Archaeological news about the Archaeology of Later Medieval Europe from the Archaeology in Europe web site
Sunday, 3 July 2016
A ghoulish tour of medieval punishments
Is there anything quite as chillingly middle-English as a head swinging mournfully from a set of gallows, silhouetted over some rugged and desolate moorland?
The Oxfordshire town of Thame has announced it is considering bringing back stocks as a tourist attraction, but which other settlements have kept their instruments of medieval correction?
Stocks date back to at least the time of the Black Death in the 14th Century. Labourers were banned from leaving their homes to find better wages elsewhere and those who broke the law were put in stocks.
Every town or village was required by law to have a set. But being put in the stocks was a fairly minor punishment. Many places had whipping posts, pillories and even gallows.