On a side street in picturesque Dulwich village can be found a small memory of a dark past that haunts the memory of the place.

The Stocks and Cage isn’t the name of a pub, but a place of judicial torture, and just around the corner from the posh boutiques and cafes where people sit sipping their morning brews, can be found a memento to this darker age of penal punishment.

The village “stocks” and “cage,” with the motto, “It is a sport for a fool to do mischief; thine own wickedness shall correct thee,” formerly stood at the corner of the pathway across the fields leading to Camberwell, opposite the burial-ground; and the college “pound,” which formerly stood near the toll-gate in the Penge Road, was, in 1862, ordered to be removed to the end of Croxted Lane.

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It was also a sufficient sight that it was used as a convenient marker for in a guide book to the area.

Around 1814 the stocks were taken down, and the cage removed in 1841. Then curiously, the stone tablet with its dark warning was found, in a garden near to the petrol station, and restored to public display again.

And there, behind railings sits the stone plaque that was mounted next to the stocks as a warning to all miscreants.

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Miscreants included by the way, any pensioner of Dulwich College who if, caught being drunk, on the fourth occasion would be sentenced to the stocks as punishment[1]. They took their temperance very seriously in those days.

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[1] Municipal Parks Gardens, and Open Spaces of London: their history and associations … Illustrated, etc SEXBY, John James, 1898

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2 comments on “A relic of penal punishment in Dulwich village
  1. Greg Tingey says:

    There’s the remains of another “cage” (With an outline on the extant building to which it was attached) … elsewhere in London.
    Try the excellent: Vestry House Museum in Walthamstow.
    The museum is well-worth a visit on its own ….

  2. Greg Tingey says:

    Oops, HTML link to Vestry House museum site didn’t work – never mind it will probably be the first hit on a Google-search!