Tain Burgh Books 1663


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17th Century Crime and Punishment and the horrific use of a Cucking-stool in the Royal Burgh of Tain.

The following extract from the 'Tain Burgh Books' highlights some of the severe punishments handed in the town during the 17th century. 

Acts in Counsel, 15th February 1663.

'Ordained if ever Walter McAlister, cordiner, be found in any guilt hereafter himself and his family is to be expelled forth of this burgh and for the present guilt to remain in ward.

. . . On consideration of the accusations, against Cristian Logan who confessed after due trial . . . is appointed to be printed [branded] in the hand at the Kokestool & after scourged to the open view of the all servants within this Burgh . . . & after the malefactor to be expelled. 

That day finding also that Kathrine Ross spouse to___ to be the receptor of the theft committed by Christian Logan, sometime servant to___ as also that Janet Ross spouse to___ did receive a part also, Viz; one-piece wool line, two white candles, one sheet of linen, and one plate full of meal from the said Janet who confessed the malefactor sent her with her servant, one side of beef. . The judge’s finding them guilty and each one of them is ordered to pay twenty pounds Scots under pain of poynding or warding.'

[First mention, but as of something well known in Tain, of the Cuck-stool or Cucking-stool, a seat for the punishment of women by indecent exposure— The scourging, branding on the hand, and expulsion, in the above case, made a terrible culmination of punishment, for the culprit would carry the certificate of her conviction wherever she went.] 

Tain & Balnagown Documents Vol II, Pg. 78.