Nursery Rhymes


Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

The Medieval period of the Middle Ages was violent, and blood thirsty. In these barbarous times the cruel and pitiless torturers were induced to inflict the horrors of tortures, including the Pillory, on prisoners. Torture methods, devices and instruments were used to inflict the deliberate, systematic, cruel and wanton infliction of physical and mental suffering.

There were no laws or rules to protect the treatment of prisoners who faced torture, such as the Pillory. Torture was seen as a totally legitimate means for justice to extract confessions, obtain the names of accomplices, obtain testimonies or confessions.

Crimes which warranted the use of / Method of inflicting the Pillory
Different types of torture were used depending on the victim's crime and social status. There were also different tortures used according to the customs of each country. In France torture using the pillory was practised and described as follows:

When it was only required to stamp a culprit with infamy he was put into the pillory, which was generally a kind of scaffold furnished with chains and iron collars, and bearing on its front the arms of the feudal lord. In Paris, this name was given to a round isolated tower built in the centre of the market. The tower was sixty feet high, and had large openings in its thick walls, and a horizontal wheel was provided, which was capable of turning on a pivot. This wheel was pierced with several holes, made so as to hold the hands and head of the culprit, who, on passing and re-passing before the eyes of the crowd, came in full view, and was subjected to their hooting and jeers. The pillories were always situated in the most frequented places, such as markets and crossways.

Middle Ages Torture
Middle Ages Index

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