Oubliette des femmes

24Apr10

Still somewhere in mainland Europe. Today we ended up in a small lakeside village that used to be very much more important. A short visit to the local castle revealed that it had a dungeon. Whilst this is not unusual, it was interesting to note that one area was described as the ‘women’s oubliette’. Some of the cells in this area had pillories that were facing the wall and a long step for women to kneel on. It was not hard to see that this would have the effect of positioning women prisoners in a row bent over with their bottoms facing outwards.

With a mind still pondering a more mundane reason for this arrangement, the next stage of the tour was around the medieval streets and market. Several of the shops here seemed to sell bundles of birch-like implements for no particular reason. One was a pottery and another sold paintings. The last shop had a whole rack of martinets (small whips for domestic punishment) sold as tourist items and yet more apparently punitive birches.

One of the small signs carried the legend (as far as memory serves) ‘Pour la oubliette des femmes’.

There is no doubt a simple explanation for all this, unfortunately it was not forthcoming. Time for some research.



One Response to “Oubliette des femmes”

  1. Many villages, and towns in Europe, had a whipping post located in the central area, where a man could bring any naughty female, be she his wife, daughter, maid, or cook, and tie her securely to this post. Then he proceeded to bare their bottoms, and flay them with a birchrod, cane, or whip. Those were the ‘good olde days’.. How I wish they were back?.


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