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The Pillory

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  • bvogler
    List- How many times have we all seen the pillory at Colonial Williamsburg? Most everyone probably had their photos snapped while standing in the pillory.
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 2, 2008
      List-
      How many times have we all seen the pillory at Colonial Williamsburg? Most everyone probably had their photos snapped while standing in the pillory. Great fun. But, that was not the case in the 18th century.

      The man or woman in the pillory was pelted with mud, dog-excrement, and any other handy ammunition. A well aimed stone could blind and sometimes kill. In Great Britian, technically stone throwing was illegal, but the rule was not enforced, and no one was ever prosecuted for breaking it. As late as 1810 , you could read in the newspapers: " _____, the miscreant placed on the pillory in _____, is at present blind in consequence of the pelting he received. He was so much bruised and lacerated that he is not expected to survive."

      In one case, up to 50 women were permitted to stand in a ring to assail several men in the pillory with mud, dead cats, rotten eggs, potatoes, and duckets of grub, offal, and dung which brought by a number of butchers' men from St. James's Market. That went on for an hour... fortified by gin and beer they hurled stones and brickbats ... the men were carried away blind and unconscious.

      Not all criminals were so harshly treated in the pillory, but few escaped without injury. Ann Marrow was pilloried at Charing Cross in 1777 and was pelted to such a degree that she lost sight in both eyes.

      In 1756 two men were found guilty of an offense and sentenced to the pillory. The first to go into the pillory were ____ & ____. At the end of an hour they emerged bloody and battered fro the missiles hurled by the mob. _____ & ______ were then placed in the pillory and the fury of the mob was in anything more intense. The barrage of stones and dead animals was so fierce the constables tried in vain to protect the two men. When they were finally released ______ was dead and _______ was little better and died soon aftrwards from his injuries.

      Elizabeth Needlam (aka Mother Needlam) was a notorious procuress of the time and operator of an opulent brothel in London. She ran afoul of the law and was sentenced to stand in the pillory in two different locations as her punishment. Despite the "diligence of the Beadles (a type of supervisory constable) and other persons paid to protect her... she was so severely pelted by the mob that her life was despaired of " and she soon afterwards died from her injuries.

      Sources: __Hue & Cry__ by Patrick Pringle
      __London's Underworld___ by Fergus Linnane , &
      __Wits, Wenchers & Wantons___ by E.J. Burford

      And so it goes,
      Bob V.






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