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A tumbrel conveying prisoners to the guillotine (19th century illustration)

A tumbrel (alternatively tumbril), is a two-wheeled cart or wagon typically designed to be hauled by a single horse or ox. Their original use was for agricultural work; in particular they were associated with carrying manure. Their most notable use was taking prisoners to the guillotine during the French Revolution. They were also used by the military for hauling supplies. In this use the carts were sometimes covered. The two wheels allowed the cart to be tilted to more easily discharge its load.[1] The word is also used as a name for the cucking-stool and for a type of balancing scale used in medieval times to check the weight of coins [2]


  1. ^ "Tumbrel". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2011-05-01. 
  2. ^ Chris Marshall. "The Medieval Tumbrel". Retrieved 2014-02-04.