Posted by Victoria S Dennis on August 26, 2011 at 08:10
In Reply to: Drop of York posted by David Smith on August 24, 2011 at 15:53:
: :"The drop of York" This is a phrase which was commonly used in Sheffield where I lived as a young man, I allways understood it to refer to a medievel trial by ordeal, whereby a suspected felon would be dragged to a high point either on the city wall, or perhaps a church or cathedral, and thrown off! if the suspect survived the "drop" they would then be assumed to be innocent, however, if they were killed then it would be assumed that they were indeed guilty as charged, hence "the drop of York"
This has been asked and a plausible explanation offered on this board before - see here: http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/24/messages/9.html. Certainly the explanation you grew up with is a total fantasy - English law before 1215 did indeed include trial by ordeal, but throwing people off high places wasn't ever a recognised form of trial by ordeal. (VSD)