Stocks are devices used since medieval times for public humiliation, corporal punishment, and torture. The stocks are similar to the pillory and the pranger, as each consists of large, hinged, wooden boards; the difference, however, is that when a person is placed in the stocks, their feet are locked in place, and sometimes as well their hands or head, or these may be chained. Also, some modern versions used in sexual play within the BDSM community have small strings to hold the toes in place. The victim is in a sitting position.

With stocks, boards are placed around the legs or the wrists, whereas in the pillory they are placed around the arms and neck and fixed to a pole, and the victim stands. However, the terms can be confused, and many people refer to the pillory as the stocks.

The practice of using stocks continues to be cited as an example of cruel and unusual punishment.

Historical uses

The stocks were popular in medieval times as a mild restraining device for minor offenders. They were also used as punishment for military deserters, or for dereliction of military duty. In the stocks, an offender's hands and head, or sometimes their ankles would be placed and locked through two or three holes in the center of a board. Either before or after this the wrongdoer might have his or her footwear removed, exposing their bare feet. Exhibiting an offender's bare feet was considered a form of humiliation. Offenders were forced to carry out their punishments in the rain, during the heat of summer, or in freezing weather, and generally would receive only bread and water, plus anything brought by their friends. Finger pillories often went by the name of "finger stocks". Public stocks were typically positioned in the most public place available, as public humiliation was a critical aspect of such punishment. Typically, a person condemned to the stocks was subjected to a variety of abuses, ranging from having refuse thrown at them, paddling, and tickling, to whipping of the unprotected feet, a now illegal action called bastinado.

The stocks were used in Elizabethan England, and by the Puritans in the colonial period of American history. Their last recorded use in the United Kingdom was in 1872 at Adpar, west Wales. [John May, "Reference Wales" (1994)]

Current uses

The stocks have also taken on a lighter image, as they are often found at Renaissance Fairs where the public can experience a form of "stocks entertainment" by watching actors locked in the stocks.


An excellent example of stocks can be seen in Dromore, County Down, in Northern Ireland.

Locations of examples in England include:
* Aldbury
* Chapel en le Frith
* Chapeltown, Lancashire
* Lymm, Cheshire
* Nottingham
* Prestbury, Cheshire
* Seamer, North Yorkshire
* Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire

ee also

*Barrel pillory
*Stock (cage)


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать курсовую
(invested in joint-stock enterprises or in the obligations of a Government), , / (in joint-stock companies, or in the obligations of a Government)

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Stocks — Pays d’origine Lille, Nord, France Genre musical Rock Années d activité 1980 2007 Labels WEA CBS Sony Vérone Productions …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Stocks — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Christian Stocks (* 1947), deutscher Diplomat und seit 2009 Botschafter in El Salvador Jack William Stocks (* 1871 ?), englischer Radsportler Margaret Stocks (1896 ?), englische Badmintonspielerin Siehe… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • stocks — a frame used to support a ship or boat when out of water. → stock stocks a portion of this as held by an individual or group as an investment. → stock …   English new terms dictionary

  • Stocks — (Stoks), 1) ursprünglich in England gewisse Summen, welche von einer Gesellschaft (z.B. der Ostindischen Compagnie) zu einem Stock od. einer Kasse zusammengelegt sind, um sie zu einem fortdauernden Geschäft zu verwenden; 2) dann die Anleihen der… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Stocks — Stocks, engl., Staatspapiere; Aktien. Stock Exchange (ekstschensch), Stockbörse; stockbroker, Börsenmäckler, der den reellen Handel mit S. vermittelt; stockjobbers (–dschabbers) die nicht wirklich kaufenden, sondern auf Steigen und Fallen der… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • stocks — index portfolio, securities Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • stocks — instrument of punishment, early 14c., from STOCK (Cf. stock) (n.1) …   Etymology dictionary

  • stocks — Stock Stock (st[o^]k), n. [AS. stocc a stock, trunk, stick; akin to D. stok, G. stock, OHG. stoc, Icel. stokkr, Sw. stock, Dan. stok, and AS. stycce a piece; cf. Skr. tuj to urge, thrust. Cf. {Stokker}, {Stucco}, and {Tuck} a rapier.] 1. The stem …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Stocks — This interesting name is of early medieval English origin. It has has at least five possible sources. The first being that it is residential for somebody who lived at a place called Stock, such as Stock Gaylard in Dorset, or perhaps Stocksbridge… …   Surnames reference

  • stocks — n. shares on the stock market (esp. AE; CE has shares) stocks close; open (did stocksclose strong or weak?) * * * open (did close strong or weak?) [ shares on the stock market ] (esp. AE; CE has shares) stocks close …   Combinatory dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”