Considered to be the most serious of offences, high treason was often met with extraordinary punishment, because it threatened the security of the state. A particularly horrific manner of execution known as hanging, drawing and quartering was often employed. The last treason trial was that of William Joyce, who was executed in 1946.