Manchester Stocks and Pillory




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Nation   England

County   Lancashire

Location   Former Market Place,  Manchester

Map location   in the vicinity

Year opened   c.1625

Year closed   1816

Century of Operation   1600-1699, 1700-1799, 1800-1899

Building Type   Stocks and pillory

Remarks   Former Market Place has now been redeveloped.


'Mr. W. E. A. Axon, the well known Lancashire author and antiquary, kindly furnishes us with particulars of the Manchester pillory. "The[153] earliest notice of the pillory in Manchester," says Mr. Axon, "is in the Court Leet Records, April 8th, 1624, when the jury referred the erection of 'a gibbett' to the discretion of the Steward and the Boroughreeve. Some delay must have occurred, for on April 8th, 1625, 'the jurye doth order that the constables of this yeare, att the charges of the inhabitants, shall cause to bee erected and sett vp a sufficient gibbett or pilorye for the vse of this towne, in some convenient place about the Markett Crosse, and to take to them the advice of Mr. Stewart and the Bororeve. This to be done before the xxiiijth day of[154] August next, subpena xxs.' This threat of a penalty was effective, and the careful scribe notes factum est. The convenient place was in the market-place, close to the stocks. The pillory remained, more or less in use, until 1816, when it was removed. Barritt, the antiquary, made a drawing of it, which has been engraved. It was jocularly styled the 'tea table,' and was used as a whipping place also. In the present century, it was not a permanent fixture, but a movable structure, set up when required. One pilloried individual, grimly jesting at his own sorrows, told an inquiring friend that he was celebrating his nuptials with Miss Wood, and that his neighbour, whom the beadle was whipping, had come to dance at the wedding. During the Civil War, there was a pillory for the special benefit of the soldiers, and it was removed from the Corn Market in 1651."'

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

'The Medieval market cross of Manchester was standing in 1680. It was situated at the eastern end of the oblong space occupied at one time by the 'Old Shambles' in the market place and opposite the Bull's Head Inn. Nearby stood the court house (SJ 89 NW 19), stocks, gibbet and cage. A new cross, probably simply an obelisk, was erected in 1725 but in 1816 this was removed together with the stocks and pillory. The whole area of the former market place has been re-developed'

Historic England PastScape, 'Market Cross', Manchester

Featured Images

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


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

  • Historic England PastScape, 'Market Cross', Manchester



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