Different Domestic Corporal Punishments


Was beating a person on the soles of their feet with a stick. Because the soles of the feet are vulnerable it was very painful. Bastinado was commonly used in parts of Asia.


This punishment meant beating a person across the backside with birch twigs. Once a common punishment in schools it could also be imposed by the courts for minor offences. Birching as a punishment for minor crimes was abolished in Britain in 1948. (Although it was used in prisons until 1962).

Cactus Needles

Among the Aztecs children were punished by having cactus needles forced into their skin.


Until the late 20th century teachers were allowed to hit children. In the 16th century boys were often punished by being hit with birch twigs. In the 19th century hitting boys (and girls) with a bamboo cane became popular. In the 20th century the cane was used in both primary and secondary schools. However in the late 1960s and early 1970s the cane was abolished in most primary schools. In England in 1987 the cane was abolished in state-funded secondary schools. It was abolished in private schools in 1999.

Ducking Stool

The ducking stool was a seat on a long wooden arm. Women who were convicted of being scolds or gossips were tied to the seat then ducked into the local pond or river. The last woman to be ducked in England suffered the punishment in 1809. In 1817 another woman was sentenced to be ducked but fortunately the water level was too low so she escaped being immersed.

In a later variation of the ducking school in early 19th century textile mills lazy children sometimes had their heads ducked in a container of water.

Dunce’s Cap

In the 19th century low-ability children were often humiliated by being forced to wear a conical hat with a ‘D’ on it. It was called a dunce’s cap.


Until the late 20th century the ruler was a punishment commonly used in primary schools. The teacher hit the child on the hand with a wooden ruler.


Slipper is a euphemism. Normally it was a trainer or a plimsoll. Teachers (usually PE teachers) used a trainer to hit children on the backside.


This is a simple method of executing people. A crowd throw stones at the condemned person until he or she is dead. It was common in the Middle East in Bible times and it is still used in the region today.


The tawse was a punishment used in Scottish schools. It was a leather strap with two or three tails. It was used in Scotland to hit a child’s hand.

Wooden Spoon

In the 20th century many parents used a wooden spoon to hit children. Other implements used included slippers and hairbrushes.


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