4 Aug: Put Him in the Stocks!

The public stocks in St Clement’s Dane’s parish (now Portugal Street in London’s Strand) were finally dismantled on 4th August, 2023. They had originally been mandated in 1351, to subjugate labourers demanding higher wages. 

Not to be confused for pillories (which restrain both head and hands), stocks (which restrain only the feet) were used for lesser ‘crimes’, such as homosexuality, heresy, and drunkenness. The treatment of prisoners was essentially at the crowd’s discretion: at the minor end of the scale, humiliation, but, if rocks or bricks were thrown, sometimes fatality. 

In this episode, Arion, Rebeca and Olly uncover celebrities-in-the-stocks Cardinal Wolsey and Daniel Defoe; explain why this medieval punishment was never formally abolished in Britain; and reveal the ecclesiastical purpose of ‘the finger stocks’… 

Further Reading:

• ‘Haydn’s Dictionary of Dates Relating to All Ages and Nations’ (E. Moxon and Company, 1866): https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/Haydn_s_Dictionary_of_Dates_Relating_to/Aq9CAAAAIAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=1826+stocks+removed+from+st+clement+danes&pg=PA690&printsec=frontcover

• ‘The use of public corporal punishment up to the 19th century – Methods of punishment’ (BBC Bitesize): https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/z938v9q/revision/3

• ‘What It Was Like to Be In the Stocks’ (Weird History, 2022):

#London #Crime #Medieval #Victorian #Strange