Almost all countries in the world had capital punishment at some point. I understand that in the military, the executioner/hangman would also be a soldier when he is not executing people, but what about civilian/non-military executioners (I use this term as the condemned is not always hanged)?

What jobs did executioners in the UK/France, in the 19th and 20th centuries, have when they were not performing executions?

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    This is going to vary greatly by country and time. The famous British executioner, Albert Pierrepoint, ran a pub to make a living (and even executed one of his former customers, James Henry Corbitt).
    – Steve Bird
    Commented Apr 11, 2020 at 10:02
  • 2
    In some countries thay may have been state employees who worked inside the prison system. Commented Apr 11, 2020 at 10:43
  • 5
    In Berlanga's movie El verdugo (The executioner) the titular executioner has it as a side job for the benefits but has never executed anyone, whenever he sees people in a brawl he tries to pacify them to avoid someone ending up killed and being called to perform his job.
    – SJuan76
    Commented Apr 11, 2020 at 12:38
  • 3
    @SteveBird I have revised the focus of my question
    – user41672
    Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 20:34
  • 4
    The question is more focused, but the answer can still only be a list of possible answers. There can be no single correct answer to this question. See moderators answer in Meta about list questions here
    – justCal
    Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 20:43

2 Answers 2


In the UK, executioners were civillians, contracted on a per-execution basis. They invariably had another job that provided their steady income. While doing an execution was reasonably well-paid, the demand was irregular, and the county sheriffs who hired them had several to choose from. They had trades like publican, bus driver, welder or quarryman - solid working-class occupations. Their prime qualifications were steady nerves and discretion.

Wikipedia's list of executioners has civilian occupations for many of them. UK executioners were also sometimes engaged for jobs in Ireland, or in Europe under British auspices. Albert Pierrepoint hanged over 200 German war criminals after WWII, over the course of several years.


In the case of Sweden, the last executioner Anders Gustaf Dalman was employed by one or more housing owners in Stockholm to care for their houses.

In Sweden executions was usually done with an axe (the last one Johan Alfred Ander was the only time the guillotine was used but Dalman was the executioner.)

His colleague Per Petter Christensson Steijnech was contracted for the execution of Nils Peter Hagström in 1887 and afterwards he emigrated to the USA (6 Juni 1887.)

Dalman was nominated as skarprättare (executioner) in Stockholm län (county) in 1885. Later on, 6 other counties nominated him as their executioner. In 1901 he was nominated as riksskarprättare (Sveriges's executioner.)

Dalman was until 1885 a soldier (corporal) by the Västmanlands regiement, Västerås.

  • i do not see how this is worthy of down-vote. It is on-topic and factual Commented Apr 15, 2020 at 7:52
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    @bigbadmouse It became a bit off-topic after Boolean focused on UK/France, but we can't blame Stefan, as he answered before the edit
    – Kepotx
    Commented Apr 15, 2020 at 12:25
  • @Kepotx thank you, I still think he deserved to be voted back up. Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 8:28

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