The hangmen themselves before proceeding to their gruesome business used to beg for the victim's forgiveness. Often they found it hard to get married, with the result that in sixteenth century england, for example, they received permission to cohabit with the dead.
The mind boggles. The library copy of the book I'm reading has a pencil marking at this point saying "Footnote?" and I have to agree with that anonymous critic. It's such a peculiar notion some explanation might have been expected. I'm assuming this is not cohabitation in the sexual sense - state sponsored necrophilia, even in the sixteenth century, seems unlikely - but I'd like to know more about it all the same.
(And I'm willing to bet this post brings some unusual surfers to the blog via Google searches...)