The Whipping Post


They stopped whipping women in 1791 – but continued to flog the men until 1837. Today that might be considered sexist.

Of course today we don’t see flogging as a civilized method for punishing criminals. Things were different in 1572 when this post was first used at St. Martin-in-the-fields in downtown London.

The post was set up on market days to give maximum humiliation (more people would see you) as well as physical punishment. The number of lashes would vary, and it was not unusual for the criminal to be lashed until the body became bloody.

Crimes punishable by lashing included vagrancy, immorality, drunkenness, disorder, blasphemy and slander, not to mention forgery, bigamy and theft.

The UK ended such corporal punishment almost two centuries ago, realizing that it was a rather barbaric practice, that there are better ways to punish those who run afoul of society.

It is a pity that places like Saudi Arabia seem unable to learn that lesson.

One comment

  1. Neil Abramson · · Reply

    These days people are whipped psychologically and metaphorically. Thus has civilization progressed that the wounds are no longer visible except to our Lord.

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