Colonial House Picture of the colony
Meet the Colonists Behind the Scenes Interactive History Media Gallery
About the Project
Introduction The Laws About the Series About the Experts Plimoth Plantation Credits

The Rules
General Background
The Offices
Matters of the Council
For the Ordering of Society
Worship and the Sabbath
Trade and Indians
Of Masters and Servants
Other Matters
The Punishments

Epilogue The Actual Punishments
Photo of house
The following are additional examples of 17th-century punishments recorded from the early colonies:

"... to be chained to a post, being allowed only to come to the place of God's worship until she repents."

"... to stand at the meeting house door next Lord's day, with a cleft stick upon his tongue and a paper upon his hat subscribed for gross premeditated lying."

"... to make confession on the Lord's day after church meeting."

"... for her barbarous and unhuman going naked through the Town, is sentenced to be tied at a Cart's tail with her body naked downward to her waist, and whipped from Mr. Gedney's gate till she come to her own house, not exceeding thirty stripes."

"... ordered to stand at the meeting house door next Lord's Day, from the ringing of the first bell until the minister was ready to begin prayer, with a paper on her head written in capital letters "For Taking a False Oath in Court."

Example of a public confession and apology (for suspicion of adultery): "I Mary Puddington do here acknowledge that I have dishonored God, the place where I live, and wronged my husband by my disobedience and light carriage, for which I am heartily sorry and desire forgiveness of the Court and of my husband, and do promise amendment of life and manners henceforth; and having made this confession to ask her husband forgiveness on her knees."

Punishment given to couple who frequently argued with each other: "... ordered to stand with her husband, back to back, on a lecture day, in the public market place, both gagged for about an hour with a paper fastened to each of their foreheads, upon which the offense should be fairly written."

Bilboes - A long iron bar, furnished with sliding shackles to confine the ankles of prisoners, and a lock by which to fix one end of the bar to the floor or ground.

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