absent sire, Sally Brindle was never far from strife. Raised in a
swank bordello and schooled in the boudoir, Sally was a buxom, comely
lass and always destined for a colourful career. Indeed, a sizeable
measure of her seemingly endless tribulations may well have been
avoided were it not for her unconscionable good looks.
Midway through her sixteenth year, the sassy, brown-eyed blonde had
made the first of her many appearances before the municipal Sessions.
The kindly old magistrate, lenient on that occasion, had, in
consequence of her tender years, awarded her only a token seven days
detention. No detailed account of her punishment exists, however, and
that she was probably whipped during her confinement we may only
Whatever the case, the experience seems to have marked a turning point
in young Sally's life and from this time onward her name begins to
appear amongst the records with increasing frequency. At seventeen, a
conviction for soliciting led to a term at the local Bridewell. Once
again, unfortunately, we have no documentary evidence of corporal
punishment being administered. Nonetheless, given the general tenor of
the Bridewell regime, we may safely assume she emerged from her
incarceration no stranger to the birch.
A year later Sally met a petty blackmailer and part-time pimp named
Jasper Thryng and her ruin was assured. In the Spring of the following
year, Brindle was apprehended yet again for soliciting in public, an
activity which, considering her relatively secure, affluent
circumstances, she had no real need of pursuing. Such was Thryng's
pernicious influence over the girl. Under questioning, it was revealed
her lover had become involved with a secretive enterprise bringing
stolen gems into the country and a search of his lodgings turned up a
veritable treasure-trove of ill-gotten booty. Sally, as a reward for
her co-operation and valuable information, was charged with being an
accessory to the crime.
An unmarried woman facing the unsympathetic, misogynistic courts of
the day, could expect very short shrift from the men who would hear
her case. Furthermore, she would be unrepresented and totally
unfamiliar with the proceedings taking place around her. In this
respect the trial of Sally Brindle was unexceptional, and it took the
court a little more than ten minutes to convict the frightened,
confused prisoner of the charges brought against her. We can only
guess at the thoughts racing through the mind of the pretty young
culprit as she was led down from the dock to stand facing His Lordship
at the high bench.
"Tis a pity for you, Sally Brindle, that you find yourself before me
this day," the black-caped, periwigged old bailie admonished. Sally
shifted nervously and stared at her feet. The portly, grey-haired
magistrate glared at her, pitiless and implacable. "We have had
dealings with you prior to this, young madam, and the court is sorely
displeased to see you here again! I am inclined to believe you mock
the King's Justice with your insolence!"
"Oh no, My Lord! Not I!" she stammered. "I beg you, please! Have
mercy!" Unmoved by her ravings, His Lordship continued, "Your impudent
mendacity and astonishing paucity of contrition serve only to
exacerbate and compound your already precarious standing with the
court. Sally Brindle, you have been adjudged guilty of being knowingly
concerned in the commission of a felony. Accordingly, you shall be
given over into the custody of the Bridewell for a period of ninety
days, there to be taught a useful occupation, and to receive such
other correction as needs be."
At this announcement Sally paled visibly. Ninety days!
"In the matter of enticement to commit unlawful fornication," the
judge resumed and Sally's heart leapt in her breast. Being an
accessory after the fact was one thing. A pretty nineteen-year-old
caught a-whoring was another matter entirely! She tried to stand
straight, to appear calm, but her legs felt like rubber, her palms
were clammy and a cold thrill of fear had taken hold of her like the
dread hand of Fate upon her woebegotten soul. "Oh God," she whispered,
closing her eyes.
"I have examined the facts," the judge was saying, "And I am of the
opinion that you represent a conspicuous and persistent vexation to
good order and public decency; a low-born young vixen who, having
forsaken her scant modesty for the fruits of unrighteousness and,
worse still, having willingly sacrificed her maidenhead at the
shameful altar of turpitude, now stands before us begging her pardon.
Humbug! Gammon and humbug, girl! It is the sentence of this court that
you be taken, at a time convenient to the Governors, to the square at
St Margaret's, there to be whipt with birch rods upon your naked
breech. Forty lashes! And may God grant you the courage to endure your
stripes with patience and humility. Take her away!"
Sally said nothing .. then fainted.
A woman, on being delivered to the Bridewell, was first given a bath -
a form of corporal punishment in itself for some! Then, when she had
been scrubbed clean, she was put to work, beating hemp, knitting
bonnets or some other menial task. On Board morning each week, the
Governors convened to decide the fate of new arrivals as well as those
poor souls unlucky enough to have drawn the attention of their
fastidious overseers, either by ineptitude, stubbornness or as a
consequence of some petty infraction of the rules.
When her turn came, the prisoner was brought forward by the attendant
beadles - a kind of semi-official municipal constabulary - and
judgement given forthwith, usually to the effect that she receive
immediate and present chastisement. She would then be stripped of her
clothing and summarily punished in full view of the court. Married
women and those of mature age, being considered deserving of some
small degree of feminine modesty, were generally whipped 'supra
dorsum' - over the shoulders - with a thonged lash. A young, unmarried
woman or teenaged girl would be punished 'infra dorsum' with the
birch; that is to say she could expect to receive the stinging strokes
across her bare bottom and thighs. Twelve lashes were given to an
adult first-offender, six to a juvenile.
A prisoner under sentence of a more exemplary correction was usually
spared this Bridewell 'welcome' pending her chastisement by the public
executioner - but there was no way out. The best a girl could hope for
was for someone to pay off the hangman. This way she would,
ostensibly, receive a relatively gentle whipping, and, after a few
hours, she might even be able to sit again without undue discomfort.
The marks, too, would soon fade. In return she would remain hopelessly
indebted to her benefactor until such time as she was able to
extricate herself from the arrangement.
The alternative was too horrible to contemplate, and, isolated in the
Bridewell, Sally had no way of knowing her fate till the first blow
fell. Her mother might not, after all, come to her rescue. There had
been disagreements of late, and warnings. Then there was the business
of the brooch she had taken!
On the other hand, there was little doubt she would fetch a fortune in
fees amongst the rich and powerful men who frequented her mother's
plush chambers in the mews - provided, of course, she was not 'cut up'
or otherwise damaged by the attentions of her chastiser in the
performance of his Christian duty. For the most part, Sally comforted
herself with this thought, though little could make up for the sense
of shame and degradation attendant to the approaching operation.
The morning of her punishment began like any other at the Bridewell,
with the booming of the drum and the pounding of hammers. Sally yawned
and brushed aside the straw from her face. Reluctantly she opened her
eyes. There, to her instant and overwhelming horror, stood three of
the blue-coated beadles, peering down at her where she lay on her
palette. "Come with us, missie," one of the men grunted and took her
by the arm, pulling her towards him. "No!!" she cried, but a second
pair of hands got hold of her and she was dragged untidily to her
feet. "The third fellow, a swarthy brute named Bellows, then indicated
the girl should be brought out and taken to the south portal from
whence she would be transported the half-mile or so to St Margaret's.
By the time the huge iron gate clanged shut behind them, Sally and her
guards had been joined by a tall grey-bearded officer on horseback and
a spotty, grinning youth with a side-drum and a pair of wooden
beaters. "All is in readiness, I see," Bellows announced, then,
turning to his two subordinates, said, "You take her, Simpson. You'd
be the strongest. "Suh .." replied the lumpish, red-headed young man
and, loosing his grip on the terrified, dumbstruck prisoner, turned
his back and squatted.
Meanwhile, the lad with the drum had commenced a slow resonant tattoo
that rattled and reverberated along the cobbled thoroughfare, bringing
curious faces to unshuttered windows and frightening the pigeons from
the low, shingled eaves. "Step to, young lady," Bellows ordered and
gave her a shove. "Fuck off, you!" Sally squawked, and bared her
teeth. Bellows shoved again, harder. "Give him your hands!" he
commanded and Sally, though not without some hesitation, shuffled
obediently forward and allowed herself to be taken by the wrists and
horsed up onto the broad, muscular back of the obliging Mr Simpson.
With a grunt the big man rose, drawing the helpless girl up with him,
so that, when he stood erect, her grimy, unshod feet dangled a full
eight inches above the pavement. "Heyyy....yuppp!!" cried the horseman
and the small company began its slow, noisy procession down towards
the market square.
"Hear ye! Hear ye!" Bellows called out above the clattering of the
drum and the steady 'clop-clop' of hooves on the pavement. "Sally
Brindle, lately seen about Saint Bride's Well, goes to face the King's
Justice! Hear ye! Hear ye!" The second constable, one Charles Buckley
by name, then took up the cry : "Sally Brindle, felon and fornicator,
punished by order of the Assizes! Make way!" Soon, heads began to turn
and small groups of men and women could be seen congregating in
doorways, or making their way surreptitiously down to the square. A
group of ragged boys, startled from their play, had joined in the
parade, pointing and giggling, and mouthing ribald quips as the party
bumped and trudged its way along the street.
In the square by the old stone church, a raucous unkempt mob had
gathered in anticipation of young Sally's arrival. An area to one side
of the pillory had already been roped off and a group of men were
busying themselves with last-minute preparations for the upcoming
entertainment. A broad space had been cleared, about which were laid
out the various instruments and apparatus of the executioner's grisly
task; the bench, the bucket, and, of course, the birches, soaked and
ready for use.
In the midst of this activity, an attractive, junoesque figure of a
woman quietly detached herself from the throng and made her way,
unchallenged, past the barrier. Engaging herself in conversation with
the one man who, by virtue of his very idleness, identified himself as
foreman of the aforementioned judicial crew, the woman said, "Mr
Crabtree, I presume,"
"Aye. That I am," the man replied gruffly. "And you would be Mistress
Brindle, if I not be mistaken, come to save her little girl."
Just then the punishment detail from the Bridewell, along with its
rag-tag retinue, rounded the corner and began pushing its way up
through the milling crowd. "Make way! Make way!" the cry went up and
soon a path had been cleared for Sally to be brought into the square.
What'll it be then, Mistress? Quickly now!" Crabtree urged, thrusting
out his hand. "Tip, lady!" There followed a brief, whispered exchange,
the clink of silver, then a satisfied grunt from the hangman. "Make
way!" the roar went up again and Sally Brindle was carried, limp and
half-exhausted, out into the open. "Mother!" she wailed, Help me! Help
me!" but the woman had melted back into the surging crowd.
Hiram Crabtree was, in truth, the very stuff from which hangmen are
fashioned. Crude, coarse and rat-faced, he had made himself a rich man
on the gifts and bribes he extorted from his terrified victims and
their fretting kinfolk. People loathed him. He drooled and spat and,
when he spoke, his foetid breath, a miasma of vile putrescent decay,
enveloped the listener in a cloud of stench like the morbid exhalation
of some dank cthonic vault.
"Get that poxy 'orse o' yours outa here, Macgregor!" he snarled,
though it was clear the two men were well acquainted. "Christ! Whadja
thing I am, Francis of Assisi?" Chuckling to himself, the bearded
rider dismounted and handed the reigns to the nearest beadle, saying,
"Look after this, Buckley," then turned again to the surly
executioner. "I shall speak with you later, Crabtree!" he said and
moved around beside the bench. "Bring her here, Simpson!" Moments
later, Sally found herself plumped unceremoniously down in the place
indicated. The officer regarded her sternly and said, "You will take
your punishment, Sally Brindle. Strip!"
"Oh, Sir!" she gasped, to which the man responded, "Bellows! Simpson!
Disrobe her!" and the oafish beadles once again laid their rude, rough
hands about her, seizing her wrists and tugging at her clothes. "Get
her arms behind her back," Bellows suggested. "Good! Now ..."
The front of the shabby prison dress parted with a rending shriek of
torn linen and a pitiful squeal of dismay from the pinioned Miss
Brindle. Another tug and the flimsy garment fell away completely,
leaving the big busty girl, with the pouting lips and the come-hither
looks, stark naked and shivering in front the assembled multitude. The
order was then given to prepare her for punishment and together the
three men, Bellows, Simpson and Crabtree, proceeded to forcibly lay
the lass, cursing and kicking, face down over the whipping-bench.
When she had at last been sufficiently restrained, her wrists were
bound securely to a block affixed at the front. Finally, a thick roll
of hessian cloth was wedged underneath her lower abdomen and a broad
leather belt drawn down tightly across the small of her back, so that
her hips and buttocks rose sharply in mute compliance with the firm
stricture. Macgregor had produced a sealed parchment from beneath his
jacket. This he passed to Bellows, with the words, "Be so kind as to
read the proclamation," adding, "Loudly, please, so that we may all
benefit from His Lordship's wisdom."
"I shall try, Sir," Bellows said as he broke open the wax seal and
began to read from the scroll. "Hear ye! Hear ye! Let it be known, the
prisoner, called by name Sally Brindle and arraigned in the general
sessions of Wednesday last, the twelfth, is sentenced hereby that she
be brought in shame before the good people of this parish of Oakwood,
there to be duly chastised in accordance with Law and in the manner
prescribed. By order of His Lordship, the Right Honourable Sir Crispin
Prendergast, Lord Provost in Council. God save the King!"
Macgregor nodded appreciatively. "Quite rightly!" he said and
signalled for the punishment to begin. Crabtree, meanwhile, had armed
himself with a thoroughly frightful-looking birch and had taken up a
position directly behind the prisoner. The executioner drew a deep
breath then, swinging the birch around at arm's length, brought it
whistling down diagonally across Sally's squirming, jiggling rear.
There followed a breathless, momentary silence throughout the square;
then, as the pain began to spread outward from the point of impact, a
long, high-pitched squeal rent the air. Macgregor called out, "One!"
and made a mark in a small pocket-book he kept for the purpose. A
young woman at the front of the crowd covered her eyes and turned
away, shaken and disgusted by the spectacle. Crabtree's evil,
toothless grin broadened and he whipped the birch down a second time.
It landed with a loud hissing 'thwackkk!!' that seemed to make the
very stones ring and Sally let out a great yelp of pain, wriggling her
hips from side to side in an effort to rid herself of the awful sting.
"Two!" Macgregor shouted and she squealed again, "No! Nooo..!! Not so
hard! .. Pleeeeeease...!!!"
The fiendish contrivance of the whipping-bench had forced her firm,
well-developed posterior up into a position whereby she was presented
fully exposed, and, as a result, desperately vulnerable to the
executioner's powerful ministrations. Accordingly, at the fall of the
third stroke, Macgregor signalled a stop in order that the prisoner's
fearful struggles might be allowed to subside. Less than a dozen paces
away, behind the rope barrier, a hundred pairs of eyes watched in rapt
fascination as the bawdy drama of chastisement unfolded. "Turn it this
way, Sally!" a young man yelled, hoping for a fuller glimpse of her
soft, pulchritudinous charms. "Ooohh! You naughty young thing!" cried
another. "Showing yourself like that!"
Certain, now, that the officer was wise to his game, Crabtree leaned
forward over his victim and whispered, "If I was you, missie, I'd keep
my legs together and my tail up. That is, if I knowed what's good for
me, hehe.." Sally was a big girl now, and she knew perfectly well what
was good for her. Like it or not, she was going to have to play this
"Mr Executioner!" Macgregor broke in, and Crabtree resumed his
position at the rear. Then, to her lasting credit, as well the
considerable delight of the gaping, leering mob, the mortified young
woman perched whimpering and trembling atop the whipping-bench,
obediently assumed the modest, submissive posture Crabtree had
indicated. "Cor! What a peach!" a loud voice proclaimed. No one
disagreed and Sally's chastisement commenced anew.
The cruel judicial birch, over three feet in length and wickedly
supple, lashed down again. "Four!" Macgregor counted and made another
mark in his book. Five and six followed, and so on up to ten,
whereupon the officer called out, "Stop!" for a second time, ordering
that the girl be further restrained with a rope at her ankles. When
this had been done, and the prisoner once again admonished of the need
for her heartfelt contrition and humble acquiescence in the execution
of her sentence, the whipping re-commenced with renewed vigour.
Thwackkk!! .. "Eleven!"
Thwackkk!! .. "Twelve!"
The atmosphere of the town square had, by now, reached a fever pitch
of excitement, with men and women elbowing and pushing each other and
craning their necks for a better view of Sally Brindle's writhing,
whip-marked derrière. A preacher, filled with the fire of the spirit,
railed and ranted, brandishing his bible in the air and screaming,
"Repent! Repent! O ye venomous whores and vipers! Repent!!" A bloated
old schoolmaster, drunk on wine and his own wild imaginings, forced
his way to the front, shouting, "Give me the birch, man! Give me the
birch! I'll show you how it's done!"; and all the while, as this was
going on, Sally bucked and howled on her perch as stroke after
scalding stroke was laid about her.
Thwackkk!! .. "Fifteen!"
Thwackkk!! .. "Sixteen!"
The birch rose and fell in a measured, steady rhythm until Macgregor
called out, "Nineteen!" whereat Crabtree flung down his splintered,
denuded instrument and stumped across to select a suitable replacement
from the bucket which stood to one side of the clearing. At this, the
crowd gave a loud cheer of approval and a fat, pie-eyed old woman
shrieked, "Plenty more where that came from, Duckie, hahaha....!!"
After all, what is a birching without at least one instrument being
broken up in the process of its administration?
Much has been said, and written, regarding the psychological and
emotional effects of strong physical discipline on the person of the
adult female, with some authors even claiming the entire business of
the feminine masochistic instinct to be little more than the lurid
construct of some patriarchal, sado-erotic abuse fantasy. Others point
to the numerous historical instances of the phenomenon, from St
Theresa of Ávila to Madonna; while many a tale is told, from real
life, of the girl who really did ask for it! The theatre too abounds
in cp and cp imagery from Chaucer down to Shakespeare and on to Ally
Formal, judicial-style cp, whilst being somewhat more severe and
uncompromising in its application, has also had its affectionados
amongst the fairer sex, and the extraordinary case of Sally Brindle
does not stand alone. Researcher and cp anthologist, Richard Manton,
acquaints us with "The Female Husband" of 1746, an "outraged account
of the conduct of a young lesbian, Molly Hamilton, soundly birched by
the public hangman on 10 October. Shrill with indignation, the account
describes how the birching so roused Molly's 'monstrous and unnatural
desires' that she urgently bribed the gaoler to bring her girlfriend
in for the night."
Sally looked up from where she lay draped across the whipping-bench,
her face wet with tears and perspiration, and her teeth bared in a
twisted mask of contradictory emotions, such that the observer had no
way of telling whether it might be pain or pleasure she was feeling.
"Please, Sir" she gasped, in a hoarse, breathy contralto. "Please be
quick." Hearing this, and seizing on the pretext of righteous moral
outrage, Macgregor said to the executioner, "Methinks the wench too
eager by far," to which the former replied, "Aye."
Macgregor, smiled wryly and said, "The sentence is specific," then,
consulting his dog-eared little almanac, told him, "Twenty-one to
come. Mr executioner! You will do your duty!" Crabtree moved back into
position, saying, "Aye. That I shall," and the flogging resumed.
The twentieth fell with a sharp, resounding smack and, when the stroke
had been duly counted and recorded, Crabtree hefted up the birch and
struck again - Thwackkk!! Sally let out a long tremulous sob, "Oh!
Ohh! Ohhh...!" her hips arching and twisting in a lewd, grinding
display indistinguishable from the contorted throes of carnal ecstacy
Thwackkk!! .. "Twenty-two!"
Thwackkk!! .. "Twenty-three!"
Thwackkk!! .. "Twenty-four!"
"At the cry of "Thirty!" Sally gave vent to a huge, bellowing cry, as
though an enormous bolt of electricity had been passed through her
body. Her wild, bloodshot eyes rolled back in their sockets and her
head lolled from side to side as she struggled to get her breath. "Uh!
... huhh! .. oohh ..! God! God...!" Bouncing and shaking, her big
bottom arched skyward, the plump, rotund globes crisscrossed with a
burning red lattice-work of welts and abrasions that covered her
ample behind from hip to hip and halfway down her thighs.
Thwackkk!! .. "Ooooooohhhhh .....!!! Ooooooohhhhh .....!!!"
"Thirty-one!" Macgregor snapped and drew a cryptic mark in his tally.
"Continue, Mr Crabtree," he added with a sly wink. "There will be no
Thwackkk!! .. "Thirty-two!"
Thwackkk!! .. "Thirty-three!"
The prisoner jerked and moaned as he flogged her, though it was plain
the girl was entirely spent. Thirty-four and thirty-five came at the
same slow, leisurely pace, punctuated by the officer's strident cries
and by the hoots and reprimands issuing from the unforgiving mob.
"Look at her, will you!" a woman bawled. "The randy little strumpet!"
and another shouted back, "'Tis the devil in her, I say!" - and, all
the while, Sally continued her urgent, tearful pleas for a speedy
conclusion to her long ordeal. The time between each stroke seemed an
agony of waiting, a fearful eternity of pain and trepidation. "Oh,
please, Sir!", she sobbed, "It hurts!"
Thwackkk!! .. "Thirty-eight!"
Thwackkk!! .. "Thirty-nine!"
At last, the officer called out, "Forty!" and the punishment ceased.
Closing his book, he said, "See to her!" and Simpson, Bellows and the
redoubtable Mr Crabtree set about the task of releasing the blubbering
prisoner from her chafing bonds. When this had been achieved, she was
helped painfully to her feet and allowed to retrieve what was left of
her clothing. "Clear the way!" Macgregor shouted. "The wench shall
walk!" and, to the sound of the slow 'rat-tat' of the drum and the
jibes and catcalls of the fast-dwindling crowd, Sally was marched
stiffly out of the square and into the high-street to begin the long
tramp back to the Bridewell and the waiting ward.
"A word with you, Crabtree," the officer said when the commotion had
died down. "Eh?" the hangman replied. "What's that?" Macgregor smiled
and thrust out his hand in the universal gesture of greed and avarice
and said, "Ha! Spare me the trouble! Tip, man!"