Condemned prisoners of higher station were spared the suffering of hanging or burning at the stake and were instead afforded a more "humane" death by beheading. Typical of the implements used are this block and axe. It was customary for the condemned to pay his or her executioner a sum of money just prior to execution as an inducement for the executioner to complete the job in a single stroke. This block and axe was not used in the execution of Queen Anne Boleyn. Anne Boleyn was beheaded by a swordsman from France who was hired by Henry VIII expressly for the job. Anne Boleyn went to her knees on the scaffold but otherwise remained erect as the executioner severed her head in a single horizontal stroke of his sword.