Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Pillory Definition:

A medieval punishment and restraining device made of moveable and adjustable boards through which a prisoner's head or limbs were pinned.

A medieval punishment and restraining device made of moveable and adjustable boards through which a prisoner's head or limbs were pinned.

Also known as putting in the stocks.

Pillories were often fixed to the ground in a city's main square and on market days, local criminals were exhibited.

pilloryCitizens were given license to throw things at the immobilized and defenseless prisoner.

As such, this method of corporal punishment was not just humiliating but often led to serious injury or death.

For the government, this was a very public statement serving to warn others of the consequences of crime.

England eventually abolished the pillory as a form of punishment and the last imposition of it was in 1872.1

REFERENCES:

  • NOTE 1: Bowen-Rowlands, Ernest, Seventy-Two Years At The Bar (London: MacMillan and Co., Limited, 1924), at page 22-23.

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