I’ve been passing by the subject of this post for a few years now but was inspired to do a post about it after seeing Public humiliations – historical inspiration on the blog Leia’s New Musings!. I see this particular historical item on a regular basis.
More commonly referred to as a Strafpaal in spoken Flemish (it’s great here, you get to speak in Flemish but read and write in Dutch, just to make life interesting), the Dutch name literally translates as “Shame Pole”. It was the equivalent of The Stocks or Pillory, commonly used in historical times, in other countries.
Those to be punished would have a metal collar placed around their neck and then be attached to iron rings, by a short chain, set into the stone around the pole, for the purpose of public humiliation and pelting with rotten veg and various other nasty things.
The rings were set at such a hight as to be too high to allow the victim to kneel but too low for them to stand erect, thus leaving them in a muscle burning, stress position. As a usual sentence was between two and six hours, it can be imagined that this added greatly to the distress of those being punished.
There are multiple rings set into the stone, so that up to three miscreants could be dealt with at any one time.
There are also some accounts of this type of pole being used as whipping posts on some occasions but the main purpose of these facilities was to publicly show and shame petty criminals.
The images in this post were taken by myself and I am happy for anyone to use them for free but a link back to this blog is always welcome.
Yes, in the good old days in Europe, the whipping post was seen with awe. when a naughty woman was tied to them. Be it for stealing, blasphemy, sassy their husbands, to name just a few errors, one could commit. Then either the town mayor, or husband had the honor, and pleasure, to raise the female’s dress waist high, take down her bloomer’s, and corporal punish her on her naked rear end. The implements used, could be a birch rod, cane, or whip.
Many old Flemish towns still have these around, if you know where to look for them.