E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
A machine resembling the guillotine for beheading criminals in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; brought to Scotland by the Regent Morton from Halifax, in Yorkshire, for the purpose of beheading the laird of Pennycuick. It was also called the widow.
He who invented the maiden first hanselled it. Referring to Regent Morton, who introduced this sort of guillotine into Scotland, erroneously said to have been the first to suffer by it. Thomas Scott, one of the murderers of Rizzio, was beheaded by it in 1566, fifteen years before Mortons execution.