Friday, 6 July 2012

Colne's Stocks on Wheels

In March 1985 I was trundling around East Lancashire looking for a few curiosities I had read about in Arthur Mee's wonderful series of books The King's England.

Each county had its own book - and they were slightly different counties when the books were written in the 1930s. Westmorland and Cumberland, Rutland and perhaps a couple more were still to be found on a map of England. Other modern county or administrative names such as Merseyside or Greater Manchester were absent. Both Manchester and Liverpool, as well as Windermere, were to be found in Lancashire.

Anyway, I wasn't in any of those places, I was in Colne. You hardly ever hear the name on its own. It's normally the final part of a string - "Burnley, Nelson and Colne"! But Colne had something exciting to show me that day in 1985.

In the churchyard, protected by a slate roof on a timber frame, were a set of stocks mounted on a little cart on metal wheels.

There's not a lot to say about them except that I have never ever come across another set of stocks like them. They would have been dragged round to the local markets so that miscreants could be imprisoned in them for people to mock ar throw things at. Stocks were therefore a less harsh punishment than the pillory where the head and hands are shackled, making it impossible to protect the face.

I went back to Colne not all that long after these were taken, hoping to take colour photos in better weather, but the stocks had disappeared. What a shame.

Large versions of photos: pic 1, pic 2, pic 3


  1. Replies
    1. Shaun, thank you so much! So glad they were preserved and I shall come for a look sometime soon!


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