The Last Public Flogging in Nottingham

by Bill Carson

The below extract is from Cornelius Brown’s- Notes About Notts, 1874:

A correspondent says: I have a very vivid recollection that about the year 1830/1, I saw a person flogged in Nottingham, tied to a cart-tail, the operator being a little man named “Jerry”, who for years after I regarded with a mysterious horror in consequence. The cart proceeded slowly up the Long Row to the end of Old Sheep Lane (now Market Street), and there turned. It attracted no particularly large crowd, and there seemed, according to my recollection to be no particular excitement- not much more than a drunken man now creates. Can any reader inform me whether this is altogether a piece of youthful imagination on my part, or whether such an occurrence did actually happen so lately as that?

In reply to this query “G.H.” writes:

I remember well, being at that time a pupil at Dr Nicholson’s school in Parliament Street, in 1830, I saw a man publicly flogged, not at the cart tail, for he stood in the cart, his hands being fastened to a framework in front. He was naked to the waist, and a little man who rode with him briskly applied a birch rod to his back. There was very little crowding or excitement. The cart moved slowly from the House of Correction to the pump near the top of Sheep Lane (now Market Street), and back again. I remember also it being a subject of conversation amongst the boys that another flogging took place in the Market, within a few weeks of the former one. Sutton’s Date Book has the following: “26 May 1830- The last public whipping in Nottingham.”.

It was also stated that there was a sham flogging at one of Hobhouse’s elections, July 1837. The gentlemen who gave us this information says he well remembers supplying the imitation blood- a cask of red ochre and water.


A 19th Century flogging or sometimes known as birching, due to the whip being made from birch wood. The whip used in the last public flogging in Nottingham was reportedly made from Birch.


About nottinghamhiddenhistoryteam

Originally formed in 1965 to try to save or at least record before destruction the cave sites continually discovered during the major redevelopment of the City that took place in Nottingham in the 1960′s. Almost every day new sites were unearthed and destroyed before anyone was notified; last thing they wanted was someone telling them to stop what they were doing; TIME is MONEY. The word HIDDEN in the Team’s title is because a lot of what was being invisibly lost in the redevelopment was our early history in the caves, they are under most, if now all, of Nottingham. In the 80’s and 90’s the Team conducted with the help of Dr Robert Morrell and Syd Henley, research and work on Nottingham’s history, folklore and local archaeology. The Team published quarterly magazines on their findings. The Team lapsed for a few years after the death of Paul Nix who was the team leader for thirty plus years. The Team has reformed and is now back working on Nottingham local history. On this blog you will find a series of history, folklore and archaeological related articles and information. Most of the material published will be specifically related to Nottingham/shire local history.
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