Man sitting in stocks
Wikimedia Commons

The stocks were a device formerly used for the punishment of those found guilty of what were considered to be relatively minor offences. It consisted of two planks with holes in them that when brought together secured the miscreant’s feet around the ankles. The device was invariably set up in a public space such as a village green or market square, to maximise the victim’s humiliation.[1]

Use of the stocks declined during the 18th century.[1] They may have last been used in the UK as an instrument of punishment in Newbury, Berkshire, where Mark Tuck was sentenced to four hours in the stocks for drunkenness on 11 June 1872.[2]

See also

  • JougsMetal collar formerly used as an instrument of punishment in Scotland.
  • Pillory
    Device used to publicly humiliate those found guilty of minor offences.