Bygone Punishments
by William Andrews
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The poet Shelley is said to have witnessed the painful spectacle. On the previous day had passed away in childbirth the Princess Charlotte. The two circumstances formed the subject of an able pamphlet, drawing a contrast between the deaths, and furnishing a description of the scene within and without the prison at Derby. "When Edward Turner (one of those transported)," says Shelley, "saw his brother dragged along upon the hurdle, he shrieked horribly, and fell in a fit, and was carried away like a corpse by two men. How fearful must have been their agony sitting in solitude that day when the tempestuous voice of horror from the crowd told them that the head so dear to them was severed from the body! Yes, they listened to the maddening shriek which burst from the multitude; they heard the rush of ten thousand terror-stricken feet, the groans and hootings which told them that the mangled and distorted head was then lifted in the air." The title of Shelley's pamphlet is "We pity the Plumage, but forget the Dying Bird. An Address to the People on the Death of the Princess Charlotte. By the Hermit of Marlow."

On the same night the three executed men were buried without any religious service in one grave in the churchyard of St. Werburgh, Derby.

When Dr. Cox was preparing for the press his "Three Centuries of Derbyshire Annals," he saw the block on which these men were beheaded and supplies a description of it as follows: "It consists of two two and a half inch planks fastened together; it is six feet six inches long by two feet wide. Six inches from one end a piece of wood is nailed across three inches high. The whole is tarred over, but the old warder drew our attention to the fact that, though the cell where it is kept is very dry, the wood is still in places damp. It is a gaol tradition that the blood of these unhappy men shed in 1817 has never and will never dry."

On May 1st, 1820, the Cato Street Conspirators were, after death by hanging, beheaded. This is the latest instance of the ancient custom being maintained in this country. In connection with this subject we may perhaps be permitted to draw attention to a chapter by us in "England in the Days of Old" (1897), entitled "Rebel Heads on City Gates;" it includes much curious information bearing on this theme.

We must not omit to state that the great agitator against the continuance of the barbarities of hanging, drawing and quartering was Sir Samuel Romilly, who in the reign of George III., brought upon himself the odium of the law-officers of the Crown, who declared he was "breaking down the bulwarks of the constitution." By his earnest exertions, however, the punishment was carried out in a manner more amenable to the dictates of mercy and humanity.


[19] Cox's "Three Centuries of Derbyshire Annals," 1888.

[20] The Examiner.

Pressing to Death.

One of the most barbarous and cruel of the punishments of our English statutes was that distinguished by the name of Peine forte et dure, or pressing to death with every aggravation of torture. It was adopted as a manner of punishment suitable to cases where the accused refused to plead, and was commuted about the year 1406 from the older method of merely starving the prisoner to death. At that time the alteration was considered to be decidedly according to the dictates of humanity and mercy, as the sooner relieving the accused from his sufferings. Such was the small value set upon human life in those dark days of British justice.

The manner in which this exceedingly great torture was inflicted was as follows: "That the prisoner shall be remanded to the place from whence he came, and put in some low, dark room, and there laid on his back, without any manner of covering except a cloth round his middle; and that as many weights shall be laid upon him as he can bear, and more; and that he shall have no more sustenance but of the worst bread and water, and that he shall not eat the same day on which he drinks, nor drink the same day on which he eats; and he shall so continue till he die." At a later period, the form of sentence was altered to the following: "That the prisoner shall be remanded to the place from whence he came, and put in some low, dark room; that he shall lie without any litter or anything under him, and that one arm shall be drawn to one quarter of the room with a cord, and the other to another, and that his feet shall be used in the same manner, and that as many weights shall be laid on him as he can bear, and more. That he shall have three morsels of barley bread a day, and that he shall have the water next the prison, so that it be not current, and that he shall not eat," etc. The object of this protracted punishment was to allow the victim, at almost every stage of the torture, to plead, and thus allow the law to take its ordinary course. The object of the persons who have refused to plead was, that any person who died under the Peine forte et dure could transmit his estates to his children, or will them as he desired; whereas, if he were found guilty, they would be forfeited to the Crown. In connection with this, it may be mentioned that when the practice of pressing to death had become nearly extinct, prisoners who declined to plead were tortured, in order to compel them to do so, by twisting and screwing their thumbs with whipcord.

In 1721, a woman named Mary Andrews was subjected to this punishment. After bearing with fortitude the first three whipcords, which broke from the violence of the twisting, she submitted to plead at the fourth.

Baron Carter, at the Cambridge Assizes, in 1741, ordered a prisoner, who refused to plead, to have his thumbs twisted with cords, and when that was without avail, inflicted the higher penalty of pressing. Baron Thompson, about the same time, at the Sussex Assizes, treated a prisoner in a precisely similar manner.

A like method was pursued in 1721, with Nathaniel Hawes, a prisoner who refused to plead; when the cord proved inefficacious, a weight of 250 pounds was laid upon him, after which he decided to plead. The same year seems prolific of cases of this character, there being particulars of an instance in the Nottingham Mercury of January 19th, 1721. They are included in the London news, and are as follow: "Yesterday the sessions began at the Old Bailey, where several persons were brought to the bar for highway robbery, etc. Among them were the highwaymen lately taken at Westminster, two of whom, namely, Thomas Green, alias Phillips, and Thomas Spiggot, refusing to plead, the court proceeded to pass the following sentence upon them: 'that the prisoner shall be,' etc. [the usual form, as given above]. The former, on sight of the terrible machine, desired to be carried back to the sessions house, where he pleaded not guilty. But the other, who behaved himself very insolently to the ordinary who was ordered to attend him, seemingly resolved to undergo the torture. Accordingly, when they brought cords, as usual, to tie him, he broke them three several times like a twine-thread, and told them if they brought cables he would serve them after the same manner. But, however, they found means to tie him to the ground, having his limbs extended; but after, enduring the punishment for an hour, and having three or four hundredweight put on him, he at last submitted to plead, and was carried back, when he pleaded not guilty."

The Rev. Mr. Willette, the ordinary of the prison, in 1776, published the "Annals of Newgate," and from these we learn further particulars of the torture of the highwayman, Thomas Spiggot. "The chaplain found him lying in the vault upon the bare ground, with 350 pounds weight upon his breast, and then prayed with him, and at several times asked him why he should hazard his soul by such obstinate kind of self-murder. But all the answer that he made was, 'Pray for me; pray for me.' He sometimes lay silent under the pressure as if insensible to the pain, and then again would fetch his breath very quick and short. Several times he complained that they had laid a cruel weight upon his face, though it was covered with nothing but a thin cloth, which was afterwards removed and laid more light and hollow; yet he still complained of the prodigious weight upon his face, which might be caused by the blood being forced up thither and pressing the veins so violently as if the force had been externally on his face. When he had remained for half-an-hour under this load, and fifty pounds weight more laid on, being in all four hundred, he told those who attended him he would plead. The weights were at once taken off, the cords cut asunder; he was raised up by two men, some brandy put into his mouth to revive him, and he was carried to take his trial." The practice of Peine forte et dure gave the name of "Press-yard" to a part of Newgate, and the terrible machine above referred to was probably in the form of a rack.

We require to go further back to find instances of a fatal termination to the punishment. Such a case occurred in 1676. One Major Strangeways and his sister held in joint possession a farm, but the lady becoming intimate with a lawyer named Fussell, to whom the Major took a strong dislike, he threatened that if she married the lawyer he would, in his office or elsewhere, be the death of him. Surely, Fussell was one day found shot dead in his London apartments, and suspicion at once fell upon the officer, and he was arrested. At first he was willing to be subjected to the ordeal of touch, but when placed upon trial, resolved not to allow any chance of his being found guilty, and so refused to plead, in order that his estates might go to whom he willed. Glynn was the Lord Chief Justice on this occasion, and in passing the usual sentence for Peine forte et dure, used instead of the word "weights," as above, the words "as much iron and stone as he can bear," doubtless to suit the prison convenience, and make the sentence perfectly legal. He was to have three morsels of barley bread every alternate day, and three draughts of "the water in the next channel to the prison door, but of no spring or fountain water," the sentence concluding, "and this shall be his punishment till he die." This was probably on the Saturday, for on the Monday morning following, it is stated, the condemned was draped in white garments, and also wore a mourning cloak, as though in mourning for his own forthcoming death. It is curious to notice that his friends were present at his death, which was so much modified from the lengthy process that his sentence conveys as to be in fact an execution, in which these same friends assisted. They stood "at the corner of the press," and when he gave them to understand that he was ready, they forthwith proceeded to pile stone and iron upon him. The amount of weight was insufficient to kill him, for although he gasped, "Lord Jesus, receive my soul," he still continued alive until his friends, to hasten his departure, stood upon the weights, a course which in about ten minutes placed him beyond the reach of the human barbarity which imposed upon friendship so horrible a task.

In 1827, an Act was passed which directs the court to enter a plea of "not guilty," when a prisoner refuses to plead. It is surprising that the inhuman practice of pressing to death should have lingered so long. In this chapter we have only given particulars of a few of the many cases which have come under our notice in the legal byways of old England.


Among the nations of antiquity, drowning was a very common mode of execution. Four-and-a-half centuries before the birth of Christ, the Britons inflicted death by drowning in a quagmire. In Anglo-Saxon times women found guilty of theft were drowned. For a long period in the Middle Ages, the barons and others who had the power of administering laws in their respective districts possessed a drowning pit and a gallows.

Drowning was a punishment of King Richard of the Lion Heart, who ordained by a decree that it should be the doom of any soldier of his army who killed a fellow-crusader during the passage to the Holy Land.

The owner of Baynard's Castle, London, in the reign of John, had the power of trying criminals, and his descendants long afterwards claimed the privilege, the most valued of which was the right of drowning, in the Thames, traitors taken within the limits of his territory.[21]

Bearing on this subject the annals of Sandwich supply some important information. It is recorded, that in the year 1313, "a presentment was made before the itinerant Justices at Canterbury, that the prior of Christ Church had, for nine years, obstructed the high road leading from Dover Castle to Sandwich by the sea-shore by a water-mill, and the diversion of a stream called the Gestlyng, where felons condemned to death within the hundred should be drowned, but could not be executed that way for want of water. Further, that he raised a certain gutter four feet, and the water that passed that way to the gutter ran to the place where the convicts were drowned, and from whence their bodies were floated to the river, and that after the gutter was raised the drowned bodies could not be carried into the river by the stream, as they used to be, for want of water."[22]

Drowning was not infrequently awarded as a matter of leniency, and as a commutation of what were considered more severe forms of death. We have an instance of such a case in Scotland in 1556, when a man who had been found guilty of theft and sacrilege was ordered to be put to death by drowning "by the Queen's special grace." At Edinburgh, in 1611, a man was drowned for stealing a lamb; and in 1623 eleven gipsey women were condemned to be drowned at Edinburgh in the Nor' Loch. On the 11th May, 1685, Margaret M'Lachlan, aged sixty-three years, and Margaret Wilson, a girl of eighteen years, were drowned in the waters of Blednoch, for denying that James VII. of Scotland was entitled to rule the Church according to his pleasure. Six years prior to this, namely, on the 25th August, 1679, a woman called Janet Grant was tried for theft, in the baronial court of Sir Robert Gordon, of Gordonston, held at Drainie, and pleaded guilty. She was sentenced to be drowned next day in the Loch of Spynie.

In France, drowning was a capital punishment as late as 1793, but in Scotland we do not trace it later than 1685, and in England it was discontinued about the commencement of the seventeenth century.


[21] Pike's "History of Crime in England," 1873.

[22] Boys's "History of Sandwich."

Burning to Death.

Burning to death was a frequent method of punishment in the barbarous days of many nations. In our own country it was used by the Anglo-Saxons as the penalty of certain crimes, and, as the ordinary punishment of witchcraft, it was maintained throughout the Middle Ages.

Burning alive was from early times the recognised method of uprooting heretical notions of religious belief of every class. The first to suffer from this cause in England was Alban, who died at the stake in the year A.D. 304. Since his day, thousands have suffered death on account of their religious belief, through intolerance; but that is not a subject we intend dealing with at the present time.

We desire to direct attention to some of the cases of the burning alive of women for civil offences. This practice was considered by the framers of the law as a commutation of the sentence of hanging, and a concession made to the sex of the offenders. "For as the decency due to the sex," says Blackstone, "forbids the exposing and publicly mangling their bodies, their sentence (which is to the full as terrible to sensation as the other) is, to be drawn to the gallows, and there to be burnt alive;" and he adds: "the humanity of the English nation has authorised, by a tacit consent, an almost general mitigation of such part of these judgments as savours of torture and cruelty, a sledge or hurdle being usually allowed to such traitors as are condemned to be drawn, and there being very few instances (and those accidental and by negligence) of any persons being disemboweled or burnt till previously deprived of sensation by strangling."

We gather from the annals of King's Lynn that, in the year 1515, a woman was burnt in the market-place for the murder of her husband. Twenty years later, a Dutchman was burnt for reputed heresy. In the same town, in 1590, Margaret Read was burnt for witchcraft. Eight years later, a woman was executed for witchcraft, and in the year 1616, another woman suffered death for the same crime. In 1791, at King's Lynn, the landlady of a public-house was murdered by a man let into the house at the dead of night by a servant girl. The man was hanged for committing the crime, and the girl was burnt at the stake for assisting the murderer to enter the dwelling.

There is an account of a burning at Lincoln, in 1722. Eleanor Elsom was condemned to death for the murder of her husband, and was ordered to be burnt at the stake. She was clothed in a cloth, "made like a shift," saturated with tar, and her limbs were also smeared with the same inflammable substance, while a tarred bonnet had been placed on her head. She was brought out of the prison barefoot, and, being put on a hurdle, was drawn on a sledge to the place of execution near the gallows. Upon arrival, some time was passed in prayer, after which the executioner placed her on a tar barrel, a height of three feet, against the stake. A rope ran through a pulley in the stake, and was placed around her neck, she herself fixing it with her hands. Three irons also held her body to the stake, and the rope being pulled tight, the tar barrel was taken aside and the fire lighted. The details in the "Lincoln Date Book" state that she was probably quite dead before the fire reached her, as the executioner pulled upon the rope several times whilst the irons were being fixed. The body was seen amid the flames for nearly half-an-hour, though, through the dryness of the wood and the quantity of tar, the fire was exceedingly fierce.

An instance in which the negligence of the executioner caused death to be unnecessarily prolonged is found in the case of Catherine Hayes, who was executed at Tyburn, November 3rd, 1726, for the murder of her husband. She was being strangled in the accustomed manner, but the fire scorching the hands of the executioner, he relaxed the rope before she had become unconscious, and in spite of the efforts at once made to hasten combustion, she suffered for a considerable time the greatest agonies.

Two paragraphs, dealing with such cases, are in the London Magazine for July, 1735, and are as follow: "At the assizes, at Northampton, Mary Fawson was condemned to be burnt for poisoning her husband, and Elizabeth Wilson to be hanged for picking a farmer's pocket of thirty shillings."

"Among the persons capitally convicted at the assizes, at Chelmsford, are Herbert Hayns, one of Gregory's gang, who is to be hung in chains, and a woman, for poisoning her husband, is to be burnt."

In the next number of the same magazine, the first-mentioned criminal is again spoken of: "Mrs. Fawson was burnt at Northampton for poisoning her husband. Her behaviour in prison was with the utmost signs of contrition. She would not, to satisfy people's curiosity, be unveiled to anyone. She confessed the justice of her sentence, and died with great composure of mind." And also: "Margaret Onion was burnt at a stake at Chelmsford, for poisoning her husband. She was a poor, ignorant creature, and confessed the fact."

We obtain from Mr. John Glyde, jun., particulars of another case of burning for husband murder (styled petty treason). In April, 1763, Margery Beddingfield, and a farm servant, named Richard Ringe, her paramour, had murdered John Beddingfield, of Sternfield. The latter criminal was the actual murderer, his wife being considered an accomplice. He was condemned to be hanged and she burnt, at the same time and place, and her sentence was that she should "be taken from hence to the place from whence you came, and thence to the place of execution, on Saturday next, where you are to be burnt until you be dead: and the Lord have mercy on your soul." Accordingly, on the day appointed, she was taken to Rushmere Heath, near Ipswich, and there strangled and burnt.[23]

Coining was, until a late period, an offence which met with capital punishment. In May, 1777, a girl of little more than fourteen years of age had, at her master's command, concealed a number of whitewashed farthings to represent shillings, for which she was found guilty of treason, and sentenced to be burnt. Her master was already hanged, and the fagots but awaiting the application of the match to blaze in fury around her, when Lord Weymouth, who happened to be passing that way, humanely interfered. Said a writer in the Quarterly Review, "a mere accident saved the nation from this crime and this national disgrace."

In Harrison's Derby and Nottingham Journal, for September 23rd, 1779, is an account of two persons who were several days previously tried and convicted for high treason, the indictment being for coining shillings in Cold Bath Field, and for coining shillings in Nag's Head Yard, Bishopsgate Street. The culprit in the latter case was a man named John Fields, and in the former a woman called Isabella Condon. They were sentenced to be drawn on a hurdle to the place of execution, the man to be hanged and the woman burnt.

Phoebe Harris, in 1786, was burnt in front of Newgate. The Chelmsford Chronicle of June 23rd, 1786, gives an account of her execution. After furnishing particulars of six men being hanged for various crimes, the report says:

"About a quarter of an hour after the platform had dropped, the female convicted" (Phoebe Harris, convicted of counterfeiting the coin called shillings) "was led by two officers of justice from Newgate to a stake fixed in the ground about midway between the scaffold and the pump. The stake was about eleven feet high, and, near the top of it was inserted a curved piece of iron, to which the end of the halter was tied. The prisoner stood on a low stool, which, after the ordinary had prayed with her a short time, being taken away, she was suspended by the neck (her feet being scarcely more than twelve or fourteen inches from the pavement). Soon after the signs of life had ceased, two cart-loads of fagots were placed round her and set on fire; the flames presently burning the halter, the convict fell a few inches, and was then sustained by an iron chain passed over her chest and affixed to the stake. Some scattered remains of the body were perceptible in the fire at half-past ten o'clock. The fire had not completely burnt out at twelve o'clock."

The latest instance on record is that of Christian Murphy, alias Bowman, who was burnt on March 18th, 1789, for coining.

The barbarous laws which permitted such repugnant exhibitions were repealed by the 30th George III., cap. 48, which provided that, after the 5th of June, 1790, women were to suffer hanging, as in the case of men.


[23] Glyde's "New Suffolk Garland," 1866.

Boiling to Death.

In the year 1531, when Henry VIII. was king, an act was passed for boiling poisoners to death. The preamble of the statute states that one Richard Roose or Coke, a cook, by putting poison in some food intended for the household of the Bishop of Rochester, and for the poor of the parish in which his lordship's palace was situated in Lambeth Marsh, occasioned the death of a man and a woman, and the serious illness of several others. He was found guilty of treason, and sentenced to be boiled to death, without benefit of clergy, that is, that no abatement of the sentence was to be made on account of his ecclesiastical connection, nor to be allowed any indemnity such as was commonly the privilege of clerical offenders. He was publicly boiled to death at Smithfield, and the act ordained that all manner of poisoners should meet with the same doom henceforth.

A maid-servant, for poisoning her mistress, was, in 1531, boiled to death in the market-place of King's Lynn. Another instance of a servant poisoning the persons with whom she lived was Margaret Davy, who perished at Smithfield, in 1542.

This cruel law did not remain long on the Statute Books; shortly after the death of Henry VIII., and in the reign of the next king, Edward VI., it was, in 1547 repealed. The punishment of boiling alive was by no means uncommon before the enactment of Henry VIII., both in England and on the Continent.


Beheading, as a mode of punishment, had an early origin. Amongst the Romans it was regarded as a most honourable death. It is asserted that it was introduced into England from Normandy by William the Conqueror, and intended for the putting to death of criminals belonging to the higher grades of society. The first person to suffer beheading was Waltheof, Earl of Huntingdon, Northampton, and Northumberland, in 1076.

Since the days of the first Norman king down to the time of George the Second in 1747, two monarchs, and not a few of the most notable of the nobility of Great Britain, at the Tower, Whitehall, near the historic Tolbooth of Edinburgh, and other places have closed their noble, and in some instances ignoble, careers at the hands of the headsman.

Charles I. is perhaps the most famous of kings that have been beheaded. On January 30th, 1649, on a scaffold raised before the Banqueting House at Whitehall, he was executed. Within the Banqueting Hall of the Castle of Fotheringay, on February 8th, 1587, the executioner from the Tower, after three blows from an axe, severed the head from the body of Mary, Queen of Scots. Her earlier years opened in the gay court of France, and was full of sunshine, but shadows gathered, and she was—

"A sad prisoner, passing weary years, In many castles, till at Fotheringay, The joyless life was ended."

Henry VIII. was a great king, but his cruel attitude towards his queens will ever diminish his glory; two of them were executed at his instigation at the Tower, namely, Anne Boleyn, on May 19th, 1536, and Katherine Howard, on February 13th, 1542. In the death at the block of Lady Jane Grey, "the nine days' queen," the scene is more pathetic and picturesque. On February 12th, 1553-4, she and her young husband, Lord Guildford Dudley, were executed at the Tower, the former on the Green within the ancient stronghold, and the latter on Tower Hill. The story of her unhappy fate is one of the most familiar pages of English history. Fuller said of this noble woman: "She had the innocency of childhood, the beauty of youth, the solidity of middle, the gravity of old age, and all at eighteen; the birth of a princess, the learning of a clerk, the life of a saint, and the death of a malefactor for her parents' offences."

Amongst the notable men who have suffered at the Tower, we must mention John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, beheaded on Tower Hill, June 23rd, 1535. He had nearly reached the age of four score years. The Pope, to spite Henry VIII., had sent the prelate a cardinal's hat, but the aged bishop had suffered death before it reached this country. Sir Thomas More was executed on July 6th, 1535. Like his friend Fisher, he refused submission to the Statute of Succession and to the King's Supremacy. The devotion of Margaret Roper to her father, Sir Thomas More, forms an attractive feature in the life story of this truly great man. After execution his head was spiked on London Bridge, and she bribed a man to move it, and drop it into a boat where she sat. She kept the sacred relic for many years, and at her death it was buried with her in a vault under St. Dunstan's Church, Canterbury.

George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford, was beheaded on May 17th, 1536, two days before the execution of his sister, Queen Anne Boleyn; and his wife, Jane, Viscountess Rochford, was beheaded at Tower Hill, with Katherine Howard, on February 13th, 1542, on the charge of having been an accomplice in the queen's treason. On July 28th, 1540, Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, was executed. Margaret Plantagenet, Countess of Salisbury, opposed the king and his government, and she was condemned for high treason. On May 27th, 1541, her earthly career closed. "The haughty old countess," it is recorded, "refused to lay her head upon the block, and the headsman had to follow her about the scaffold, and to 'fetch-off' her grey head 'slovenly' as he could."[24] She was nearly seventy years old.

The following are included in the list of notable men beheaded, and in most instances we are only able to give their names and dates of execution, but the story of their careers will be found in the pages of English history. Henry, Earl of Surrey, beheaded January 19th, 1546-7; Thomas, Lord Seymour of Sudeley, March 27th, 1548-9; Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, January 22nd, 1551-2; Sir Thomas Arundel, February 26th, 1551-2; John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, August 22nd, 1553. Next comes Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, executed February 22nd, 1553-4. He was the father of Lady Jane Grey. Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, suffered death June 2nd, 1572. On February 25th, 1600-1, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, was beheaded.

Sir Walter Raleigh was a many-sided man, the discoverer of North Carolina, the defender of his country, an author, a court favourite, and a man of undaunted courage. In the Tower he was long a prisoner, and there wrote some notable books, and the following hymn:—

"Rise, O my soul, with thy desires to heav'n, And with divinest contemplations use Thy time, where time's eternity is given, And let vain thoughts no more thy mind abuse; But down in darkness let them lie; So live thy better, let thy worse thoughts die.

"And thou, my soul, inspired with holy flame View and review, with most regardful eye, That holy cross, whence thy salvation came, On which thy Saviour and thy sin did die; For in that sacred object is much pleasure, And in that Saviour, is my life, my treasure.

"To Thee, O Jesu, I direct my eye; To Thee my hands, to Thee my humble knees, To Thee my heart shall offer sacrifice,— To Thee my thoughts, who my thoughts only sees; To Thee myself, myself and all, I give; To Thee I die, to Thee I only live."

On October 29th, 1618, Sir Walter Raleigh was executed at Whitehall under a sentence which had hung over his head for fifteen years.

On May 12th, 1641, was executed Wentworth, Earl of Strafford; and on January 10th, 1644-5, was beheaded Archbishop Laud. William Howard, Viscount Stafford, a victim of Oates's perjury, was executed on December 29th, 1680. "Having embraced and taken leave of his friends," says Bell, "he knelt down and placed his head on the block: the executioner raised the axe high in the air, but then checking himself suddenly lowered it. Stafford raised his head and asked the reason of the delay. The executioner said he waited the signal. 'I shall make no sign,' he answered, 'take your own time.' The executioner asked his forgiveness. 'I do forgive you,' replied Stafford, and placing his head again in position, at one blow it was severed from his body."[25]

A noted name in history comes next, the Duke of Monmouth. He was beheaded July 15th, 1685. "Here are six guineas for you," he said to the executioner, "and do not hack me as you did my Lord Russell. I have heard that you struck him three or four times. My servant will give you more gold if you do your work well." Then he undressed, felt the edge of the axe, and laid his head on the block. The executioner was unnerved, he raised his axe, but his arm trembled as it fell, and only a slight wound was inflicted. Several blows were given before the neck was severed.

We are now nearing the end of executions at the Tower, and only three more names occur. The cause of Prince Charlie was supported by not a few of the best blood of Scotland, but the battle of Culloden ended all hopes for the Pretender, and brought misery to many of his brave followers. William, Earl of Kilmarnock, and Arthur, Lord Balmerino, on August 18th, 1746, were beheaded for their devotion to the Jacobite cause. Simon, Lord Fraser of Lovat, had passed a shameless life, and little can be said in his favour. In 1715, he fought against Prince Charles Edward, but subsequently joined the Jacobites, and took part in the battle of Culloden. He managed to escape from the field after the engagement, and it was not until April 9th, 1747, that he was beheaded on Tower Hill. On reaching the scaffold, he asked for the executioner, and presented him with a purse containing ten guineas. He then asked to see the axe, felt its edge, and said he thought it would do. Next he looked at his coffin, on which was inscribed:—

SIMON, DOMINUS FRASER DE LOVAT, Decollat April 9, 1747, Aetat suae 80.

After repeating some lines from Horace, and next from Ovid, he prayed, then bade adieu to his solicitor and agent in Scotland; finally the executioner completed his work, the head falling from the body. Lord Lovat was the last person beheaded in this country.


[24] Wilson's "The Tower and the Scaffold," 1879.

[25] D. C. Bell's "Chapel of the Tower," 1877.

The Halifax Gibbet.

The mention of the Halifax gibbet suggests a popular Yorkshire saying: "From Hell, Hull and Halifax, good Lord, deliver us." Fuller says the foregoing is part of the "Beggars' and Vagrants' Litany," and goes on to state: "Of these three frightful things unto them, it is to be feared that they least fear the first, conceiving it the farthest from them. Hull is terrible to them as a town of good government, where beggars meet with punitive charity; and, it is to be feared, are oftener corrected than amended. Halifax is formidable for the law thereof, whereby thieves, taken in the very act of stealing cloth, are instantly beheaded with an engine, without any further legal proceedings. Doubtless, the coincidence of the initial letters of these three words helped much the setting on foot of the proverb." The Halifax gibbet law has been traced back to a remote period. It has been suggested that it was imported into the country by some of the Norman barons. Holinshed's "Chronicle" (edition published in 1587) contains an interesting note bearing on this subject. "There is, and has been, of ancient time," says Holinshed, "a law or rather custom, at Halifax, that whosoever doth commit any felony, and is taken with the same, or confesses the fact upon examination, if it be valued by four constables to amount to the sum of thirteenpence-halfpenny, he is forthwith beheaded upon one of the next market-days (which fall usually upon the Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays), or else upon the same day that he is convicted, if market be holden. The engine wherewith the execution is done is a square block of wood, of the length of four feet and a half, which doth ride up and down in a slot, rabet, or regall, between two pieces of timber that are framed and set up right, of five yards in height. In the nether end of a sliding block is an axe, keyed or fastened with an iron into the wood, which, being drawn up to the top of the frame, is there fastened by a wooden pin (with a notch made in the same, after the manner of a Samson's post), unto the middest of which pin also there is a long rope fastened, that cometh down among the people; so that when the offender hath made his confession, and hath laid his neck over the nethermost block, every man there present doth either take hold of the rope (or putteth forth his arm so near to the same as he can get, in token that he is willing to see justice executed), and pulling out the pin in this manner, the head-block wherein the axe is fastened doth fall down with such a violence, that if the neck of the transgressor were so big as that of a bull, it should be cut in sunder at a stroke, and roll from the body by a huge distance. If it be so that the offender be apprehended for an ox, sheep, kine, horse, or any such cattle, the self beast or other of its kind shall have the end of the rope tied somewhere unto them, so that they, being driven, do draw out the pin, whereby the offender is executed."

In the illustration we give, which is a reproduction of an old picture, it will be observed that a horse is drawing the rope to loosen the pin, and to allow the axe to fall and cut off the head of the victim. The doomed man had doubtless stolen the horse. Near the gibbet are assembled the jurymen, and the parish priest is engaged in prayer.

Before a felon was condemned to suffer, the proof of certain facts appears to have been essentially necessary. In the first place, he was to be taken in the liberty of the forest of Hardwick, and if he escaped out of it, even after condemnation, he could not be brought back to be executed; but if he ever returned into the liberty again, and was taken, he was sure to suffer. It is recorded that a man named Lacy escaped, and resided seven years out of the forest, but returning, was beheaded on the former verdict. This person was not so wise as one Dinnis, who, having been condemned to die, escaped out of the liberty on the day fixed for his execution (which might be done by running in one direction about five hundred yards), and never returned. Meeting several people that asked if Dinnis was not to be beheaded on that day, his answer was, "I trow not," which, having some humour in it, became a proverbial saying in the district, and is used to this day—"'I trow not,' quoth Dinnis." In the next place, the fact was to be proved in the clearest manner. The offender had to be taken either hand-habend or back-berand, that is, having the stolen goods in his hand, or bearing them on his back, or, lastly, confessing that he took them.

The value of the goods stolen had to be worth at least thirteenpence-halfpenny, or more. Taylor, the water-poet, refers to the subject as follows:—

"At Halifax the law so sharpe doth deale, That whoso more than thirteenpence doth steale, They have a jyn that wondrous quick and well Sends thieves all headless into heaven or hell."

A further condition of the Halifax gibbet law is scarcely so clear as the preceding. The accused was, after three market or meeting days, within the town of Halifax, next after his apprehension and being condemned, taken to the gibbet. This probably means that after he was delivered to the bailiff, no time further than was necessary was to elapse before proceeding to the trial, and that the bailiff was to send speedy summons to those who were to try him, which might be done in two or three days. If he were found guilty, the day of his execution depended upon that of his sentence, for he was to be beheaded on no other day than Saturday, which was the great meeting. Thus, if condemned on Monday, he would be kept three market days; but if condemned on Saturday, as some assert, he would be conducted straightway to the gibbet. The two last persons who suffered death by this engine were condemned and executed on the same day.

The final ordinance of the law directs that on being led to the gibbet the malefactor is to have his head cut off from his body. That the machine was fully capable of this is evident both from Holinshed's remarks and from the following anecdote given by Wright, the historian of Halifax, as an extract from "A Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain." A country woman, who was riding by the gibbet at the time of the execution of a criminal, had hampers at her sides, and the head, bounding to a considerable distance from the force of the descending axe, "jumped into one of the hampers, or, as others say, seized her apron with its teeth, and there stuck for some time."

The parish register at Halifax contains a list of forty-nine persons who suffered by the gibbet, commencing on the 20th day of March, 1541, the earliest date of which there is a recorded execution, and terminating on the 30th day of April, 1650. After which latter execution the bailiff of the town received an intimation that should another case occur, he would be called to public account. The number of beheadals in each of the reigns comprised in the above dates are: five in the last six years of the reign of Henry VIII.; twenty-five in the reign of Elizabeth; seven in the reign of James I.; ten in the reign of Charles I.; two during the Commonwealth.

In the year 1650, John Hoyle made a drawing of the Halifax gibbet, which is regarded as a faithful representation of it. On the crown of the hill will be noticed a sketch of the ancient beacon.

An account of the last occasion upon which the services of the Halifax gibbet were called into requisition is interesting; it is contained in a rare book: "Halifax and its Gibbet Law placed in a True Light." It was written by Dr. Samuel Midgley, during an imprisonment for debt, and was published in 1708. "About the latter end of April, A.D. 1650, Abraham Wilkinson, John Wilkinson, and Anthony Mitchel were apprehended within the Manor of Wakefield and the liberties of Halifax, for divers felonious practices, and brought or caused to be brought into the custody of the chief bailiff of Halifax, in order to have their trials for acquittal or condemnation, according to the custom of the Forest of Hardwick, at the complaint and prosecution of Samuel Colbeck of Wardley, within the liberty of Halifax; John Fielden of Stansfield, within the said liberty; and John Cusforth of Durker, in the parish of Sandall, within the Manor of Wakefield." The Bailiff, according to the ancient custom, issued a summons to the "several constables of Halifax, Sowerby, Warley, and Skircoat," charging them to appear at his house on the 27th day of April, 1650, each accompanied by four men, "the most ancient, intelligent, and of the best ability" within his constabulary, to determine the cases. The constables were merely the law officers, the jurors being the sixteen "most ancient men," and whose names are given at length. They were empanelled in a convenient room at the Bailiff's house, where the accused and their prosecutors were brought "face to face" before them, as also the stolen goods, to be by them viewed, examined, and appraised. The court was opened by the following address from the Bailiff: "Neighbours and friends,—You are summoned hither and empanelled according to the ancient custom of the Forest of Hardwick, and by virtue you are required to make diligent search and inquiry into such complaints as are brought against the felons, concerning the goods that are set before you, and to make such just, equitable, and faithful determination betwixt party and party, as you will answer between God and your own conscience." He then addressed them on the separate charges against the prisoners. From Samuel Colbeck, of Warley, they were alleged to have stolen sixteen yards of russet-coloured kersey, which the jury valued at 1s. per yard. Two of the prisoners were alleged to have stolen from Durker Green, two colts, which were produced in court, one of which was appraised at L3, and the other at 48s. Also, Abraham Wilkinson was charged by John Fielden with stealing six yards of cinnamon-coloured kersey, and eight yards of white "frized, for blankets." After some debate concerning certain evidence against the above, and "after some mature consideration, the jury, as is customary in such cases," adjourned to the 30th day of April. Upon this day they met, and after further full examination gave their verdict in writing, and directed that the prisoners Abraham Wilkinson and Anthony Mitchel, "by ancient custom, and liberty of Halifax, whereof the memory of man is not to the contrary, the said Abraham Wilkinson and Anthony Mitchel are to suffer death by having their heads severed and cut off from their bodies at the Halifax gibbet, unto which verdict we subscribe our names." The felons were executed upon the same day.

The stone scaffold or pedestal upon which the gibbet was erected was discovered by the Town Trustees in 1840, in attempting to reduce what was known as Gibbet Hill to the level of the neighbouring ground; and except some decay of the top and one of the steps, it is in a perfect state. It is carefully fenced round, and an inscription affixed, which was done at the cost of Samuel Waterhouse, Mayor, in 1852. The gibbet axe, formerly in the possession of the Lord of the Manor of Wakefield, is now preserved at the Rolls Office of that town. It weighs seven pounds twelve ounces; its length is ten inches and a half; it is seven inches broad at the top, and nearly nine at the bottom, and at the centre about seven and a half.

The Scottish Maiden.

Towards the middle of the sixteenth century, the Earl of Morton, Regent of Scotland, during a visit to England, witnessed an execution by the Halifax gibbet. He appears to have been impressed in a favourable manner with the ingenuity of the machine, and gave directions for a model of it to be made, and on his return home, in the year 1565, he had a similar gibbet constructed. On account of remaining so long before it was used, so runs the popular story, it was known as "The Maiden." Dr. Charles Rogers says that its appellation is from the Celtic mod-dun, originally signifying the place where justice was administered.[26] It is generally believed that the first victim beheaded at the Maiden was the Earl of Morton himself, but such was not the case, for he did not suffer death by it until June 2nd, 1581. He ruled Scotland for ten years, winning the approbation of Queen Elizabeth, but finally he fell a victim to the court faction. It has been said that probably it could not have availed against him but for his own greed and cruelty. In trying to picture the scene of Morton's execution, says a painstaking author, it must have been a striking sight when the proud, stern, resolute face, which had frowned so many better men down, came to speak from the scaffold, protesting his innocence of the crime for which he had been condemned, but owning sins enough to justify God for his fate.[27] He died by the side of the City Cross, in the High Street, Edinburgh, and for the next twelve months his head garnished a pinnacle on the neighbouring Tolbooth.

It is agreed by authorities that the first time the Maiden was used was at the execution of the inferior agents in the assassination of Rizzio, which occurred at Holyrood Palace, on the 9th of March, 1566.

The list of those who have suffered death at the Maiden extends to at least one hundred and twenty names, not a few of whom Scotland delights to honour, including Sir John Gordon, of Haddo; President Spottiswood, the Marquis and the Earl of Argyle.

The unfortunate Earl of Argyle met his doom with firmness; when laying his head on the grim instrument of death, he said it was "a sweet Maiden, whose embrace would waft his soul into heaven." The tragic story of the Earl of Argyle has been ably told by Mr. David Maxwell, C.E., and his iniquitous death is one of many dark passages in the life of James II.[28]

In 1710, the use of the Maiden was discontinued. It now finds a place and attracts much attention in the Museum of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, at Edinburgh.


[26] Rogers's "Social Life in Scotland," 1884.

[27] Chambers's "Book of Days," Vol. I., page 728.

[28] David Maxwell's "Bygone Scotland," 1894.


In the earlier laws of England, mutilation or dismembering was by no means an uncommon punishment, more especially amongst the poor. Men, says Pike, branded on the forehead, without hands, without feet, without tongues, lived as an example of the danger which attended the commission of petty crimes, and as a warning to all men who had the misfortune of holding no higher position than that of a churl.[29] Wealthy people might do wrong with impunity. It has been clearly shown that there was one law for the rich, and another for the poor, in England during the four centuries which preceded the Norman Conquest.

According to Pike, under the Danes, mutilation was practised with perhaps greater severity than under the rule of the Saxons. Amongst the horrors of the Danish conquest were eyes plucked out; the nose, ears, and the upper lip were cut off; the scalp was torn away, and sometimes even, there is reason to believe, the whole body was flayed alive.

Under the first two Norman kings mutilation of offenders was largely employed to preserve game in their forests. They, however, only appear to have enforced earlier laws. The earliest forest laws of which we have any knowledge are those which were promulgated about 1016 by Canute, the Dane, and probably much the same as had existed for a long period previously. The principal points of their tyrannical laws were, that if a freedman offered violence to a keeper of the King's deer, he was liable to lose his freedom and property; if a serf did the same, he lost his right hand; if the offence was repeated, he paid the penalty with his life. For killing a deer, either the eyes of the offender were put out, or he was killed; if anyone ran down a deer so that it panted, he was to pay at least ten shillings in the money of the day. Such was the law under the Saxon and the Danish Kings. The laws protected the private estate owner, and it was not until the Conqueror came that all the forest land was considered the property of the King.

In the reign of Henry I. coiners of false money were brought to Winchester and suffered there in one day the loss of their right hands and of their manhood. Under the Kings of the West Saxon dynasty the loss of the right hand was a common sentence for makers of base coin.

Several curious instances of mutilation are mentioned in "The Obsolete Punishments of Shropshire," by S. Meeson Morris. A case occurring in the reign of King John provides some interesting particulars. "In 1203," says Mr. Morris, "at the Salop Assizes, Alice Crithecreche and others were accused of murdering a woman at Lilleshall. Alice immediately, after the murder, had fled into Staffordshire with certain chattels of the murdered woman in her possession, and had been there arrested, and brought back into Shropshire. Her defence before the Curia Comitatus of Salop was at least ingenious:—She alleged that on hearing a noise at night in the murdered woman's house she went and peeped through a chink in the door; that she saw four men within, who presently coming out, seized, and threatened to murder her if she made any alarm, but on her keeping silence, gave her the stolen goods found upon her when arrested. On being brought before the Justices-in-Eyre at the above Assizes, Alice Crithecreche no longer adhered to this defence, and she was adjudged to deserve death, but the penalty was commuted for one hardly less terrible. It was ordered that both her eyes should be plucked out."

At a meeting of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology, held February 26th, 1889, Mr. George E. Crisp, of Playford Hall, near Ipswich, exhibited instruments used in the time of Henry VIII. for cutting off the ears, as a penalty for not attending Church.

In our chapter on the Pillory will be found particulars of cases of mutilation of the ears. The punishment of mutilation, except to the ears of the offender, was not common for centuries before the reign of Henry VIII., but by statute 33 Henry VIII., c. 12, the penalty for striking in the King's court or house was declared to be the loss of the right hand.[30]


[29] Pike's "History of Crime in England," 1873.

[30] Morris's "Obsolete Punishments of Shropshire."


This mode of punishment was discontinued in the reign of George III., and finally abolished in 1829. Old laws contain many allusions to the subject. In the reign of Edward VI. was passed the famous Statute of Vagabonds, authorising the branding with hot iron the letter V on the breast of a runaway slave. If, on being sold, he afterwards ran away, he might be branded on the cheek or forehead with the letter S, and thus the fact made known to those who saw him that he was a slave. Church brawlers in this reign were liable to be branded on the cheek with the letter F, meaning a fraymaker.

Gipsies were punished with branding. At Haddington, in 1636, some gipsies were severely dealt with, the men being condemned to be hanged, the women drowned, with the exception of those having children, and they were to be scourged through the burgh and burnt on their cheeks.

James Nayler, the Mad Quaker, who claimed to be the Messiah, as part of his punishment for blasphemy, was condemned to have his tongue bored through and his forehead branded with a hot iron with the letter B, signifying that he was a blasphemer.[31]

Persons found guilty of petty offences and claiming benefit of clergy were burnt on the hand. Dr. Cox gives particulars of a case occurring at the Derbyshire Sessions in 1696. A butcher named Palmer, from Wirksworth, had been found guilty of stealing a sheep. He claimed benefit of clergy, which the court granted, and he read. The court gave judgment that he be burnt in his left hand, which was executed. His troubles did not end with the branding, for we find he had to "remaine in Gaole till hee finde Sufficient Suretyes for his Good behaviour to bee approved of and taken by Recoign by Mr. Justice Pole and Mr. Justice Borrowes, and for his appearance att next Sessions, and then to abide further Order of this Court."[32]

We reproduce from a carefully written work entitled, "In and Around Morecambe and Its Bay," issued by Mr. T. A. J. Waddington, York, an old-time picture of a branding scene. In the Lancaster Criminal Court is still preserved a branding iron. "This iron," we are told, "is attached to the back part of the dock; it consists of a long bolt with a wooden handle at one end, and the letter M at the other. In close proximity are two iron loops designed for securing firmly the hand of the prisoner whilst the long piece of iron was heated red hot, so that the letter denoting 'Malefactor' could be impressed. The brander, after doing his fiery task, examined the hand, and on a good impression being made on the brawny part running from the thumb, would turn to the judge and exclaim—'A fair mark, my Lord!'"

At the Assizes held at Northampton, in 1720, before Mr. Justice Powis, the following prisoners were adjudged to be branded:—"Silvester Green, found guilty of sheep-stealing, burnt in the Hand. And James Corby, the Pig Merchant, had the Honour of the Brand confer'd on him likewise: Jane Clarke, William and John Green, convicted of several Petty Thefts and Larcenies, are to travel for 7 years after the proper Officer has kiss'd their Hand with a Red Hot Iron."

The foregoing list is drawn from the reports in the Northampton Mercury, and in the same paper for August 1st, 1721, it is stated "The following Persons were try'd at The Assizes held for The Town and County of Northampton, on Tuesday, the 26th of this Instant. Isabella Chapman and John Field were convicted of several Thefts and Larcenies. To be burnt in The Hand and whipt; and afterwards to be transported for 7 years. Fielding's crime was stealing 12 sheep.... Isaac Emmerton, who was committed on the 21st May last ... was burnt in The Hand."[33]

Branding in some instances appears to have been a mere farce. "When Charles Moritz, a young German, visited England in 1782, he was much surprised at this custom, and in his Diary he mentions that a clergyman had fought a duel with another in Hyde Park, and killed the man; he was found guilty of manslaughter, and was burnt in the hand, if that could be called burning which was done with a cold iron."[33] Such cases as this prepared the way for abolishing the custom, as cold irons for one class, and hot irons for another, could not be tolerated.

It was customary to command criminals in the courts in the past century to hold up their hands to prove if previous convictions had been passed upon them.


[31] Andrews's "Literary Byways," 1898.

[32] Cox's "Three Centuries of Derbyshire Annals," 1888.

[33] Markham's "Ancient Punishments of Northamptonshire," 1886.

The Pillory.

In the history of our own and other European countries, the pillory may be traced back to remote times, and its origin is almost lost in the mists of antiquity. Its story is one of tragedy and comedy, and full of historic interest and importance. In England, in bygone ages, the pillory was a familiar object, and perhaps no engine of punishment was more generally employed. Where there was a market, the pillory might be seen, for if the local authorities neglected to have it ready for immediate use, should occasion require it, they ran the risk of forfeiting the right of holding a market, which was a most serious matter in the olden time. Lords of Manors, in addition to having the right of a pillory, usually had a ducking-stool and gallows. Thomas de Chaworth, in the reign of Edward III., made a claim of a park, and the right of free warren, at Alfreton, with the privilege of having a gallows, tumbrel, and pillory.

In the middle ages frequently a pillory, whipping-post, and stocks were combined, and we give a picture of a good example from Wallingford, Berkshire. It will be observed that they are planned to hold four delinquents, namely, one in the pillory, one at the whipping-post, and two in the stocks. They stood near the town hall, in the market-place, down to about the year 1830, when the pillory and whipping-post were taken down. The stocks remained for a few years longer to remind the tippler of his fate, if he overstepped the bounds of temperance and was caught drunk. In course of time they fell into disuse, and were finally presented by the Corporation to Mr. J. Kirby Hedges, of Wallingford Castle, the historian of the ancient town. He informs us that there was a pillory at Wallingford in 1231, and probably earlier.

A good representation of the pillory formerly much used is furnished in a cut of Robert Ockam, undergoing part of his sentence for perjury, in the reign of Henry VIII. In the year 1543, Ockam, with two other criminals mounted on horseback, with papers on their heads, and their faces towards the tails of the horses, had to ride about Windsor, Newbury, and Reading, and stand in the pillory of each of the three towns.

We give a view of an ancient pillory which formerly stood in the market-place of the village of Paulmy, in Touraine. It is copied from a picture of the Castle of Paulmy in Cosmographie Universelle, 1575. It will be observed that it is planned for holding a number of offenders at the same time. This form of pillory was not generally used. It was usually much simpler in construction, and frequently was not a permanent structure.

Stow, in his "Survey of London," supplies a description of the Cornhill pillory, and gives particulars of the crimes for which it was brought into requisition. After adverting to the making of a strong prison of timber, called a cage, and fixing upon it a pair of stocks for night-walkers, he next tells us: "On the top of the cage was placed a pillory, for the punishment of bakers offending in the assize of bread; for millers stealing of corn at the mill; for bawds, scolds, and other offenders." In the year 1468, the seventh of Edward IV., divers persons, being common jurors, such as at assizes, were forsworn for rewards or favour of parties, and judged to ride from Newgate to the pillory of Cornhill, with mitres of paper on their heads, there to stand, and from thence again to Newgate; and this judgment was given by the Mayor of London. In the year 1509, the first of Henry VIII., Darby, Smith, and Simson, ringleaders of false inquests in London, rode about the city with their faces to horses' tails, and papers on their heads, and were set on the pillory in Cornhill, and afterwards brought again to Newgate, where they died for very shame, saith Robert Fabian.

A curious note, relating to this topic, appears in the "Journal of Henry Machyn, Citizen of London," published by the Camden Society. It is stated that, on the 1st July, 1552, there were a man and woman on the pillory in Cheapside; the man sold pots of strawberries, the which were not half full, but filled with fern. On the 30th May, 1554, two persons were set on the pillory, a man and woman; but the woman had her ears nailed to the pillory for speaking lies and uttering false rumours. The man was punished for seditious and slanderous words.

An instance of great severity is recorded in 1621, when Edward Floyde was convicted of having used slighting expressions concerning the king's son-in-law, the Elector Palatine, and his wife. The sentence was given as follows: (1) Not to bear arms as a gentleman, nor be a competent witness in any Court of Justice. (2) To ride with his face to a horse's tail, to stand in the pillory, and have his ears nailed, etc. (3) To be whipped at the cart's tail. (4) To be fined L5,000. (5) To be perpetually imprisoned in Newgate. It was questioned whether Floyde, being a gentleman, should be whipped, and have his ears nailed. It was agreed by a majority that he should be subject to the former, but not to the latter. He stood two hours in the pillory, and had his forehead branded.

Pepys, writing in his diary under date of March 26th, 1664, relates that he had been informed by Sir W. Batten that "some 'prentices, being put in the pillory to-day for beating of their masters, or such-like things, in Cheapside, a company of 'prentices came and rescued them, and pulled down the pillory; and they being set up again, did the like again." We may infer, from the foregoing and other facts that have come down to us respecting the London apprentices, that they were a power in bygone times, doing very much as they pleased.

We are enabled, by the courtesy of Messrs. W. & R. Chambers, to reproduce from their "Book of Days" an excellent illustration of Oates in the pillory (from a contemporary print). "Found guilty," says the writer in the "Book of Days," "of perjury on two separate indictments, the inventor of the Popish Plot was condemned, in 1685, to public exposure on three consecutive days. The first day's punishment, in Palace Yard, nearly cost the criminal his life; but his partisans mustered in such force in the city, on the succeeding day, that they were able to upset the pillory, and nearly succeeded in rescuing their idol from the hands of the authorities. According to his sentence, Oates was to stand every year of his life in the pillory, on five different days: before the gate of Westminster Hall, on the 9th August; at Charing Cross on the 10th; at the Temple on the 11th; at the Royal Exchange on the 2nd September; and at Tyburn on the 24th April; but, fortunately for the infamous creature, the Revolution deprived his determined enemies of power, and turned the criminal into a pensioner of Government."

It was formerly a common custom to put persons in the pillory during the time of public market. We may name, as an example, a case occurring at Canterbury, in 1524. A man was set up in the pillory, which was in the Market Place, and bearing on his head a paper inscribed, "This is a false, perjured, and forsworn man." He was confined in the pillory until the market was over, and then led to Westgate and thrust out of the town, still wearing the paper. "If he be proud," says an old writer, "he may go home and shew himself among his neighbours."

The Corporation accounts of Newcastle-on-Tyne contain, among other curious items, the following:

1561.—Paid to the Gawyng Aydon, for squrgyn a boye about the town, and for settying a man in the pallerye, two days 16d.

1562.—Paid for a tre to the pillyre 5s.

1574.—Paid to Charles Shawe, for charges in carryinge the man to Durham that stode in the pillarye, and was skrougide aboute the town at Mr. Maior's commandment 3s.

1593.—Paide for a Papist which studd in the pillerie for abusing Our Majestie by slanderous woordes 14d.

1594.—Paid for 4 papers to 4 folke which was sett on the pillorie 16d.

Paid Ro. Musgrave for takinge paines to sett them upp 8d.

The "papers" above mentioned were for the purpose of proclaiming to the world at large the nature of the bearer's offence.

At Hull, in the year 1556, the town ordinances were revised and proclaimed "in the Market Place, in the market-time, according to the yearly custom." The twenty-third rule runs as follows: "That no person whomsoever presume to take down and carry away, any brick or stones off or from the town's walls, upon pain for every default to be set upon the pillory, and to pay, for a fine, to the town's chamber, forty shillings." We may infer, from the foregoing, that the town's walls, both the original stone portion of Edward I., and the later addition of brick, were in a state of demolition. In 1559, the aldermen of Hull were directed to take account of "all vagabonds, idle persons, sharpers, beggars, and such like;" and, doubtless, not a few of the persons included under these wide definitions would come to the pillory, for the aldermen were ordered to "punish them severely;" and, as the punishments of Hull were largely in fines, Mr. Wildridge, author of "Old and New Hull," suggests that the moneyless classes of persons above-named would be most economically and severely dealt with by pillorying. About 1813, a man, for keeping a disreputable house, was placed in the pillory erected in the Market Place.

At Preston, Lancashire, in 1814, a man about sixty years of age was pilloried for a similar offence, and it is said that he was the last person punished in this manner in the town.

The pillory at Driffield was movable, and when in use stood in the Market Place, near the Cross Keys Hotel. The last occupants, a man and a woman, were pilloried together about 1810, for fortune-telling. At Bridlington the pillory stood in the Market Place, opposite the Corn Exchange. It was taken down about 1835, and lay some time in Well Lane, but it finally disappeared, and was probably chopped up for firewood. Before its removal there was affixed to it a bell, which was rung to regulate the market hours. Mischievous youths, however, often rang it, so it was taken down in 1810, and kept at a house down a court, known as Pillory Bell Yard.

Mr. W. E. A. Axon, the well known Lancashire author and antiquary, kindly furnishes us with particulars of the Manchester pillory. "The earliest notice of the pillory in Manchester," says Mr. Axon, "is in the Court Leet Records, April 8th, 1624, when the jury referred the erection of 'a gibbett' to the discretion of the Steward and the Boroughreeve. Some delay must have occurred, for on April 8th, 1625, 'the jurye doth order that the constables of this yeare, att the charges of the inhabitants, shall cause to bee erected and sett vp a sufficient gibbett or pilorye for the vse of this towne, in some convenient place about the Markett Crosse, and to take to them the advice of Mr. Stewart and the Bororeve. This to be done before the xxiiijth day of August next, subpena xx^s.' This threat of a penalty was effective, and the careful scribe notes factum est. The convenient place was in the market-place, close to the stocks. The pillory remained, more or less in use, until 1816, when it was removed. Barritt, the antiquary, made a drawing of it, which has been engraved. It was jocularly styled the 'tea table,' and was used as a whipping place also. In the present century, it was not a permanent fixture, but a movable structure, set up when required. One pilloried individual, grimly jesting at his own sorrows, told an inquiring friend that he was celebrating his nuptials with Miss Wood, and that his neighbour, whom the beadle was whipping, had come to dance at the wedding. During the Civil War, there was a pillory for the special benefit of the soldiers, and it was removed from the Corn Market in 1651."

The Rye pillory is still kept in the Town Hall, and we give a picture of it from a photograph. The last time it was used was in 1813, when a publican was put in it for aiding the escape of General Phillippon, a French prisoner of war, who had been brought to this old Sussex town. The pillory was erected on the beach, and the face of the culprit turned to the coast of France. Mr. Holloway, the local historian, supplied the late Mr. Llewellyn Jewitt with some particulars respecting this example. "It measures," says Mr. Holloway, "about six feet in height, by four in width. It consists of two up-posts affixed to a platform, and has two transverse rails, the upper one of which is divided horizontally, and has a hinge to admit of the higher portion being lifted, so as to allow of the introduction of the culprit's head and hands. Through the platform and the lower rail there are round perforations, into which, when the instrument was in requisition, an upright bar, probably of iron, was introduced, so as to allow the pillory, with its unfortunate tenant, to be turned bodily round at pleasure."

The famous Lord Thurlow was eloquent for the preservation of the pillory, which he called "the restraint against licentiousness, provided by the wisdom of past ages." This was in a case against the Rev. Horne Tooke, who, escaped with a fine of L200. Of others, who have spoken for and against it, may be mentioned Lord Macclesfield, who, in 1719, condemned it as a punishment for State criminals. In 1791, Pitt claimed to have dissuaded the Government from its too frequent use, as had Burke. Lord Ellenborough, in 1812, sentenced a blasphemer to the pillory for two hours once a month, for eighteen months. Again, in 1814, he ordered Lord Cochrane, the famous sea-fighter of Brasque Roads fame, to be pilloried for conspiring with others to spread false news. But his colleague, Sir Francis Burdett, declared that he would stand by his side in the pillory regardless of consequences. In the then state of public opinion, the Government declined to undertake the responsibility, and this punishment was waived.

It was no uncommon circumstance for the offenders to be killed on the pillory, by the pelting to which they were subjected by the fury of the crowd. In 1731, a professional witness, i.e., one who, for the reward offered for the conviction of criminals, would swear falsely against them, was sentenced to the pillory of Seven Dials, where so bitter were the populace against him that they pelted him to death. The coroner's jury returned a verdict of "wilful murder by persons unknown." In 1756, the drovers of Smithfield pelted two perjured thief-catchers so violently that one died; in 1763, a man died from a like cause, at Southwark; in 1780, a coachman died from injuries before his time had expired.

An amusing anecdote is related, bearing upon a pillory accident. "A man being condemned to the pillory in or about Elizabeth's time, the foot-board on which he was placed proved to be rotten, and down it fell, leaving him hanging by the neck, in danger of his life. On being liberated, he brought an action against the town for the insufficiency of its pillory, and recovered damages."[34]

In the year 1816, the pillory ceased to be employed for punishing persons, except in cases of perjury, and for this crime a man was put in the pillory in 1830. The pillory, in the year 1837, was abolished by Act of Parliament.

At the present time in China, the Cang, or Cangue is employed for punishing petty offenders. From a picture we give from an original sketch recently made, it will be seen that it consists of a large wooden collar fitting close round the neck. The size and weight of the board varies, but it is not to be removed until the completion of the sentence, which may vary in length from a couple of weeks to three months. The name of the prisoner and the nature of his crime are written on the cang in large letters. He is left to public charity for support, and frequently suffers from the pangs of hunger.


[34] Chambers's "Book of Days."

Punishing Authors and Burning Books.

Literary annals contain many records of the punishments of authors. The Greeks and Romans frequently brought writers into contempt by publicly burning their books. In England, in years agone, it was a common practice to place in the pillory authors who presumed to write against the reigning monarch, or on political and religious subjects which were not in accord with the opinions of those in power. The public hangman was often directed to make bonfires of the works of offending authors. At Athens, the common crier was instructed to burn all the prohibited works of Pythagoras which could be found. It is well known that Numa Pompilius did much to build up the glory of Rome. It was he who gave to his countrymen the ceremonial laws of religion, and it was under his rule that they enjoyed the blessings of peace. His death was keenly felt by a grateful people, and he was honoured with a grand and costly funeral. In his grave were found some of his writings, which were contrary to his religious teaching; and the fact being made known to the Senate, an order was made directing the manuscripts to be consumed by fire. In the days of Augustus, no fewer than twenty thousand volumes were consigned on one occasion to the flames. The works of Labienus were amongst those which were burnt. It was a terrible blow to the author and some of his friends. Cassius Severus, when he heard the sentence pronounced, exclaimed in a loud voice that they must burn him also, for he had learnt all the books by heart. It was the death-blow to Labienus; he repaired to the tomb of his forefathers, refused food, and pined away. It is asserted that he was buried alive. At Constantinople, Leo I. caused two hundred thousand books to be consumed by fire.

The Bible did not escape the flames. It is stated by Eusebius that, by the direction of Diocletian, the Scriptures were burnt. According to Foxe, the well-known writer on the martyrs, on May, 1531, Bishop Stokesley "caused all the New Testament of Tindal's translation, and many other books which he had bought, to be openly burnt in St. Paul's churchyard." It was there that the Bishop of Rochester in a sermon denounced Martin Luther and all his works. He spoke of all who kept his books as accursed. Not a few of the condemned works were publicly burnt during the delivery of the sermon.

A man named Stubbs, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, lost his hand for writing a pamphlet of Radical tendencies.

Collingbourne wrote the following couplet respecting Catesby, Ratcliff, and Lovel giving their advice to Richard III., whose crest, it will be remembered, was a white boar:

"The cat, the rat, and Lovel the dog, Rule all England under a hog."

For writing the foregoing couplet, Collingbourne was executed on Tower Hill. After "having been hanged," it is recorded, "he was cut down immediately, and his entrails were then extracted and thrown into the fire; and all this was so speedily performed that," Stow says, "when the executioner pulled out his heart, he spoke, and said, 'Jesus, Jesus.'"

It is generally understood that Christopher Marlowe translated, as a college exercise, "Amores of Ovid." It was a work of unusual ability; but did not, however, meet with the approval of Archbishop Whitgift and Bishop Bancroft. In consequence, in June, 1599, all copies were ordered to be burnt. A few escaped the fire, and are now very valuable. Milton's books were burnt by the common hangman, on August 27th, 1659.

In 1630, Dr. Leighton, a clergyman, and father of the celebrated archbishop of that name, was tried and found guilty of printing a work entitled, "Zion's Plea against Prelacy," in which he called bishops men of blood, ravens, and magpies, and pronounced the institution of Episcopacy to be satanical; he called the Queen a daughter of Heth, and even commanded the murder of Buckingham. His sentence was a hard one, and consisted of a fine of L10,000. He was also degraded from the ministry, pilloried, branded, and whipped; an ear was cropped off, and his nostrils slit. After enduring these punishments, he was sent to the Fleet prison. At the end of the week, he underwent a second course of cruelty, and was consigned to prison for life. After eleven weary years passed in prison, Leighton was liberated, the House of Commons having reversed his sentence. He was told that his mutilation and imprisonment had been illegal! At that period in our history, a book or pamphlet could not be printed without a license from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, or the authorities of the two universities. Only authorised printers were permitted to set up printing presses in the city of London. Any one printing without the necessary authority subjected himself to the risk of being placed in the pillory and whipped through the City.

Lilburne and Warton disregarded the foregoing order, and printed and published libellous and seditious works. They refused to appear before the court where such offences were tried. The authorities found them guilty, and fined each man L500, and ordered them to be whipped from Fleet Prison to the pillory at Westminster. The sentence was carried out on April the 18th, 1638. Lilburne appears to have been a man of dauntless courage, and when in the pillory, he gave away copies of his obnoxious works to the crowd, and addressed them on the tyranny of his persecutors. He was gagged to stop his speech.

William Prynne lost his ears for writing "Histrio-Mastix: the Player's Scourge, or Actor's Tragedie" (1633.) His pillory experiences were of the most painful character.

According to an entry in the annals of Hull, in the year 1645, all the books of Common Prayer were burned by the Parliamentary soldiers, in the market-place.

One of the late Mr. C. H. Spurgeon's predecessors, named Benjamin Keach, a Baptist Minister, of Winslow, in the County of Bucks, issued a work entitled, "The Child's Instructor; or, a New and Easy Primmer." The book was regarded as seditious, and the authorities had him tried for writing and publishing it, at the Aylesbury Assizes, on the 8th October, 1664. The judge passed on him the following sentence:

"Benjamin Keach, you are here convicted of writing and publishing a seditious and scandalous Book, for which the Court's judgment is this, and the Court doth award, That you shall go to gaol for a fortnight, without bail or mainprise; and the next Saturday to stand upon the pillory at Ailsbury for the space of two hours, from eleven o'clock to one, with a Paper upon your head with this inscription, For writing, printing and publishing a schismatical book, entitled, The Child's Instructor, or a new and easy Primmer. And the next Thursday so stand in the same manner and for the same time in the market of Winslow; and there your book shall be openly burnt before your face by the common hangman, in disgrace to you and your doctrine. And you shall forfeit to the King's Majesty the sum of L20 and shall remain in gaol until you find sureties for your good behaviour and appearance at the next assizes, there to renounce your doctrine, and to make such public submission as shall be enjoined you."

We are told that Keach was kept a close prisoner until the following Saturday, and on that day was carried to the pillory at Aylesbury, where he stood two hours without being permitted to speak to the spectators. It is recorded that his hands as well as his head were carefully kept in the pillory the whole time. The next Thursday he stood in the same manner and length of time at Winslow, the town where he lived, and his book was burnt before him. "After this," we learn from Howell's "State Trials," "upon paying his fine, and giving sufficient security for his good behaviour, he was set at liberty; but was never brought to make recantation."

Defoe wrote much and well. He was by birth and education a Dissenter, and with much ability asserted the rights of Nonconformists. At a time when Churchmen were trying to obtain hard measures against the Dissenters, he directed against the Church party a severe satire, under the title of "The Shortest Way with the Dissenters." It exasperated the members of the Government, and a reward of fifty pounds was offered for his apprehension. The advertisement respecting him is a literary curiosity, and appeared in The London Gazette. It reads as follows:

"Whereas Daniel De Foe, alias De Fooe, is charged with writing a scandalous and seditious pamphlet, entitled, 'The Shortest Way with the Dissenters.' He is a middle-sized, spare man, about forty years old, of a brown complexion, and dark brown coloured hair, but wears a wig, a hooked nose, a sharp chin, grey eyes, and a large mole near his mouth; was born in London, and for many years was a hose factor, in Truman's-yard, in Cornhill, and now is owner of a brick and pantile works near Tilbury-fort, in Essex. Whoever shall discover the said Daniel De Foe to any of her Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, or any of Her Majesty's Justices of the Peace, so as he may be apprehended, shall have a reward of fifty pounds, which Her Majesty has ordered immediately to be paid upon such discovery."

He managed to keep out of the way of the authorities, but on hearing that the printer and publisher of the pamphlet were put into prison, he gave himself up, and they were set at liberty. Defoe was tried at the Old Bailey, in July, 1704, and pleaded guilty. It is said that he put in this plea on the promise of pardon secretly given to him. He did not, however, escape punishment; he was fined two hundred marks, and ordered to appear three times in the pillory, and remain in prison during the Queen's pleasure.

During his imprisonment before being placed in the pillory, he wrote the famous "Hymn to the Pillory," which was speedily put into type and sung by the crowd at the time Defoe was in the machine. Here are some lines from it:

Hail hieroglyphic State machine, Contrived to punish fancy in: Men that are men in thee can feel no pain, And all thy insignificants disdain; Contempt, that false new word for shame, Is, without crime, an empty name; A shadow to amuse mankind, But ne'er to fright the wise or well-fixed mind. Virtue despises human scorn! . . . Even learned Selden saw A prospect of thee through the law. He had thy lofty pinnacles in view, But so much honour never was thy due. The first intent of laws Was to correct the effect, and check the cause, And all the ends of punishment Were only future mischiefs to prevent. But justice is interverted when Those engines of the law, Instead of pinching vicious men, Keep honest ones in awe. . . . Tell them the men that placed him there Are friends unto the times; But at a loss to find his guilt, And can't commit his crimes.

Defoe fared well in the pillory. He was not pelted with rotten eggs, but with flowers; and beautiful garlands were suspended from the pillory. In a modest manner, he gave an account of the affair. "The people," he wrote, "were expected to treat me very ill, but it was not so. On the contrary, they were with me—wished those who had set me there were placed in my room, and expressed their affections by loud thanks and acclamations when I was taken down."

There is not the least truth in Pope's well-known, and we may say disgraceful line:

Earless, on high stood unabash'd De Foe.

After Defoe had spent about a year in prison, the Queen sent to his wife money to pay the fine.

A work was issued in 1704, entitled, "The Superiority and Dominion of the Crown of England over the Crown of Scotland," by William Attwood. The Scottish Parliament had the publication under consideration, and pronounced it scurrilous and full of falsehoods, and finally commanded the public hangman of Edinburgh to burn the book.

Williams, the bookseller, was put in the pillory in the year 1765, for republishing the North Briton in forty-five volumes. "The coach," says The Gentleman's Magazine, "that carried him from the King's Bench Prison to the pillory was No. 45. He was received with the acclamations of a prodigious concourse of people. Opposite to the pillory were erected two ladders, with cords running from each other, on which were hung a jack-boot, an axe, and a Scotch bonnet. The latter, after remaining some time, was burnt, and the top-boot chopped off. During his standing, also, a purple purse, ornamented with ribbands of an orange colour, was produced by a gentleman, who began a collection in favour of the culprit by putting a guinea into it himself, after which, the purse being carried round, many contributed, to the amount in the whole, as supposed, of about two hundred guineas." The spectators loudly cheered Mr. Williams on getting into and out of the pillory. He held a sprig of laurel in his hand during the time he was confined in the pillory.

Alexander Wilson, the famous ornithologist and poet, in the year 1793, was tried for publishing some satirical poems concerning certain Paisley manufacturers. The pieces were regarded as libellous, and he was fined L12 13s. 6d., and condemned to burn in a public manner his poems at the Market Cross at Paisley. The poet was unable to pay the fine, and had to go to prison for a short time. The circumstance was the chief cause of Wilson leaving Scotland for America.

Finger Pillory.

Finger pillories, or stocks, in past ages, were probably frequently employed in the old manorial halls of England; but at the present period only traces of a few are to be found. The most interesting example is one in the parish church of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, which has been frequently described and illustrated. An account of it appears in Notes and Queries of October 25th, 1851. It is described as "fastened at its right hand extremity into a wall, and consists of two pieces of oak; the bottom and fixed piece is three feet eight inches long; the width of the whole is four-and-a-half inches, and when closed, it is five inches deep: the left hand extremity is supported by a leg of the same width as the top, and two feet six inches in length; the upper piece is joined to the lower by a hinge, and in this lower and fixed horizontal part are a number of holes, varying in size; the largest are towards the right hand: these holes are sufficiently deep to admit the finger to the second joint, and a slight hollow is made to admit the third one, which lies flat; there is, of course, a corresponding hollow at the top of the moveable part, which, when shut down, encloses the whole finger." Thomas Wright, F.S.A., in his "Archaeological Album," gives an illustration of the Ashby-de-la-Zouch example, and we reproduce a copy. It shows the manner in which the finger was confined, and it will easily be seen that it could not be withdrawn until the pillory was opened. If the offender were held long in this posture, the punishment must have been extremely painful.

Amongst the old-time relics at Littlecote Hall, an ancient Wiltshire mansion, may still be seen a finger-pillory. It is made of oak. We give an illustration of it from a drawing executed expressly for this work. At Littlecote Hall it is spoken of as an instrument of domestic punishment.

Plot, in his "History of Staffordshire," published in 1686, gives an illustration of one of these old-time finger-pillories. "I cannot forget," writes Plot, "a piece of art that I found in the Hall of the Right Honourable William Lord Paget, at Beaudesart, made for the punishment of disorders that sometimes attend feasting, in Christmas time, etc., called the finger-stocks, into which the Lord of Misrule used to put the fingers of all such persons as committed misdemeanours, or broke such rules as, by consent, were agreed on for the time of keeping Christmas among the servants and others of promiscuous quality; these being divided in like manner as the stocks of the legs, and having holes of different sizes to fit for scantlings of all fingers, as represented in the table." We reproduce a sketch of Plot's picture.

In an account of the Customs of the Manor of Ashton-under-Lyne, in the fifteenth century, it is stated at the manorial festivals, "in order to preserve as much as possible the degree of decorum that was necessary, there were frequently introduced a diminutive pair of stone stocks of about eighteen inches in length, for confining within them the fingers of the unruly."

In connection with this chapter may be fitly included a picture of a finger-pillory in the possession of Mr. England Howlett, Kirton-in-Lindsey, Lincolnshire. Our illustration is half the size of the original implement represented, which is from a Welsh village. This ingenious contrivance was used until the early part of this century. It was kept on the dame's desk, and when the children went up to say their lessons they had to place their hands behind them, putting their fingers into the holes of the pillory, and bringing their hands back to back. When properly fixed, the hands were quite fast and the shoulders held well back. This kind of finger-pillory was frequently used as a means of punishment in schools.

The Jougs.

This old-time instrument of punishment was more generally used in North Britain than in England. It was employed in Holland, and most likely in other countries. In Scotland, its history may be traced back to the sixteenth century, and from that period down to about a hundred years ago, it was a popular means of enforcing ecclesiastical discipline, and was also brought into requisition for punishing persons guilty of the lesser civil offences. In Scotland the jougs were usually fastened to a church door, a tree in a churchyard, the post of a church gate, a market cross, or a market tron, or weighing-post, and not infrequently to prison doors.

The jougs are simple in form, consisting of an iron ring or collar, with a joint or hinge at the back to permit its being opened and closed, and in the front are loops for the affixing of a padlock to secure it round the neck of the culprit.

The "Diary of Henry Machyn, Citizen and Merchant-Taylor of London, from A.D. 1550 to A.D. 1563" (published by the Camden Society in 1848), contains the following note on the use of the jougs: "The 30th day of June, 1553," it is stated, "was set a post hard by the Standard in Cheap, and a young fellow tied to the post with a collar of iron about his neck, and another to the post with a chain, and two men with two whips whipping them about the post, for pretended visions and opprobrious and seditious words." We have modernised the spelling of Machyn.

Disregarding parental authority in Scotland was frequently the cause of young folk being punished by the jougs, and in other ways. Harsh rules of life were by no means confined to North Britain. In Tudor England manners were severe and formal, parents exacting abject deference from their offspring. A child did not presume to speak or sit down without leave in presence of its parents. A little leniency was extended to girls, for when tired they might kneel on cushions at the far end of the room; but boys were expected to stand with their heads uncovered. It is to be feared that true domestic bliss was almost unknown in olden times. Teachers were equally tyrannical, and it is a matter of history that Roger Ascham, the tutor of Queen Elizabeth, used to "pinch, nip, and bob [slap] the princess when she displeased him."

Some very curious facts relating to this subject appear in the old Kirk-Session records. "David Leyes, who struck his father," was, by a Kirk-Session of St. Andrews, in 1574, sentenced to appear before the congregation "bairheddit and beirfuttit, upon the highest degree of the penitent stuool, with a hammer in the ane hand and ane stane in the uther hand, as the twa instruments he mannesit his father,—with ane papir writin in great letteris about his heid with these wordis, 'Behold the onnaturall Son, punished for putting hand on his father, and dishonouring of God in him.'" Nor was this deemed sufficient humiliation, for the offender was afterwards made to stand at the market cross two hours "in the jaggs, and thereafter cartit through the haill toun." It was also resolved that "if ever he offended father or mother heireafter, the member of his body quhairby he offendit sal be cuttit off from him, be it tung, hand or futt without mercy, as examples to utheris to abstein fra the lyke." At Glasgow, in the year 1598, the Presbytery carefully considered the conduct of a youth who had passed his father "without lifting his bonnet."

A servant in Wigtown, in 1649, was brought before the magistrates for raising her hand and abusing her mistress, and was ordered to stand a full hour with the jougs round her neck.

At Rothesay, a woman gave the members of the Kirk-Session a great deal of trouble through departing from the path of sobriety. Persuasion and rebuke were tried without avail. At last, in the year 1661, the Session warned her that "if hereafter she should be found drunk, she would be put in the jouggs and have her dittay written on her face."[35]

Mr. James S. Thomson read a paper before the Dumfries Antiquarian Society, supplying some interesting glimpses of bygone times, furnished by the Kirk-Session Records of Dumfries. Not the least important information was that relating to punishments of the past. It will not be without interest to notice a few of the cases. In the year 1637, a man named Thomas Meik had been found guilty of slandering Agnes Fleming, and he was sentenced to stand for a certain time in the jougs at the tron, and subsequently on his bare knees at the market cross to ask her pardon.

The case of Bessie Black was investigated, and it was proved that for the third time she had been found guilty of leaving the path of virtue, and for her transgressions she was directed for six Sabbaths to stand at the Cross in the jougs. In another case it was proved that two servants had been found guilty of scolding each other, and sentence was given that they were "to be put into the jougs presently." A curious sentence was passed in the year 1644. A man and his wife were ordered to stand at the Kirk-style with the branks in their mouths.

Exposure of persons to the contempt of the public was formerly a common form of punishment in Scotland. Curious information bearing on the subject may be gleaned from the old newspapers. We gather from the columns of the Aberdeen Journal, for the year 1759, particulars of three women, named Janet Shinney, Margaret Barrack, and Mary Duncan, who suffered by being exposed in public. "Upon trial," it is reported, "they were convicted, by their own confessions, of being in the practice, for some time past, of stealing and resetting tea and sugar, and several other kinds of merchant's goods, from a merchant in the town. And the Magistrates have sentenced them to be carried to the Market Cross of Aberdeen, on Thursday the 31st [May, 1759], at twelve o'clock at noon, and to be tied to a stake bareheaded for one hour by the executioner, with a rope about each of their necks, and a paper on their breasts denoting their crime; to be removed to prison, and taken down again on Friday the 1st June at twelve o'clock, and to stand an hour at the Market Cross in the manner above mentioned; and thereafter to be transported through the whole streets of the town in a cart bareheaded (for the greater ignominy), with the executioner and tuck of drum, and to be banished the burgh and liberties in all time coming." In bygone ages, it was a common custom to banish persons from towns for immoral conduct. A woman at Dumfries, for example, was for a fourth lapse from virtue sentenced "to be carted from the toun."

At a meeting of the Kirk-Session at Lesmahagow, held in June, 1697, the case of a shepherd who had shorn his sheep on the Parish Fast was seriously discussed, with a view to severely punishing him for the offence. A minute as follows was passed: "The Session, considering that there are several scandals of this nature breaking forth, recommends to the bailie of the bailerie of Lesmahagow to fix a pair of jougs at the kirk door, that he may cause punish corporally those who are not able to pay fines, and that according to law."

A common word in Ayrshire for the jougs was "bregan." In the accounts of the parish of Mauchline is an entry as under:

1681. For a lock to the bregan and mending it L1 16 0

In Jamieson's "Dictionary" it is spelled "braidyeane." Persons neglecting to attend church on the Sunday were frequently put into the jougs. Several cases of this kind might be cited, but perhaps particulars of one will be sufficient. A man named John Persene was brought before the Kirk-Session of Galston, in 1651. He admitted he had not been to church for the space of five weeks. For thus neglecting to attend to the ordinances, he was "injoyned to apier in the public place of repentence, and there to be publicly rebuked, with certificatione that if he be found to be two Sabbaths together absent from the church he shall be put in the breggan."

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