The Stocks at Gipsy Castle

This is another piece from Kilvert’s Diary, April 1873, when he got talking to a couple of local women. Sadly it is impossible to date these events, as his sources are not described, though it seems they were at least mature. It is interesting that it seems there was no challenge to the destruction of the stocks which were built and maintained by law, suggesting they had fallen into disrepair at the time so were not worth replacing.

It is also interesting to note the term ‘familiar’ which is generally associated with witches, but here it is a nameless comrade of the drunk., as it is unlikely one would be signed up for the militia. Probably.

Sally said she remembered the old Clyro stocks and whipping post which stood by the village pound in front of their door. She had often seen people in the stocks and once she saw a sweep whipped by the parish constable for using foul language at the Swan. When people were put in the stocks it was generally for rioting and using bad language at the Swan, and fighting. Sally does not remember if the sweep was stripped naked to be whipped….

Old James Jones the sawyer … told me he remembers a reprobate drunken fellow named James Davies, but nicknamed ‘Jim of the Dingle’ being put in the stocks at Clyro by Archdeacon Venables and the parish constable. This Jim.. had a companion spirit as wicked as himself. and both of them belonged to the Herefordshire Militia. So when the Archdeacon and the Constable had gone away leaving Jim in the stocks, Jim’s friend brought an axe and beat the stocks all to pieces and let the prisoner out. The two worthies fled away to Hereford to the militia and never returned to Clyro. But the Clyro people, seeing the stocks broken, demolished and burnt the stocks and the whipping post, and no one was ever confined or whipped at Clyro after that.

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