Whipping Dogges and Vagrants

Another excerpt from Highways & Byways of Leicester from the churchwarden’s accounts of Heckington. In the 16th and 17th centuries there were frequent entries for “whypping dogges out of Church, but in the 17th century, they treated vagrants the same:

“April 21, 1685 John Coulson then whipped for a vagrant rogue and sent to Redford.


“Memorand. that John Herrin and Katherine Herrin and one child, and Jonas Hay and wife and two children and Barbary Peay and Eliz. Nuttal were openly whipped, at Heckington, the 28th day of May, 1686 – and had a passe then made to convey them from Constable to Constable to Newark in Nottinghamshire, and Will Stagg was at the same time whipped and sent to Conton in Nottinghamshire.”

This is the Elizabethan Poor Laws in action: these people were not in their places of settlement, so were not only forcibly removed to where they were meant to be cared for, they where also whipped to remind them to stay there as long as they committed the crime of being poor.


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