Ashby de la Zouch Finger Pillory




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Nation   England

County   Leicestershire

Location   Within St Helen's Church, 3 Lower Church Street,  Ashby de la Zouch

Map location   exact or closely approximate

Year opened   Unknown

Year closed   Unknown

Building Type   Finger Pillory


'Finger pillories, or stocks, in past ages, were probably frequently employed in the old manorial halls of England; but at the present period only traces of a few are to be found. The most interesting example is one in the parish church of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, which has been frequently described and illustrated. An account of it appears in Notes and Queries of October 25th, 1851. It is described as "fastened at its right hand extremity into a wall, and consists of two pieces of oak; the bottom and fixed piece is three feet eight inches long; the width of the whole is four-and-a-half inches, and when closed, it is five inches deep: the left hand extremity is supported by a leg of the same width as the top, and two feet six inches in length; the upper piece is joined to the lower by a hinge, and in this lower and fixed horizontal part are a number of holes, varying in size; the largest are towards the right hand: these holes are sufficiently deep to admit the finger to the second joint, and a slight hollow is made to admit the third one, which lies flat; there is, of course, a corresponding hollow at the top of the moveable part, which, when shut down, encloses the whole finger." Thomas Wright, f.s.a., in his "Archæological Album," gives an illustration of the Ashby-de-la-Zouch example, and we reproduce a copy [see drawing below]. It shows the manner in which the finger was confined, and it will easily be seen that it could not be withdrawn until the pillory was opened. If the offender were held long in this posture, the punishment must have been extremely painful.'

Featured Images

  • Finger Pillory, Ashby-de-la-ZouchWilliam Andrews, 'Bygone Punishments'. London: William Andrews & Co., 1899.
  • Finger Pillory at the back of the Church of St Helen, Ashby-de-la-ZouchPhoto © Alan Murray-Rust (cc-by-sa/2.0)
  • Close up of the finger pillory at Ashby-de-la-ZouchBy Jimfbleak - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Description: Finger Pillory, Ashby-de-la-Zouch

Photo by: William Andrews, 'Bygone Punishments'. London: William Andrews & Co., 1899.

Description: Finger Pillory at the back of the Church of St Helen, Ashby-de-la-Zouch

Photo by: Photo © Alan Murray-Rust (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Description: Close up of the finger pillory at Ashby-de-la-Zouch

Photo by: By Jimfbleak - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,


    William Andrews, 'Bygone Punishments'. London: William Andrews & Co., 1899.



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