In "Prehistoric Annals of Scotland," by Daniel Wilson, LL.D. (London, 1863), there is a drawing of a fine old pair of jougs, "found," says Wilson, "imbedded in a venerable ash tree, recently blown down, at the churchyard gate, Applegirth, Dumfriesshire. The tree, which was of great girth, is believed to have been upwards of three hundred years old, and the jougs were completely imbedded in its trunk, while the chain and staple hung down within the decayed and hollow core." The jougs belonging to the parish of Galashiels are preserved at Abbotsford. At Merton, Berwickshire, the jougs may be seen at the church. The Fenwick jougs are still fastened to the church wall, and the old Session Records of the parish contain references to cases where persons were ordered to "stand in the jougs from eight till ten, and thence go to the place of repentence within ye kirk." At the village of Kilmaurs, Ayrshire, the jougs are attached to the old Tolbooth, at the town of Kinross are fastened to the market cross, and at Sanquhar they are in front of the town hall.
We give three illustrations of the jougs. One represents a very fine example, which may be seen in the Priory Church of Bridlington, Yorkshire. We believe that this is the first picture which has been published of this interesting old-times relic. It is referred to in the local guide book, but no information is given as to when last used.
It is stated in the "History of Wakefield Cathedral," by John W. Walker, F.S.A., that "an old chain, leaded into the wall at the junction of the north aisle with the tower in the interior of the church, is said to have been used for the purpose of fastening up persons who disturbed the service." This may be safely assumed that formerly the jougs were affixed at the end of the chain.
In the Museum of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Edinburgh, may be seen the jougs of the old parish church of Clova, Forfarshire. About a mile from Edinburgh is the charming hamlet of Duddingston, and at the churchyard gate are the jougs, which form a curious link between the ruder customs of bygone ages and the more refined life of modern times.
 Rogers's "Scotland, Social and Domestic."
Stocks were used, at an early period, as a means of punishing breakers of the law. The precise date when they were first employed in this country is not known, but we may infer from early mediaeval illustrations that the stocks were in general use amongst the Anglo-Saxons, for they often figure in drawings of their public places. The picture we here give is from the Harleian MSS., No. 65. The stocks were usually placed by the side of the public road, at the entrance of a town. It will be observed that two offenders are fastened to the columns of a public building by means of a rope or chain. It has been suggested that it is a court-house.
The "Cambridge Trinity College Psalter"—an illuminated manuscript—presents some curious illustrations of the manners of the earlier half of the twelfth century. We give a reproduction of one of its quaint pictures. Two men are in the stocks; one, it will be seen, is held by one leg only, and the other by both, and a couple of persons are taunting them in their time of trouble.
Stocks were not only used as a mode of punishment, but as means of securing offenders. In bygone times, every vill of common right was compelled to erect a pair of stocks at its own expense. The constable by common law might place persons in the stocks to keep them in hold, but not by way of punishment.
We gather from an Act passed during the reign of Edward III., in the year 1351, and known as the Second Statute of Labourers, that if artificers were unruly they were liable to be placed in the stocks. Some years later, namely, in 1376, the Commons prayed that the stocks might be established in every village. In 1405, an Act was passed for every town and village to be provided with a pair of stocks, so that a place which had not this instrument of punishment and detention was regarded as a hamlet. No village was considered to be complete, or even worthy of the name of village, without its stocks, so essential to due order and government were they deemed to be. A Shropshire historian, speaking of a hamlet called Hulston, in the township of Middle, in order, apparently, to prove that in calling the place a hamlet and not a village he was speaking correctly, remarks in proof of his assertion, that Hulston did not then, or ever before, possess a constable, a pound, or stocks.
Wynkyn de Worde, who, in company with Richard Pynsent, succeeded to Caxton's printing business, in the year 1491, issued from his press the play of "Hick Scorner," and in one of the scenes the stocks are introduced. The works of Shakespeare include numerous allusions to this subject. Launce, in "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" (IV. 4), says: "I have sat in the stocks for puddings he hath stolen." In "All's Well that Ends Well" (IV. 3), Bertram says: "Come, bring forth this counterfeit module has deceived me, like a double-meaning prophesier." Whereupon one of the French lords adds: "Bring him forth; has sat i' stocks all night, poor gallant knave." Volumnia says of Coriolanus (V. 3):
"There's no man in the world More bound to's mother; yet here let me prate Like one i' the stocks."
Again, in the "Comedy of Errors" (III. 1), Luce speaks of "a pair of stocks in the town," and in "King Lear" (II. 2), Cornwall, referring to Kent, says:
"Fetch forth the stocks! You stubborn ancient knave."
It would seem that formerly, in great houses, as in some colleges, there were movable stocks for the correction of the servants.
In Butler's "Hudibras" are allusions to the stocks. Says the poet:
"An old dull sot, who toll'd the clock For many years at Bridewell-dock; . . . Engaged the constable to seize All those that would not break the peace; Let out the stocks and whipping-post, And cage, to those that gave him most."
We are enabled, by the kindness of Mr. Austin Dobson, author of "Thomas Bewick and his Pupils," to reproduce from that work a picture of the stocks, engraved by Charlton Nesbit for Butler's "Hudibras," 1811.
Scottish history contains allusions to the stocks; but in North Britain they do not appear to have been so generally used as in England. On the 24th August, 1623, a case occupied the attention of the members of the Kirk-Session of Kinghorn. It was proved that a man named William Allan had been guilty of abusing his wife on the Sabbath, and for the offence was condemned to be placed twenty-four hours in the stocks, and subsequently to stand in the jougs two hours on a market day. It was further intimated to him that if he again abused his wife, he would be banished from the town. We give a picture of the stocks formerly in the Canongate Tolbooth, Edinburgh, and now in the Scottish Antiquarian Museum.
It was enacted, in the year 1605, that every person convicted of drunkenness should be fined five shillings or spend six hours in the stocks, and James I., in the year 1623, confirmed the Act. Stocks were usually employed for punishing drunkards, but drunkenness was by no means the only offence for which they were brought into requisition. Wood-stealers, or, as they were styled, "hedge-tearers," were, about 1584, set in the stocks two days in the open street, with the stolen wood before them, as a punishment for a second offence. Vagrants were in former times often put in the stocks, and Canning's "Needy Knife-Grinder" was taken for one, and punished.
In a valuable work mainly dealing with Devonshire, by A. H. A. Hamilton, entitled, "Quarter Sessions from Queen Elizabeth to Queen Anne," there is an important note on this subject. "A favourite punishment," says Hamilton, "for small offences, such as resisting a constable, was the stocks. The offender had to come into the church at morning prayer, and say publicly that he was sorry, and was then set in the stocks until the end of the evening prayer. The punishment was generally repeated on the next market day."
Tippling on a Sunday during public divine service was in years agone a violation of the laws, and frequently was the means of offenders being placed in the stocks. In Sheffield, from a record dated February 12th, 1790, we find that for drinking in a public-house, during the time of service in the church, nine men were locked in the stocks. "Two boys," we find it is stated in the same work, "were made to do penance in the church for playing at trip during divine service, by standing in the midst of the church with their trip sticks erect."
Not far distant from Sheffield is the village of Whiston, and here remain the old parish stocks near to the church, and bear the date of 1786.
Perhaps the most notable person ever placed in the stocks for drinking freely, but not wisely, was Cardinal Wolsey. He was, about the year 1500, the incumbent at Lymington, near Yeovil, and at the village feast had overstepped the bounds of moderation, and his condition being made known to Sir Amias Poulett, J.P., a strict moralist, he was, by his instructions, humiliated by being placed in the stocks. It was the general practice in bygone days, not very far remote, for churchwardens to visit the various public-houses during the time of church service and see that no persons were drinking. At Beverley, about 1853, the representatives of the church, while on their rounds, met in the streets a well-known local character called Jim Brigham, staggering along the street. The poor fellow was taken into custody, and next day brought before the Mayor, and after being severely spoken to about the sin of Sunday tippling, he was sentenced to the stocks for two hours. An eye-witness to Jim's punishment says: "While he was in the stocks, one of the Corporation officials placed in Jim's hat a sheet of paper, stating the cause of his punishment and its extent. A young man who had been articled to a lawyer, but who was not practising, stepped forward, and taking the paper out, tore it into shreds, remarking it was no part of Jim's sentence to be subjected to that additional disgrace. The act was applauded by the onlookers. One working-man who sympathised with him, filled and lit a tobacco pipe, and placed it in Jim's mouth; but it was instantly removed by one of the constables, who considered it was a most flagrant act, and one calling for prompt interference on the part of the guardians of the law." Brigham was the last person punished in the stocks at Beverley. The stocks, which bear the date 1789, were movable, and fitted into sockets near the Market Cross. They are still preserved in a chamber at St. Mary's in that town. The Minster, Beverley, had also its stocks, which are still preserved in the roof of that splendid edifice.
The stocks were last used at Market Drayton about sixty years ago. "It is related," says Mr. Morris, "that some men, for imbibing too freely and speaking unseemly language to parishioners, as they were going to church on a Sunday morning, were, on the following day, duly charged with the offence and fined, the alternative being confinement for four hours in the stocks. Two of the men refused to pay the fine, and were consequently put therein. The people flocked around them, and, while some regaled them with an ample supply of beer, others expressed their sympathy in a more practical way by giving them money, so that, when released, their heads and their pockets were considerably heavier than they had been on the previous Sunday." At Ellesmere, the stocks, whipping-post, and pillory were a combination of engines of punishment. The former were frequently in use for the correction of drunkards. A regular customer, we read, was "honoured by a local poet with some impromptu verses not unworthy of reproduction:
"'A tailor here! confined in stocks, A prison made of wood—a—, Weeping and wailing to get out, But couldna' for his blood—a—
"'The pillory, it hung o'er his head, The whipping-post so near—a— A crowd of people round about Did at William laugh and jeer—a—'"
"The style was," it is said, "a sarcastic imitation of 'William's' peculiar manner of speaking when tipsy."
According to Mr. Christopher A. Markham, in his notices of Gretton stocks, they "still stand on the village green; they were made to secure three men, and have shackles on the post for whipping; they are in a good state of repair. Joshua Pollard, of Gretton, was placed in them, in the year 1857, for six hours, in default of paying five shillings and costs for drunkenness." In the following year a man was put in the stocks for a similar offence. It is asserted that a man was placed in the Aynhoe stocks in 1846 for using bad language. Card-sharpers and the like often suffered in the stocks. It appears from the Shrewsbury Chronicle of May 1st, 1829, that the punishment of the stocks was inflicted "at Shrewsbury on three Birmingham youths for imposing on 'the flats' of the town with the games of 'thimble and pea' and 'prick the garter.'"
A very late instance of a man being placed in the stocks for gambling was recorded in the Leeds Mercury, under date of April 14th, 1860. "A notorious character," it is stated, "named John Gambles, of Stanningley, having been convicted some months ago for Sunday gambling, and sentenced to sit in the stocks for six hours, left the locality, returned lately, and suffered his punishment by sitting in the stocks from two till eight o'clock on Tuesday last." Several writers on this old form of punishment regard the foregoing as the latest instance of a person being confined in the stocks; it is, however, not the case, for one Mark Tuck, of Newbury, Berkshire, in 1872, was placed in them. The following particulars are furnished in Notes and Queries, 4th series, vol. x., p. 6:—"A novel scene was presented in the Butter and Poultry Market, at Newbury, on Tuesday (June 11th, 1872) afternoon. Mark Tuck, a rag and bone dealer, who for several years had been well known in the town as a man of intemperate habits, and upon whom imprisonment in Reading gaol had failed to produce any beneficial effect, was fixed in the stocks for drunkenness and disorderly conduct in the Parish Church on Monday evening. Twenty-six years had elapsed since the stocks were last used, and their reappearance created no little sensation and amusement, several hundreds of persons being attracted to the spot where they were fixed. Tuck was seated upon a stool, and his legs were secured in the stocks at a few minutes past one o'clock, and as the church clock, immediately facing him, chimed each quarter, he uttered expressions of thankfulness, and seemed anything but pleased at the laughter and derision of the crowd. Four hours having passed, Tuck was released, and by a little stratagem on the part of the police, he escaped without being interfered with by the crowd."
Attendance and repairing stocks formed quite important items in old parish accounts. A few entries drawn from the township account-books of Skipton, may be reproduced as examples:—
s. d. April 16th, 1763.—For taking up a man and setting in ye stocks 2 0
March 27th, 1739.—For mending stocks—wood and iron work 9 6
July 12th, 1756.—For pillory and stocks renewing 3 6
March 25th, 1776.—Paid John Lambert for repairing the stocks 5 6
March 25th, 1776.—Paid Christ. Brown for repairing the stocks 4 6
During their later years, the Skipton stocks were used almost solely on Sundays. A practice prevailed at Skipton similar to the one we have described at Beverley. "At a certain stage in the morning service at the church," writes Mr. Dawson, the local historian, "the churchwardens of the town and country parishes withdrew, and headed by the old beadle walked through the streets of the town. If a person was found drunk in the streets, or even drinking in one of the inns, he was promptly escorted to the stocks, and impounded for the remainder of the morning. An imposing personage was the beadle. He wore a cocked hat, trimmed, as was his official coat, with gold, and he carried about with him in majestic style a trident staff. 'A terror to evildoers' he certainly was—at any rate, to those of tender years." The churchwardens not infrequently partook of a slight refreshment during their Sunday morning rounds, and we remember seeing in the police reports of a Yorkshire town that some highly respectable representatives of the Church had been fined for drinking at an inn during their tour of inspection.
"At Bramhall, Cheshire," says Mr. Alfred Burton, to whom we are indebted for several illustrations and many valuable notes in this book, "the stocks were perfect till 1887, when the leg-stones were unfortunately taken away, and cannot now be found. Thomas Leah, about 1849, was the last person put into them. He went to the constable and asked to be placed in the stocks, a request that was granted, and he remained there all night. On the 9th August, 1822, two women were incarcerated in the stocks in the market place at Stockport, for three hours, one for getting drunk, the other for gross and deliberate scandal."
We give an illustration from a recent photograph by Mr. A. Whitford Anderson, of Watford, of the stocks and whipping-post at Aldbury, Hertfordshire. It presents one of the best pictures of these old-time relics which has come under our notice. We have no desire for the stocks and lash to be revived, but we hope these obsolete engines of punishments will long remain linking the past with the present.
In closing this chapter we must not omit to state that in the olden time persons refusing to assist in getting in the corn or hay harvest were liable to be imprisoned in the stocks. At the Northamptonshire Quarter Sessions held in 1688, the time was fixed at two days and one night.
 Morris's "Obsolete Punishments of Shropshire."
 Dyer's "Folk-Lore of Shakespeare."
 Roberts's "Social History of the Southern Counties of England," 1856.
 W. H. Dawson's "History of Skipton," 1882.
The Drunkard's Cloak.
Several historians, dealing with the social life of England in bygone times, have described the wearing of a barrel after the manner of a cloak as a general mode of punishing drunkards, in force during the Commonwealth. There appears to be little foundation for the statement, and, after careful consideration, we have come to the conclusion that this mode of punishment was, as regards this country, confined to Newcastle-on-Tyne.
In the year 1655 was printed in London a work entitled, "England's Grievance Discovered in Relation to the Coal Trade," by Ralph Gardner, of Chirton, in the county of Northumberland, Gent. The book is dedicated to "Oliver, Lord Protector." Gardner not only gave a list of grievances, but suggested measures to reform them. It will be gathered from the following proposed remedy that he was not any advocate of half measures in punishing persons guilty of offences. He suggested that a law be created for death to those who should commit perjury, forgery, or bribery.
More than one writer has said that Gardner was executed in 1661, at York, for coining, but there is not any truth in the statement. We have proof that he was conducting his business after the year in which it is stated that he suffered death at the hands of the public executioner.
Gardner, in his work, gave depositions of witnesses to support his charges against "the tyrannical oppression of the magistrates of Newcastle-on-Tyne." "John Willis, of Ipswich," he writes, "upon his oath said, that he, and this deponent, was in Newcastle six months ago, and there he saw one Ann Bridlestone drove through the streets by an officer of the same corporation, holding a rope in his hand, the other end fastened to an engine called the branks, which is like a crown, it being of iron, which was musled over the head and face, with a great gag or tongue of iron forced into her mouth, which forced the blood out; and that is the punishment which the magistrates do inflict upon chiding and scoulding women; and he hath often seen the like done to others."
"He, this deponent, further affirms, that he hath seen men drove up and down the streets, with a great tub or barrel opened in the sides, with a hole in one end to put through their heads, and so cover their shoulders and bodies, down to the small of their legs, and then close the same, called the new-fashioned cloak, and so make them march to the view of all beholders; and this is their punishment for drunkards and the like."
Several other forms of punishment are mentioned by Gardner. Drunkards, we gather, for the first offence were fined five shillings, to be given to the poor, or in default of payment within a week, were set in the stocks for six hours. For the second offence they had to be bound for good behaviour. Scolds had to be ducked over head and ears in a ducking-stool.
"I was certainly informed," wrote Gardner, "by persons of worth, that the punishments above are but gentle admonitions to what they knew was acted by two magistrates of Newcastle: one for killing a poor workman of his own, and being questioned for it, and condemned, compounded with King James for it, paying to a Scotch lord his weight in gold and silver, every seven years or thereabouts, etc. The other magistrate found a poor man cutting a few horse sticks in his wood, for which offence he bound him to a tree, and whipt him to death."
The Rev. John Brand, in 1789, published his "History of Newcastle-on-Tyne," and reproduced in it Gardner's notice of the drunkard's cloak. Brand gives a picture of the cloak, and Mr. J. R. Boyle, F.S.A., a leading authority on North Country bibliography, tells us that he believes it to be the first pictorial representation of the cloak. Our illustration is from Richardson's "Local Historian's Table Book." Mr. Walter Scott, publisher, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, has kindly lent us the block.
Dr. T. N. Brushfield, to whom we are under an obligation for several of the facts included in this chapter, read before the British Archaeological Association, February 15th, 1888, a paper on this theme. "It is rather remarkable," said Dr. Brushfield, "that no allusion to this punishment is to be found in the Newcastle Corporation accounts or other local documents." We have reproduced from Gardner's volume the only testimony we possess of the administration of the punishment in England. There are many traces of this kind of cloak on the continent. It is noticed in "Travels in Holland," by Sir William Brereton, under date of May 29th, 1634, as seen at Delft. John Evelyn visited Delft, on August 17th, 1641, and writes that in the Senate House "hangs a weighty vessel of wood, not unlike a butter-churn, which the adventurous woman that hath two husbands at one time is to wear on her shoulders, her head peeping out at the top only, and so led about the town, as a penance for her incontinence." Samuel Pepys has an entry in his diary respecting seeing a similar barrel at the Hague, in the year 1660. We have traces of this mode of punishment in Germany. John Howard, in his work entitled "The State of Prisons in England and Wales," 1784, thus writes: "Denmark.—Some (criminals) of the lower sort, as watchmen, coachmen, etc., are punished by being led through the city in what is called 'The Spanish Mantle.' This is a kind of heavy vest, something like a tub, with an aperture for the head, and irons to enclose the neck. I measured one at Berlin, 1ft. 8in. in diameter at the top, 2ft. 11in. at the bottom, and 2ft. 11in. high.... This mode of punishment is particularly dreaded, and is one cause that night robberies are never heard of in Copenhagen."
We may safely conclude that the drunkard's cloak was introduced into Newcastle from the Continent. The author of a paper published in 1862, under the title of "A Look at the Federal Army," after speaking of crossing the Susquehanna, has some remarks about punishments. "I was," says the writer, "extremely amused to see a 'rare' specimen of Yankee invention, in the shape of an original method of punishment drill. One wretched delinquent was gratuitously framed in oak, his head being thrust through a hole cut in one end of a barrel, the other end of which had been removed; and the poor fellow 'loafed' about in the most disconsolate manner, looking for all the world like a half-hatched chicken. Another defaulter had heavy weights fastened to his wrists, his hands and feet being chained together." In conclusion, we are told that the punishments were as various as the crimes, but the man in the pillory-like barrel was deemed the most ludicrous.
The early English settlers in America introduced many English customs into the country. The pillory, stocks, ducking-stool, etc., were frequently employed. Drunkards were punished in various ways; sometimes they had to wear a large "D" in red, which was painted on a board or card, and suspended by a string round the neck.
At Haddon, Derbyshire, is a curious relic of bygone times, consisting of an iron handcuff or ring, fastened to some woodwork in the banqueting hall. If a person refused to drink the liquor assigned to him, or committed an offence against the convivial customs at the festive gatherings for which this ancient mansion was so famous, his wrist was locked in an upright position in the iron ring, and the liquor he had declined, or a quantity of cold water, was poured down the sleeve of his doublet.
Whipping and Whipping-Posts.
The Anglo-Saxons whipped prisoners with a whip of three cords, knotted at the end. It was not an uncommon practice for mistresses to whip, or have their servants whipped, to death. William of Malmesbury relates a story to the effect that when King Ethelred was a child, he on one occasion displeased his mother, and she, not having a whip at hand, flogged him with some candles until he was nearly insensible with pain. "On this account," so runs the story, "he dreaded candles during the rest of his life to such a degree that he would never suffer the light of them to be introduced in his presence." During the Saxon epoch, flogging was generally adopted as means of punishing persons guilty of offences, whether slight or serious.
For a long time in our history, payments for using the lash formed important items in the municipal accounts of towns or parish accounts of villages.
Before the monasteries were dissolved, the poor were relieved at them. No sooner had they passed away than the vagrants became a nuisance, and steps were taken to put a stop to begging; indeed, prior to this period attempts had been made to check wandering vagrants. They were referred to in the "Statute of Labourers," passed in the year 1349. Not a few enactments were made to keep down vagrancy. In the reign of Edward VI., in 1547, an Act was passed, from which it appears "that any person who had offered them work which they refused, was authorised to brand them on the breast with a V, hold them in slavery for two years, feed them during that period on bread and water, and hire them out to others." The Act failed on account of its severity, and was repealed in 1549.
It was in the reign of Henry VIII., and in the year 1530, that the famous Whipping Act was instituted, directing that vagrants were to be carried to some market town or other place, "and there tied to the end of a cart naked, and beaten with whips throughout such market town, or other place, till the body shall be bloody by reason of such whipping." Vagrants, after being whipped, had to take an oath that they would return to their native places, or where they had last dwelt for three years. Various temporary modifications were made in this Act, but it remained in force until the thirty-ninth year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when some important alterations were made. Persons were not to be publicly whipped naked, as previously, but from the middle upwards, and whipped until the body should be bloody. It was at this time that the whipping-post was substituted for the cart. Whipping-posts soon became plentiful. John Taylor, "the water poet," in one of his works, published in 1630, adverts to them as follows:
"In London, and within a mile, I ween, There are jails or prisons full eighteen, And sixty whipping-posts and stocks and cages."
We give an illustration of the Waltham Abbey Whipping-Post and Stocks, as they appeared when they stood within the old wooden market-house, which was pulled down in 1853. The post bears on it the date 1598, and is 5 feet 9 inches high; it is strongly made of oak, with iron clasps for the hands when employed as a whipping-post, and for the feet when used as the stocks. It is rather more elaborate than others which have come under our notice. It will be observed the seat for the culprits placed in the stocks was beside one of the immense oak pillars of the market-house. They are now placed with the remains of the Pillory at the entrance of the schoolroom, on the south-west side of the church.
Some of the authorities regarded with greater favour the punishment at the whipping-post than at the cart tail. An old writer deals at some length with the benefit of the former. Says he: "If to put in execution the laws of the land be of any service to the nation, which few, I think, will deny, the benefits of the whipping-post must be very apparent, as being a necessary instrument to such an execution. Indeed, the service it does to a country is inconceivable. I, myself, know a man who had proceeded to lay his hand upon a silver spoon with a design to make it his own, but on looking round, and seeing the whipping-post in his way, he desisted from the theft. Whether he suspected that the post would impeach him or not, I will not pretend to determine; some folks were of opinion that he was afraid of habeas corpus. It is likewise an infallible remedy for all lewd and disorderly behaviour, which the chairman at sessions generally employs to restrain; nor is it less beneficial to the honest part of mankind than the dishonest, for though it lies immediately in the high road to the gallows, it has stopped many an adventurous young man in his progress thither." The records of the Worcester Corporation contain many references to old-time punishments. In the year 1656 was made in the bye-law book a note of the fact that for some years past a want has been felt "for certain instruments for applying to the execution of justice upon offenders, namely, the pillory, whipping-post, and gum-stoole." The Chamberlain was directed to obtain the same. We gather from the proceedings of the Doncaster Town Council that on the 5th of May, 1713, an order was made for the erection of a whipping-post, to be set up at the Stocks, Butcher-Cross, for punishing vagrants and sturdy beggars.
Notices of whipping sometimes appear in old church books. At Kingston-on-Thames, under date of September 8th, 1572, it is recorded in the parish register as follows: "This day in this towne was kept the sessions of Gayle Delyverye, and ther was hanged vj. persons, and xvj. taken for roges and vagabonds, and whypped aboyt the market-place, and brent in the ears."
At the Quarter Sessions in Devonshire, held at Easter, 1598, it was ordered that the mothers of illegitimate children be whipped. The reputed fathers had to undergo a like punishment. A very strange order was made in the same county during the Commonwealth, and it was to the effect that every woman who had been the mother of an illegitimate child, and had not been previously punished, be committed for trial. Mr. Hamilton, in his work on the "Quarter Sessions from Queen Elizabeth to Queen Anne," has many curious notes on the subject. The Scotch pedlars and others who wended their way to push their trade in the West of England, ran a great risk of being whipped. At the Midsummer Sessions, in the year 1684, information was given to the court showing that certain Scotch pedlars, or other petty chapmen, were in the habit of selling their goods to the "greate damage and hindrance of shopp keepers." The Court passed measures for the protection of the local tradesmen, and directed the petty constables to apprehend the strangers, and without further ceremony to strip them naked, and whip them, or cause them to be openly flogged, and sent away.
The churchwardens' accounts of Barnsley contain references to the practice of whipping. Charges as follow occur:
1622. William Roggers, for going with six wanderers to Ardsley ijd.
Mr. Garnett, for makinge them a pass iijd.
Richard White, for whippeinge them accordinge to law ijd.
The constable's accounts of the same town, from 1632 to 1636, include items similar to the following:
To Edward Wood, for whiping of three wanderers sent to their dwelling-place by Sir George Plint and Mr. Rockley iiijd.
It appears from the Corporation accounts of Congleton, Cheshire, that persons were whipped at the cart tail. We find it stated:
1637. paid to boy for whippinge John ffoxe 0 2 0
paid for a carte to tye the said ffoxe unto when he was whipped 0 2 0
The notorious Judge Jeffreys, on one occasion, in sentencing a woman to be whipped, said: "Hangman, I charge you to pay particular attention to this lady. Scourge her soundly, man; scourge her till her blood runs down! It is Christmas, a cold time for madam to strip. See that you warm her shoulders thoroughly!"
At Worcester, in 1697, a new whipping-post was erected in the Corn Market, at a cost of 8s. "Men and women," says a local historian, "were whipped here promiscuously in public till the close of the last century, if not later. Fourpence was the old charge for whipping male and female rogues."
The next note on whipping is drawn from the church register of Burnham, Bucks, and is one of several similar entries: "Benjamin Smat, and his wife and three children, vagrant beggars; he of middle stature, but one eye, was this 28th day of September, 1699, with his wife and children, openly whipped at Boveney, in the parish of Burnham, in the county of Bucks, according to ye laws. And they are assigned to pass forthwith from parish to parish by ye officers thereof the next direct way to the parish of St. [Se]pulchers, Lond., where they say they last inhabited three years. And they are limited to be at St. [Se]pulch within ten days next ensuing. Given under our hands and seals, Will. Glover, Vicar of Burnham, and John Hunt, Constable of Boveney." In some instances we gather from the entries in the parish registers, after punishing the vagrants in their own parish, the authorities recommended them to the tender mercy of other persons in whose hands they might fall.
At Durham, in the year 1690, a married woman named Eleanor Wilson, was publicly whipped in the market-place, between the hours of eleven and twelve o'clock, for being drunk on Sunday, April 20th.
Insane persons did not escape the lash. In the constable's accounts of Great Staughtan, Huntingdonshire, is an item:
1690-1. Pd. in charges taking up a distracted woman, watching her, and whipping her next day 0 8 6
A still more remarkable charge is the following in the same accounts:
1710-1. Pd. Thomas Hawkins for whipping 2 people yt had small-pox 0 0 8
In 1764, we gather from the Public Ledger that a woman, who is described as "an old offender," was conveyed in a cart from Clerkenwell Bridewell to Enfield, and publicly whipped at the cart's tail by the common hangman, for cutting down and destroying wood in Enfield Chase. She had to undergo the punishment three times.
Persons obtaining goods under false pretences were frequently flogged. In 1769, at Nottingham, a young woman, aged nineteen, was found guilty of this crime, and was, by order of the Court of Quarter Sessions, stripped to the waist and publicly whipped on market-day in the market-place. In the following year, a female found guilty of stealing a handkerchief from a draper's shop, was tied to the tail of a cart and whipped from Weekday-Cross to the Malt-Cross. It was at Nottingham, a few years prior to this time, that a soldier was severely punished for drinking the Pretender's health. The particulars are briefly told as follows in Adams's Weekly Courant for Wednesday, July 20th, to Wednesday, July 27th, 1737: "Friday last, a dragoon, belonging to Lord Cadogan's Regiment, at Nottingham, received 300 lashes, and was to receive 300 more at Derby, and to be drum'd out of the Regiment with halter about his neck, for drinking the Pretender's health."
Whipping at Wakefield appears to have been a common punishment. Payments like the following frequently occur in the constable's accounts:
1787, May 15, Assistance at Whiping 3 men 0 3 0 July 6, " " 3 " 0 3 0 Aug. 17, " " 2 " 0 2 0 Sept. 7, " " 3 " 0 3 0
A fire occurred at Olney in 1783, and during the confusion a man stole some ironwork. The crime was detected, and the man was tried and sentenced to be whipped at the cart's tail. Cowper, the poet, was an eye-witness to the carrying out of the sentence, and in a letter to the Rev. John Newton gives an amusing account of it. "The fellow," wrote Cowper, "seemed to show great fortitude; but it was all an imposition. The beadle who whipped him had his left hand filled with red ochre, through which, after every stroke, he drew the lash of the whip, leaving the appearance of a wound upon the skin, but in reality not hurting him at all. This being perceived by the constable, who followed the beadle to see that he did his duty, he (the constable) applied the cane, without any such management or precaution, to the shoulders of the beadle. The scene now became interesting and exciting. The beadle could by no means be induced to strike the thief hard, which provoked the constable to strike harder; and so the double flogging continued, until a lass of Silver End, pitying the pityful beadle, thus suffering under the hands of the pityless constable, joined the procession, and placing herself immediately behind the constable, seized him by his capillary club, and pulling him backward by the same, slapped his face with Amazonian fury. This concentration of events has taken up more of my paper than I intended, but I could not forbear to inform you how the beadle thrashed the thief, the constable the beadle, and the lady the constable, and how the thief was the only person who suffered nothing." It will be gathered from the foregoing letter that the severity of the whipping depended greatly on the caprice of the man who administered it.
A statute, in 1791, expressly forbade the whipping of female vagrants. This was certainly a much needed reform.
Mr. Samuel Carter Hall, born in the year 1800, in his interesting book entitled "Retrospect of a Long Life" (1883), relates that more than once he saw the cruel punishment inflicted.
On the 8th of May, 1822, a man was whipped through the streets of Glasgow by the hangman for taking part in a riot. He was the last person to undergo public whipping at the cart's tail in Glasgow.
At Coleshill are standing a whipping-post, pillory and stocks, and as might be expected they attract a good deal of attention from the visitors to this quiet Midland town. Several writers have stated that this is the only whipping-post remaining in this country; this is, however, a mistake, as we have shown in the present chapter. We have not been able to discover when last used. Our illustration is from a carefully executed drawing made some years ago.
The old town of Kirton-in-Lindsey, Lincolnshire, in bygone times was a place of importance, and amongst the names of those who have held its manor is that of Piers Gaveston, the favourite of Edward II. Near the modern police station is a post on which are irons, enabling it to be used as a whipping-post and stocks. No references relating to it can be found in the local old-time accounts or other documents. Old folk say that in years agone people were detained at the post by means of the irons, but no instances are remembered of a whip being employed.
It was formerly the custom in London and other places, at the time of executions, for parents to whip their children, so as to impress upon their minds the awful lessons of the gallows. Executions were very often occurring, for people were hanged for trifling offences. Down to the year 1808, the crime of stealing from the person above the value of a shilling was punishable with death. Children must have had a hard time of it, and been frequently flogged.
Whipping servants was a common practice in the olden time. Pepys and other old writers make note of it.
The well-known "Diary of a Lady of Quality" contains some interesting glimpses of old days and ways. Under date of January 30th, 1760, Lady Francis Pennoyer, of Bullingham Court, Herefordshire, refers to one of her maids speaking in the housekeeper's room about a matter that was not to the credit of the family. My lady felt that there was truth in what the girl said, but it was not in her place to speak, and her ladyship resolved to make her know and keep her place. "She hath a pretty face," says the diarist, "and should not be too ready to speak ill of those above her in station. I should be very sorry to turn her adrift upon the world, and she hath but a poor home. Sent for her to my room, and gave her choice, either to be well whipped, or to leave the house instantly. She chose wisely, I think, and, with many tears, said I might do what I liked. I bade her attend my chamber to-morrow at twelve." Next day her ladyship writes in her diary: "Dearlove, my maid, came to my room, as I bade her. I bade her fetch the rod from what was my mother-in-law's rod-closet, and kneel and ask pardon, which she did with tears. I made her prepare, and I whipped her well. The girl's flesh is plump and firm, and she is a cleanly person—such a one, not excepting my own daughters, who are thin, and one of them, Charlotte, rather sallow, as I have not whipped for a long time. She hath never been whipped before, she says, since she was a child (what can her mother and late lady have been about, I wonder?), and she cried out a great deal." Children and servants appear to have been frequently flogged at Bullingham Court, both by its lord and lady. In other homes similar practices prevailed.
Church discipline in the olden days caused the highest and lowest in the land to perform penance in public. A notable instance of a king subjecting himself to this humiliating form of punishment is that of Henry II. The story of the King's quarrels with Becket, and of his unfortunate expression which led four knights to enact a tragic deed in Canterbury Cathedral, is familiar to the reader of history. After the foul murder of Becket had been committed, the King was in great distress, and resolved to do penance at the grave of the murdered Archbishop. Mounted on his horse, he rode to Canterbury, and on coming in sight of the Cathedral, he dismounted, and walked barefooted to Becket's shrine. He spent the day in prayer and fasting, and at night watched the relics of the saint. He next, in presence of the monks, disrobed himself, and presented his bare shoulders for them to lash.
At Canossa, in the winter of 1077, was performed a most degrading act of penance by Emperor Henry IV. of Germany. He had been excommunicated by Pope Gregory VII., and had suffered much on that account. He resolved to see the Pope, and, if possible, obtain absolution. The Emperor made a long and toilsome journey in the cold, in company with his loving wife Bertha, his infant son, and only one knight. The Pope refused to see the Emperor until he had humbled himself at the gates of the castle. "On a dreary winter morning," say Baring-Gould and Gilman, in their "History of Germany," "with the ground deep in snow, the King, the heir of a line of emperors, was forced to lay aside every mark of royalty, was clad in the thin white dress of the penitent, and there fasting, he awaited the pleasure of the Pope in the castle yard. But the gates did not unclose. A second day he stood, cold, hungry, and mocked by vain hope." On the close of the third day, we are told that he was received and pardoned by the Pope.
The romantic story of Eleanor Cobham, first mistress and afterwards wife of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, is one of considerable interest in illustrating the strange beliefs of the olden times. The Duchess was tried in the year 1441, for treason and witchcraft. It transpired that two of her accomplices had made, by her direction, a waxen image of the reigning monarch, Henry VI. They had placed it before a slow fire, believing that the King's life would waste away as the figure did. In the event of Henry's death, the Duke of Gloucester, as the nearest heir to the house of Lancaster, would have been crowned king. On the 9th November, sentence was pronounced upon the Duchess: it was to the effect that she perform public penance in three open places in London, and end her days in prison in the Isle of Man. The manner of her doing penance was as follows: "On Monday, the 13th, she came by water from Westminster, and landing at Temple Bridge, walked at noon-day through Fleet Street, bearing a waxen taper of two pounds weight, to St. Paul's, where she offered it at the high altar. On the Wednesday following, she landed at the Old Swan, and passed through Bride Street, Gracechurch Street, and to Leadenhall, and at Cree Church, near Aldgate, made her second offering. On the ensuing Friday she was put on shore at Queenhithe, whence she proceeded to St. Michael's Church, Cornhill, and so completed her penance. In each of these processions her head was covered only by a kerchief; her feet were bare; scrolls, containing a narrative of her crime, were affixed to her white dress; and she was received and attended by the Mayor, Sheriff, and Companies of London."
The historian, biographer, poet, playwright, and story-teller have all related details of the career of Jane Shore. A sad tale it is, but one which has always been popular both with gentle and simple. It is not necessary to relate here at length the story of her life. She was born in London, was a woman of considerable personal charms, and could do what few ladies of her time were able to accomplish—namely, read well and write. When some sixteen or seventeen years of age, she married William Shore, a goldsmith and banker, of Lombard Street. She lived with her husband seven years, but about 1470, left him to become one of the mistresses of Edward IV. Her beauty, wit, and pleasant behaviour rendered her popular at Court. The King died in 1483, and within two months she was charged by Richard III. with sorcery and witchcraft, but the charges could not be sustained. Her property, equal to about L20,000 at the present time, was taken from her by the King. He afterwards caused her to be brought before the Ecclesiastical Court and tried for incontinence, and for the crime she had to do penance in the streets of London. Perhaps we cannot do better than quote Rowe's drama to relate this part of her story:
Submissive, sad, and lonely was her look; A burning taper in her hand she bore; And on her shoulders, carelessly confused, With loose neglect her lovely tresses hung; Upon her cheek a faintish flush was spread; Feeble she seemed, and sorely smit with pain; While, barefoot as she trod the flinty pavement, Her footsteps all along were marked with blood. Yet silent still she passed, and unrepining; Her streaming eyes bent ever on the earth, Except when, in some bitter pang of sorrow, To heaven, she seemed, in fervent zeal to raise, And beg that mercy man denied her here.
We need not go into details respecting her life from this time, but briefly state that it is a popular error to suppose that she was starved in a ditch, and that the circumstance gave rise to the name of a part of London known as Shoreditch. The black-letter ballad in the Pepys collection, which makes Jane Shore die of hunger after doing penance, and a man suffer death on the gallows for giving her bread, is without foundation. She died about 1533 or 1534, when she was upwards of eighty years of age. It is asserted that she strewed flowers at the funeral of Henry VII.
A curious act of penance was performed in Hull, in the year 1534, by the Vicar of North Cave. He appears to have made a study of the works of the Reformers who had settled in Antwerp, and sent over their books to England. In a sermon preached in the Holy Trinity Church, Hull, he advocated their teaching, and for this he was tried for heresy and convicted. He recanted, and, as an act of penance, one Sunday walked round the church barefooted, with only his shirt on, and carrying a large faggot in his hand to represent the punishment he deserved. On the next market-day, in a similar manner, he walked round the market-place of the town.
In the year 1602, a man named Cuthbert Pearson Foster, residing in the parish of St. Nicholas, Durham, was brought before the Ecclesiastical Court, charged with "playing at nine-holes upon the Sabbath day in time of divine service," and was condemned to stand once in the parish church during service, clad in a white sheet. In the following year, the four churchwardens—Rowland Swinburn, William Harp, Richard Surtees, and Cuthbert Dixon, men esteemed in Durham, and holding good positions—were found guilty and admonished for a serious breach of duty, "for not searching who was absent from the church on the Sabbath and festive days, for it is credibly reported that drinking, banqueting, and playing at cards, and other lawless games, are used in their parish in alehouses, and they never made search thereof."
Of persons in the humble ranks of life who have performed public penance in white sheets in churches, for unchastity, there are numerous entries in parish registers. For immorality, prior to marriage, man and wife were sometimes obliged to do penance. The Rev. Dr. J. Charles Cox found particulars of a case of this kind recorded in the Wooley MSS., in the British Museum, where a married couple, in the reign of James I., performed penance in Wirksworth Church.
In parish registers are records like the following, drawn from the Roxby (Lincolnshire) parish register: "Memorandum.—Michael Kirby and Dixon, Wid. had 2 Bastard Children, one in 1725, ye other in 1727, for which they did publick pennance in our P'ish Church." "Michael Kirby and Anne Dixon, both together did publick penance in our Parish Churche, Feb. ye 25th, 1727, for adultery."
A memorandum in the parish register of North Aston, Oxfordshire, states: "That Mr. Cooper sent in a form of penance by Mr. Wakefield, of Deddington, that Catherine King should do penance in ye parish church of North Aston, ye sixth day of March, 1740, and accordingly she did. Witness, Will Vaughan, Charles May, John Baillis, Churchwardens." We learn from the same records that another person, who had become a mother before she was made a wife, left the parish to avoid doing public penance.
In the old churchwardens' accounts of Wakefield, are several items bearing on this subject, and amongst the number are the following:
L s. d. 1679.—To Jos. Green for black bess penanc sheet 00 05 06
1709.—Allowed the Parish Churchwardens for goeing to Leeds with ye man and woman to doe penance 0 5 0
1725.—June 13. Paid Jno. Briggs for the Lent of 3 sheets for 3 persons to do pennance 00 01 6
1731.—Nov. 6. Paid for the loan of two white Sheets 6
1732.—Oct. 8. Pd. for the loan of 7 sheets for penances 1 9
1735.—Nov. 1. Pd. for a sheet that —— had to do penance in 1 0
1736.—Sep. 27. Pd. for two sheets ye women did penans in 8
1736.—Oct. 10. Pd. for a sheet for Stringer to do penance in 4
1737.—June 23. Pd. for a sheet for Eliza Redhead penance 4
1750.—Dec. 26. To Priestly for a sheet & attending a woman's penance 5 0
"On February 27th, 1815," says Mr. John W. Walker, "William Hepworth, a shoemaker, did penance in the Parish Church for defaming the character of an old woman named Elizabeth Blacketer. They both lived in Cock and Swan Yard, Westgate, and the suit was carried on by one George Robinson, an attorney, out of spite to the cobbler."
"On Sunday, August 25th, 1850, a penance was performed in the Parish Church, by sentence of the Ecclesiastical Court, on a person who had defamed the character of a lady in Wakefield. A recantation was repeated by the penitent after the Vicar, and then signed by the interested parties."
The historian of Cleveland, Mr. George Markham Tweddell, furnishes us with a copy of a document enjoining penance to be performed in 1766, by James Beadnell, of Stokesley, in the diocese of York, tailor: "The said James Beadnell shall be present in the Parish Church of Stokesley, aforesaid, upon Sunday, being the fifth, twelfth, and nineteenth day of January instant, in the time of Divine service, between the hours of ten and eleven in the forenoon of the same day, in the presence of the whole congregation then assembled, being barehead, barefoot, and barelegged, having a white sheet wrapped about him from the shoulder to the feet, and a white wand in his hand, where, immediately after the reading of the Gospel, he shall stand upon some form or seat, before the pulpit or place where the minister readeth prayers, and say after him as forthwith: 'Whereas, I, good people, forgetting my duty to Almighty God, have committed the detestable sin of adultery with Ann Andrewes, and thereby have provoked the heavy wrath of God against me to the great danger of my soul and evil example of others. I do earnestly repent, and am heartily sorry for the same, desiring Almighty God, for the merits of Jesus Christ, to forgive me both this and all other my offences, and also ever hereafter so to assist me with His Holy Spirit, that I never fall into the like offence again; and for that end and purpose, I desire you all here present to pray for me, saying, "Our Father, which art in heaven," and so forth.'"
Towards the close of the last century, it was the practice of women doing penance at Poulton Church, Lancashire, to pass along the aisles barefooted, clothed in a white sheet, and having in each hand a lighted candle. The last time the ceremony was performed, we are told, the cries of the poor girl melted the heart of the people, and the well-disposed raised a clamour against it, and caused the practice to be discontinued.
The Rev. Thomas Jackson, the popular Wesleyan minister, was born at Sancton, a village on the Yorkshire Wolds, in 1783. Writing of his earlier years spent in his native village, he describes two cases of public penance which he witnessed. "A farmer's son," says Mr. Jackson, "the father of an illegitimate child, came into church at the time of divine service, on the Lord's day, covered with a sheet, having a white wand in his hand; he walked barefoot up the aisle, stood over against the desk where the prayers were read, and then repeated a confession at the dictation of the clergyman; after which he walked out of the church. The other case was that of a young woman,
'Who bore unhusbanded a mother's name.'
She also came into the church barefoot, covered with a sheet, bearing a white wand, and went through the same ceremony. She had one advantage which the young man had not. Her long hair so completely covered her face that not a feature could be seen. In a large town, few persons would have known who she was, but in a small village every one is known, and no public delinquent can escape observation, and the censure of busy tongues. These appear to have been the last cases of the kind that occurred at Sancton. The sin was perpetuated, but the penalty ceased; my father observed that the rich offenders evaded the law, and then the authorities could not for shame continue to inflict its penalty upon the labouring classes."
In the month of April, 1849, penance was performed at Ditton Church, Cambridgeshire.
The Church of East Clevedon, Somersetshire, on July 30th, 1882, was the scene of a man performing penance in public, and the act attracted much attention in the newspapers of the time.
 Walker's "History of Wakefield Cathedral."
 Rev. Thomas Jackson's "Recollections of my own Life and Times," 1873.
The Repentance Stool.
The records of church-life in Scotland, in bygone times, contain many allusions to the repentance stool. A very good specimen of this old-time relic may be seen in the Museum of the Society of Antiquaries, at Edinburgh. It is from the church of Old Greyfriars, of Edinburgh. In the same museum is a sackcloth, or gown of repentance, formerly used at the parish church of West Calder.
Persons guilty of adultery were frequently placed on the repentance stool, and rebuked before the congregation assembled for public worship. The ordeal was a most trying one. Severe laws have been passed in Scotland to check adultery. "In the First Book of Discipline," says the Rev. Charles Rogers, LL.D., "the Reformers demanded that adulterers should be put to death. Their desire was not fully complied with, but in 1563 Parliament enacted that 'notour adulterers'—meaning those of whose illicit connection a child had been born—should be executed." Dr. Rogers and other authorities assert that the penalty was occasionally inflicted.
Paul Methven, minister at Jedburgh, in the year 1563, admitted that he had been guilty of adultery. The General Assembly conferred with the Lords of the Council respecting his conduct. Three years later, we are told, that he was "permitted to prostrate himself on the floor of the Assembly, and with weeping and howling to entreat for pardon." His sentence was as follows: "That in Edinburgh, as the capital, in Dundee, as his native town, and in Jedburgh, the scene of his ministrations, he should stand in sackcloth at the church door, also on the repentance stool, and for two Sundays in each place."
A man, on his own confession, was tried for adultery at the Presbytery of Paisley, on November 16th, 1626, and directed to "stand and abyde six Sabbaths barefooted and barelegged at the kirk-door of Paisley between the second and third bell-ringing, and thereafter to goe to the place of public repentance during the said space of six Sabbaths."
At Stow, in 1627, for a similar crime, a man was condemned to "sittin' eighteen dyetts" upon the stool of repentance. Particulars of many cases similar to the foregoing may be found in the pages of "Social Life in Scotland," by the Rev. Charles Rogers, in "Old Church Life in Scotland," by the Rev. Andrew Edgar, and in other works.
Notes bearing on this subject sometimes find their way into the newspapers, and a couple of paragraphs from the Liverpool Mercury may be quoted. On November 18th, 1876, it was stated that "in a church in the Black Isle, Ross-shire, on a recent Sunday, a woman who had been guilty of transgressing the seventh commandment was condemned to the 'cutty-stool,' and sat during the whole service with a black shawl thrown over her head." A note in the issue for 22nd February, 1884, says that "one of the ringleaders in the Sabbatarian riots at Strome Ferry, in June last, was recently publicly rebuked and admonished on the 'cutty-stool,' in the Free Church, Lochcarron, for an offence against the moral code, which, according to Free Church discipline in the Highlands, could not be expiated in any other way."
Scolding women in the olden times were treated as offenders against the public peace, and for their transgressions were subjected to several cruel modes of punishment. The Corporations of towns during the Middle Ages made their own regulations for punishing persons guilty of crimes which were not rendered penal by the laws of the land. The punishments for correcting scolds differed greatly in various parts of the country. It is clear, from a careful study of the history of mediaeval times, that virtue and amiability amongst the middle and lower classes, generally speaking, did not prevail. The free use of the tongue gave rise to riots and feuds to an extent which it is difficult for us to realise at the present day. A strong feeling against scolding women came down to a late period. Readers of Boswell's "Life of Johnson" will remember how the Doctor, in reply to a remark made by a celebrated Quaker lady, Mrs. Knowles, observed: "Madam, we have different modes of restraining evil—stocks for men, a ducking-stool for women, and a pound for beasts."
The cucking-stool in the early history of England must not be confounded with the ducking-stool. They were two distinct machines. It appears, from a record in the "Domesday Book," that as far back as the days of Edward the Confessor, any man or woman detected giving false measure in the city of Chester was fined four shillings; and for brewing bad ale, was placed in the cathedra stercoris. It was a degrading mode of chastisement, the culprits being seated in the chair at their own doors or in some public place. At Leicester, in 1467, the local authorities directed "scolds to be punished by the mayor on a cuck-stool before their own doors, and then carried to the four gates of the town." According to Borlase's "Natural History of Cornwall," in that part of the country the cucking-stool was used "as a seat of infamy, where strumpets and scolds, with bare feet and head, were condemned to abide the derision of those that passed by, for such time as the bailiffs of the manors, which had the privilege of such jurisdiction, did approve." Ale-wives in Scotland in bygone times who sold bad ale were placed in the cucking-stool. In the year 1555, we learn from Thomas Wright that "it was enacted by the queen-regent of Scotland that itinerant singing women should be put on the cuck-stoles of every burgh or town; and the first 'Homily against Contention,' part 3, published in 1562, sets forth that 'in all well-ordered cities common brawlers and scolders be punished with a notable kind of paine, as to be set on the cucking-stole, pillory, or such-like.' By the statute of 3 Henry VIII., carders and spinners of wool who were convicted of fraudulent practices were to be sett upon the pillory or the cukkyng-stole, man or woman, as the case shall require." We agree with Mr. Wright when he observes that the preceding passages are worded in such a manner as not to lead us to suppose that the offenders were ducked. In the course of time the terms cucking and ducking stools became synonymous, and implied the machines for the ducking of scolds in water.
In some places the term thewe was used for a cucking-stool. This was the case at Hedon, and it occurs in pleadings at Chester before the itinerant justices and Henry VII., when George Grey, Earl of Kent, claims the right in his manor of Bushton and Ayton of punishing brawlers by the thewe. Other instances of its use might be cited.
An intelligent Frenchman, named Misson, visited England about 1700, and has left on record one of the best descriptions of a ducking-stool that has been written. It occurs in a work entitled "Travels in England." "The way of punishing scolding women," he writes, "is pleasant enough. They fasten an arm chair to the end of two beams, twelve or fifteen feet long, and parallel to each other, so that these two pieces of wood, with their two ends, embrace the chair, which hangs between them upon a sort of axle, by which means it plays freely, and always remains in the natural horizontal position in which the chair should be, that a person may sit conveniently in it, whether you raise it or let it down. They set up a post on the bank of a pond or river, and over this post they lay, almost in equilibrio, the two pieces of wood, at one end of which the chair hangs just over the water. They place the woman in this chair, and so plunge her into the water, as often as the sentence directs, in order to cool her immoderate heat." In some instances the ducking was carried to such an extent as to cause death. An old chap-book, without date, is entitled, "Strange and Wonderful Relation of the Old Woman who was Drowned at Ratcliff Highway a fortnight ago." It appears from this work that the poor woman was dipped too often, for at the conclusion of the operation she was found to be dead. We reproduce from this quaint chap-book a picture of the ducking-stool. It will be observed that it is not a stationary machine, but one which can be wheeled to and from the water. Similar ducking-stools were usually kept in some convenient building, and ready to be brought out for immediate use, but in many places the ducking-stools were permanent fixtures.
Old municipal accounts and records contain many references to this subject. Cole, a Cambridge antiquary, collected numerous curious items connected with this theme. In some extracts made from the proceedings of the Vice-Chancellor's Court, in the reign of Elizabeth, it is stated: "Jane Johnson, adjudged to the ducking-stool for scolding, and commuted her penance." The next person does not appear to have been so fortunate as Jane Johnson, who avoided punishment by paying a fine of about five shillings. It is recorded: "Katherine Saunders, accused by the churchwardens of Saint Andrews for a common scold and slanderer of her neighbours, was adjudged to the ducking-stool."
We find in one of Cole's manuscript volumes, preserved in the British Museum, a graphic sketch of this ancient mode of punishment. He says: "In my time, when I was a boy, I lived with my grandmother in the great corner house at the foot, 'neath the Magdalen College, Cambridge, and rebuilt since by my uncle, Joseph Cook. I remember to have seen a woman ducked for scolding. The chair was hung by a pulley fastened to a beam about the middle of the bridge, in which [he means the chair, of course, not the bridge] the woman was confined, and let down three times, and then taken out. The bridge was then of timber, before the present stone bridge of one arch was built. The ducking-stool was constantly hanging in its place, and on the back of it were engraved devils laying hold of scolds, etc. Some time afterwards a new chair was erected in the place of the old one, having the same devices carved upon it, and well painted and ornamented. When the new bridge of stone was erected, in 1754, this chair was taken away, and I lately saw the carved and gilt back of it nailed up by the shop of one Mr. Jackson, a whitesmith, in the Butcher's Row, behind the Town Hall, who offered it to me, but I did not know what to do with it. In October, 1776, I saw in the old Town Hall a third ducking-stool, of plain oak, with an iron bar in front of it, to confine the person in the seat, but I made no inquiries about it. I mention these things as the practice of ducking scolds in the river seems now to be totally laid aside." Mr. Cole died in 1782, so did not long survive the writing of the foregoing curious notes.
The Sandwich ducking-stool was embellished with men and women scolding. On the cross-bar were carved the following words:
"Of members ye tonge is worst or best,—an Yll tonge oft doeth breede unrest."
Boys, in his "Collections for the History of Sandwich," published in 1792, remarks that the ducking-stool was preserved in the second storey of the Town Hall, along with the arms, offensive and defensive, of the Trained Bands. Boys's book includes some important information on old-time punishments. In the year 1534, it is recorded that two women were banished from Sandwich for immorality. To deter them from coming back to the town, it was decided that "if they return, one of them is to suffer the pain of sitting over the coqueen-stool, and the other is to be set three days in the stocks, with an allowance of only bread and water, and afterwards to be placed in the coqueen-stool and dipped to the chin." A woman, in the year 1568, was "carted and banished." At Sandwich, Ipswich, and some other places, as a punishment for scolding and other offences it was not an uncommon thing to compel the transgressors to carry a wooden mortar round the town.
Respecting the cost of erecting a ducking-stool, we find a curious and detailed account in the parish books of Southam, Warwickshire, for the year 1718. In the first place, a man was sent from Southam to Daventry to make a drawing of the ducking-stool of that town, at a cost of three shillings and twopence. The sum of one pound one shilling and eightpence is charged for labour and material in making and fixing the engine of punishment. An entry of ten shillings is made for painting it, which appears a rather heavy amount when we observe that the carpenter only charged a little over a pound for labour and timber. Perhaps, like the good folk of Sandwich, the authorities of Southam had their chair ornamented with artistic portraits and enriched with poetic quotations. The blacksmith had to furnish ironwork, etc., at a cost of four shillings and sixpence. For carrying the stool to its proper place half-a-crown was paid. Lastly, nine shillings and sixpence had to be expended to make the pond deeper, so that the ducking-stool might work in a satisfactory manner. The total amount reached L2 11s. 4d. At Coventry, in the same county, we find traces of two ducking-stools, and respecting them Mr. W. G. Fretton, F.S.A., supplies us with some curious details. The following notes are drawn from the Leet Book, under date of October 11th, 1597: "Whereas there are divers and sundrie disordered persons (women) within this citie that be scolds, brawlers, disturbers, and disquieters of theire neighbors, to the great offence of Almightie God and the breach of Her Majestie's peace: for the reformation of such abuses, it is ordered and enacted at this leet, that if any disordered and disquiet persons of this citie do from henceforth scold or brawle with their neighbo'rs or others, upon complaint thereof to the Alderman of the ward made, or to the Maior for the time being, they shall be committed to the cooke-stoole lately appointed for the punishment of such offenders, and thereupon be punished for their deserts, except they or everie of them, do presentlie paie iijs iijd for their redemption from that punishment to the use of the poore of this citie." The old accounts of the City of Coventry contain numerous items bearing on the ducking-stool.
In a volume of "Miscellaneous Poems," by Benjamin West, of Weedon Beck, Northamptonshire, published in 1780, we find some lines entitled, "The Ducking-Stool," which run:
"There stands, my friend, in yonder pool, An engine called the ducking-stool, By legal pow'r commanded down, The joy and terror of the town, If jarring females kindle strife, Give language foul or lug the coif; If noisy dames should once begin To drive the house with horrid din, Away, you cry, you'll grace the stool, We'll teach you how your tongue to rule. The fair offender fills the seat, In sullen pomp, profoundly great. Down in the deep the stool descends, But here, at first, we miss our ends; She mounts again, and rages more Than ever vixen did before. So, throwing water on the fire Will make it but burn up the higher; If so, my friend, pray let her take A second turn into the lake, And, rather than your patience lose, Thrice and again repeat the dose. No brawling wives, no furious wenches, No fire so hot, but water quenches. In Prior's skilful lines we see For these another recipe: A certain lady, we are told (A lady, too, and yet a scold), Was very much reliev'd, you'll say By water, yet a different way; A mouthful of the same she'd take, Sure not to scold, if not to speak."
A footnote to the poem states: "To the honour of the fair sex in the neighbourhood of R——y, this machine has been taken down (as useless) several years." Most probably, says Mr. Jewitt, the foregoing refers to Rugby. In the old accounts of that town several items occur, as for example:
1721. June 5. Paid for a lock for ye ducking-stool, and spent in towne business 1s. 2d.
1739. Sept. 25. Ducking-stool repaired. And Dec. 21, 1741. A chain for ducking-stool 2s. 4d.
Mr. Petty, F.S.A., in a note to Mr. Jewitt, which is inserted in The Reliquary for January, 1861, states that the Rugby ducking-stool "was placed on the west side of the horsepool, near the footpath leading from the Clifton Road towards the new churchyard. Part of the posts to which it was affixed were visible until very lately, and the National School is now erected on its site. The last person who underwent the punishment was a man for beating his wife about forty years since; but although the ducking-stool has been long removed, the ceremony of immersion in the horse-pond was recently inflicted on an inhabitant for brutality towards his wife." The Rugby ducking-stool was of the trebuchet form, somewhat similar to one which was in use at Broadwater, near Worthing, and which has been frequently engraved. We reproduce an illustration of the latter from the Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine, which represents it as it appeared in the year 1776. It was in existence at a much later period. Its construction was very simple, consisting of a short post let into the ground at the edge of a pond, bearing on the top a transverse beam, one end of which carried the stool, while the other end was secured by a rude chair. We are told, in an old description of this ducking-stool, that the beam could be moved horizontally, so as to bring the seat to the edge of the pond, and that when the beam was moved back, so as to place the seat and the person in it over the pond, the beam was worked up and down like a see-saw, and so the person in the seat was ducked. When the machine was not in use, the end of the beam which came on land was secured to a stump in the ground by a padlock, to prevent the village children from ducking each other.
Mr. T. Tindall Wildridge, author of several important local historical works, says that the great profligacy of Hull frequently gave rise in olden times to very stringent exercise of the magisterial authority. Not infrequently this was at the direct instigation and sometimes command of the Archbishop of York. Occasionally the cognisance of offences was retrospective. Thus, in November, 1620, it was resolved by the Bench of Magistrates, then composed of the Aldermen of the town, that such as had been "faltie for bastardes" should be carted about the town and afterwards "ducked in the water for their faults, for which they have hitherto escaped punishment." At a little later period, in England, in the days of the Commonwealth, it was enacted on May 14th, 1650, that adultery should be punished with death, but there is not any record of the law taking effect. The Act was repealed at the Restoration. About a century before this period, namely, in 1563, in the Scottish Parliament, this crime was made a capital offence. In New England, in the year 1662, several men and women suffered for this crime.
Resuming our notes on the Hull ducking-stool, we find, according to Hadley, the historian, that in the year 1731 Mr. Beilby, who held the office of town's husband, was ordered to take care that a ducking-stool should be provided at the South-end for the benefit of scolds and unquiet women. Six years later, John Hilbert published a view of the town of Hull, in which there is a representation of the ducking-stool. Mr. Wildridge has found traces of another local ducking-stool. He states that in some accounts belonging to the eighteenth century there is a charge for tarring a ducking-stool situated on the Haven-side, on the east side of the town.
At the neighbouring town of Beverley are traces of this old mode of punishment, and in the town records are several notes bearing on the subject. Brewers of bad beer and bakers of bad bread, as well as scolding women, were placed in the ducking-stool.
The Leeds ducking-stool was at Quarry Hill, near the Spa. At the Court of Quarter Sessions, held in the town in July, 1694, it was "ordered that Anne, the wife of Phillip Saul, a person of lewd behaviour, be ducked for daily making strife and discord amongst her neighbours." A similar order was made against Jane Milner and Elizabeth Wooler.
We find in the Session records of Wakefield, for 1602, the following:
"Punishm^t of Hall and Robinson, scolds: fforasmuch as Katherine Hall and M'garet Robinson, of Wakefield, are great disturbers and disquieters of their neighbours w'thin the toune of Wakefield, by reason of their daily scolding and chydering, the one w'th the other, for reformacon whereof ytt it is ordered that if they doe hereafter continue their former course of life in scolding and brawling, that then John Mawde, the high constable there, shall cause them to be soundlye ducked or cucked on the cuckstool at Wakefield for said misdemeanour."
In the records of Wakefield Sessions, under date of October 5th, 1671, the following appears:
"Forasmuch as Jane, the wife of William Farrett of Selby, shoemaker, stands indicted at this sessions for a common scold, to the great annoyance and disturbance of her neighbours, and breach of His Majesty's peace. It is therefore ordered that the said Jane Farrett, for the said offence be openly ducked, and ducked three times over the head and ears by the constables of Selby aforesaid, for which this shall be their warrant."
At Bradford, the ducking-stool was formerly at the Beck, near to the Parish Church, and on the formation of the canal it was removed, but only a short distance from its original position. Still lingering in the West Riding of Yorkshire, we find in the parish accounts of East Ardsley, a village near to Wakefield, the following item:
1683-4. Paid John Crookes for repairing stool 1s. 8d.
Norrisson Scatcherd, in his "History of Morley," and William Smith, in his "Morley Ancient and Modern," give interesting details of the ducking-stool at Morley.
Not far distant from Morley is Calverley, and in the Constable's accounts of the village it is stated:
1728. Paid Jeremy Booth for powl for ducking-stool 2s.
Mr. Joseph Wilkinson, the historian of Worsborough, near Barnsley, mentions two ducking-ponds in the township—one in the village of Worsborough, another near to the Birdwell toll-bar; and, judging from the frequency with which ducking-stools were repaired by the township, it would seem they were often brought into requisition. The following extracts are drawn from the parish accounts:
1703. For mending ye cuck-stool L0 0 6
1721. Ducking-stool mending 0 1 8
1725. For mending and hanging ye cuck-stool 0 1 0
1730. Pd. Thos. Moorhouse for mending ye stocks and cuck-stool 0 1 0
" Pd. Jno. South for 2 staples for ye cucking-stool 0 0 4
1731. Thos. Moorhouse for mending ye ducking-stool 0 1 0
1734-5. To ye ducking-stool mending 0 0 6
1736. For mending ye ducking-stool 0 10 0
1737. John Ellot, for ye ducking-stool and sheep-fold door 0 14 6
Mr. W. H. Dawson, the historian of Skipton, has devoted considerable attention to the old-time punishments of the town, and the first reference he was able to discover amongst the old accounts of the township is the following:
1734. October 2nd. To Wm. Bell, for ducking-stool making and wood 8s. 6d.
"This must," says Mr. Dawson, "surely mean that the chair was changed, for the amount is too small for the entire apparatus. In this case a ducking-stool must have existed before 1734, which is very likely." In the same Skipton township account-book is an entry as follows:
1743. October. Ben Smith for ducking-stool 4s. 6d.
Twenty-five years later we find a payment as follows:
1768. October 17th. Paid John Brown for new ducking-stool L1 0s. 11-1/2d.
Mr. Dawson has not been able to discover the exact date when the ducking-stool fell into disuse, but has good reason for believing that it was about 1770. We gather from a note sent to us by Mr. Dawson that: "A ducking-pond existed at Kirkby, although it had not been used within the memory of any living person. Scolds of both sexes were punished by being ducked; indeed, in the last observance of the custom, a tailor and his wife were ducked together, in view of a large gathering of people. The husband had applied for his wife to undergo the punishment on account of her quarrelsome nature, but the magistrate decided that one was not better than the other, and he ordered a joint punishment! Back to back, therefore, husband and wife were chaired and dipped into the cold water of the pond! Whether it was in remembrance of this old observance or not cannot be definitely said, but it is nevertheless a fact that in East Lancashire, in 1880, a man who had committed some violation of morals was forcibly taken by a mob, and dragged several times through a pond until he had expressed penitence for his act."
We have found several allusions to the Derby ducking-stool. Wooley, writing in 1772, states that "over against the steeple [All Saint's] is St. Mary's Gate, which leads down to the brook near the west side of St. Werburgh's Church, over which there is a bridge to Mr. Osborne's mill, over the pool of which stands the ducking-stool. A joiner named Thomas Timmins repaired it in 1729, and charged as follows:
"To ye Cuckstool, the stoop 0 01 0 2 Foot and 1/2 of Ioyce for a Rayle 0 00 5 Ja. Ford, junr., 1/2 day at Cuckstool 0 00 7"
The Chesterfield ducking-stool was pulled down towards the close of the last century. It is stated that in the latter part of its existence it was chiefly used for punishing refractory paupers.
The Scarborough ducking-stool was formerly placed on the old pier, and was last used about the year 1795, when a Mrs. Gamble was ducked. The chair is preserved in the Museum of the Scarborough Philosophical Society. We are indebted to Dr. T. N. Brushfield for an excellent drawing of it.
An object which attracts much attention from visitors to the interesting museum at Ipswich is the ducking-stool of the town. We give a carefully executed drawing of it. It is described as a strong-backed arm-chair, with a wrought-iron rod, about an inch in diameter, fastened to each arm in front, meeting in a segment of a circle above; there is also another iron rod affixed to the back, which curves over the head of the person seated in the chair, and is connected with the other at the top, to the centre of which is fastened an iron ring for the purpose of slinging the machine into the river. It is plain and substantial, and has more the appearance of solidity than antiquity in its construction. We are told by the local historian that in the Chamberlain's books are various entries for money paid to porters for taking down the ducking-stool and assisting in the operation of cooling, by its means, the inflammable passions of some of the female inhabitants of Ipswich.
We give a spirited sketch of the Ipswich ducking-stool, from the pencil of Campion, a local artist. It is worthy of the pencil of Hogarth, Gilray, or Cruikshank; indeed, it is often said to be the production of the last-named artist, but though after his style it is not his work.
There are traces in the Court-Book of St. George's Gild of the use of the ducking-stool at Norwich. Amongst other entries is one to the effect that in 1597 a scold was ducked three times.
The ducking-stool at Nottingham, in addition to being employed for correcting scolds, was used for the exposure of females of bad repute. "It consisted," says Mr. J. Potter Briscoe, F.R.H.S., "of a hollow box, which was sufficiently large to admit of two persons being exposed at the same time. Through holes in the side the heads of the culprits were placed. In fact, the Nottingham cuck-stool was similar to a pillory. The last time this ancient instrument of punishment was brought into requisition was in 1731, when the Mayor (Thomas Trigge) caused a female to be placed in it for immorality, and left her to the mercy of the mob, who ducked her so severely that her death ensued shortly afterwards. The Mayor, in consequence, was prosecuted, and the Nottingham cuck-stool was ordered to be destroyed." In the Nottinghamshire records are traces of the ducking-stool at Southwell and Retford. The example of the latter town is traced back to an unusually early period.
The old ducking-stool of King's Lynn, Norfolk, may now be seen in the Museum of that town. The annals of the borough contain numerous allusions to the punishment of women. In the year 1587, it is stated that for immoral conduct, John Wanker's wife and widow Parker were both carted. It is recorded that, in 1754, "one Elizabeth Neivel stood in the pillory, and that one Hannah Clark was ducked for scolding." There is mention of a woman named Howard standing in the pillory in 1782, but no particulars are given of her crime.
In a note written for us in 1881, by Mr. R. N. Worth, the historian of Plymouth, we are told that in Devon and Cornwall the ducking-stool was the usual means employed for inflicting punishment on scolding women. At Plymouth, the ducking-stool was erected at the Barbican, a site full of historic interest. From here Sir Walter Raleigh was conducted to his long imprisonment, followed by death on the scaffold. It was here that the Pilgrim Fathers bade adieu to the shores of their native land to establish a New England across the Atlantic. As might be expected, the old municipal accounts of Plymouth contain many curious and interesting items bearing on the punishment of women. Mr. W. H. K. Wright, editor of the Western Antiquary, tells us that as recently as the year 1808 the last person was ducked. At Plymouth, at the present time, are preserved two ducking-chairs, one in the Athenaeum and the other in the office of the Borough Surveyor. Mr. Wright has kindly supplied illustrations of both. It will be observed that the chairs are made of iron.
The last time the Bristol ducking-stool was used was, it is said, in the year 1718. The Mayor gave instructions for the ducking of scolds, and the immersions took place at the weir.
We have numerous accounts of this engine of punishment in Lancashire. In the "Manchester Historical Recorder" we find it stated, in the year 1775: "Manchester ducking-stool in use. It was an open-bottomed chair of wood, placed upon a long pole balanced on a pivot, and suspended over the collection of water called the Pool House and Pool Fold. It was afterwards suspended over the Daubholes (Infirmary pond) and was used for the purpose of punishing scolds and prostitutes." We find, on examination of an old print, that it was similar to the example at Broadwater, of which we give a sketch. According to Mr. Richard Brooke's "Liverpool from 1775 to 1800," the ducking-stool was in use in 1779, by the authority of the magistrates. We have details of the ducking-stool at Preston, Kirkham, Burnley and other Lancashire towns.