E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Peine Forte et Dure.
A species of torture applied to contumacious felons. In the reign of Henri IV. the accused was pressed to death by weights; in later reigns the practice prevailed of tying the thumbs tightly together with whipcord, to induce the accused to plead. The following persons were pressed to death by weights:Juliana Quick, in 1442; Anthony Arrowsmith, in 1598; Walter Calverly, in 1605; Major Strangways, in 1657; and even in 1741 a person was pressed to death at the Cambridge assizes. Abolished 1772.