The Garden of Shame


Following the weekend’s post a little digging (if you pardon the pun) was called for. The use of the garden (or the yard as it is called in the US) for public chastisement, has a long tradition.

One account even has William the Bastard spanking his wife in a kitchen garden, although some say he did it indoors.

In times past, often the point of whipping ‘grown up girls’ was more about humiliation and putting them in their place than inflicting pain and noble wives and adult daughters were birched in the long gallery of great houses, a usually public space, for this very purpose.

For the lesser classes who did not have a long gallery, then the obvious venue for correction was outdoors. After all, the average cottar did not have room to swing a cat in his one-roomed house.

In the US the woodshed was a common venue, but for the most part the location was chosen more for convenience rather than privacy.

“Oh lordy, we used to skulk in the bushes whenever Betsy was up for a whoppin’,” a line from Frontier Tales has it. Betsy, it turns out was a Kentucky indentured maid of 27 way back in 1800.

The text is silent about the method of Betsy’s chastisement, but Samuel P of Oregon remembers the old woodshed on his father’s farm back in the 1930s fondly; as well as not so fondly.

In a letter to the New Yorker, he wrote:

“When woodshed time came around us boys would make ourselves scarce if we could, but not too scarce, because likely as not it was one of my older sisters who was going to get switched on her bare bottom; an operation that was almost always carried out in the back yard.”

“Best of all was when my elder brother’s wife was up for it. He or Ma always made her cut her own switch first just like we had to and then offer it up without the least sass.”

“’Go away you brats,’ she would say if she saw us, but we never paid her any mind and stayed to watch the party. Boy she would take on so.”

The custom in Spain was to whip girls bent over the back of a chair in the middle of a shared courtyard. The endured humility was tempered only by the fact that it was customary to send the unmarried men away.

An American report at the time of Civil War suggested that only the fascists whipped on the bare and the more civilised Republicans up on the draw. However, another commentator said that the retention of underwear was only on account of the prevalence of so many foreign troops in Republican held territories.

The faithful old Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine held that all punishments of young women should be as long, painful and as humiliating as possible. Somewhat fanciful no doubt, but one contributor advocated the garden as just the place for a good spanking. As it was “shaming and would not disturb Papa at his leisure indoors.”

Another advantage, as is depicted in the picture above, is that the garden was a handy venue for providing the wherewithal for the makings of a nursery (or some other) birch.

The last word we will leave to Miss Emily P T, who was chastised by her aunt as a young woman in the years immediately preceding the Great War.

“My Aunt favoured the birch applied to the completely bare bottom. Well I cannot say that I did not ask for it sometimes. The thing was, and this you will not credit, where usually I was sent to my room to await her and there birched before being set in the corner, at other times I was corrected in the drawing room, also so revealed and also there placed in the corner at the scene of my demise, so to speak.”

“This was quite public enough for me, for she had no regard whatsoever if we should have visitors, but on two occasions I was birched in like manner in the rose garden beyond the back lawn. And by like manner I do mean in every regard right down to a shameful public vigil. At such times I prayed for a great hole to swallow me up.”

22 Responses to “The Garden of Shame”

  1. 1 kaki

    What is a nursery birch? Sounds like a baby birch, but I am sure I am way off. This question does not mean I want to experience it, just curious. I just want to make that perfectly clear.

    • 2 DJ

      A nursery birch is a small birch lik ethe one the woman in the picture is holding in her hand.

      So-called because it was allegedly designed for a child of 10 in Victorian times (a governess birch and a penal birch each being double and re-double the size respectively). It is far too harsh for a child, but would be a good starting point for a young woman.

      I have recently had ocasion to use one – but that would be telling. 😉


      • 3 kaki

        DJ, thanks for the explanation. So, you spanked… or a certain young lady that acted like a child of 10. 😉

  2. 4 paul little

    I once got birched with a what i think must have been a nusery birch! nothing child like about it bottom hurt for a few days afterwards!

  3. 5 Poppy

    A nursery birch is an implement used on an innocent woman (her innocence is such that it evokes childhood) and, alas, is often used only by terribly unfair Tops. That is the truth, Kaki and if anyone tells you anything else then his or her mouth should be washed out with soap to teach them all about truth.

  4. 6 Mindy

    Poppy, you’re very brave to poke the bear in his den. 😉

  5. 7 kaki

    DJ, sorry for the faux pas..

    I hate to contradict you but that birch in the picture doesn’t look small in the least to me, good thing we don’t use them here. When you go out cutting these switches to bundle does anyone ask what you are going to do with them?

    Poppy, I wouldn’t make suggestions like washing mouths with soap for telling tales if I was in your knickers. 😉 But in this case I agree with 100%.

  6. 8 Poppy

    It was Kaki that started it and I have told the truth- there is nothing for an innocent girl to fear around here.
    I suspect Kaki and Mindy have guilty consciences- I have heard the nursery birch is good for sorting that out.

    • 9 kaki

      You should know all about nursery birches and what they are good for. 😉

      I have no guilty conscience, I’ve been reading The Academy series so I know how to avoid getting into trouble like some girls around here. You may stand back and bask in my goodness. 🙂

      Mindy, she is very brave, isn’t she.

  7. They are good for you, that is clearer all the time.
    I have read almost one million DJ Black stories in the last 48 hours. I know what happens to girls like you.

    Mindy, I would stand far away from Kaki if I were you. I am just going to sit here and shake my head. (I may sigh a little too- at how audacious her behaviour is.)

  8. 11 scarlet

    Goodness, (not that there is much of that around here, with Poppy and Kaki in the garden), there is an awful lot of talk about nursery birches. I would like to vote out the American use of the word “yard” in favor of the British garden. “Yard” sounds like a barren space outside a prison, and if girls are going to be spanked outside, there should be lots of trees and shrubbery about to provide a little privacy.

    And those pretty little garden benches, of course, to bend over.

    No nursery birches required, of course. Kaki has a lot of those plastic plant supports in her garden. Enough to share with Poppy. 🙂

  9. 12 Karl Friedrich Gauss

    You know that old expression “an English country garden”. Well I’m beginning to think that maybe, just maybe, the picture of such a garden is not complete unless there’s a lovely young lady being birched or tawsed, or slippered, or smacked, right out there in plain view in the middle of that English country garden.

    Certainly the subject has already generated quite a frenzy of discussion. See above. And to my knowledge, none of the above have yet been birched out there in the garden. Or perhaps certain matters are best left unmentioned.

  10. 13 scarlet

    Karl, any girl to be birched in an English Country Garden must be taken behind the hedges. It’s in the rule book. Page 7.

  11. 14 kaki

    Scarlet, there are plenty of those plastic plant supports in my garden to go around for everyone, including you. There are more in reserve attached to the mini blinds all over the house.

    Karl, did it occur to you that we are all too well behaved which is why we havn’t had to be birched, in the garden or elsewhere. *or at least some of us 😉 *

  12. Scarlet!
    They may do that sort of thing in America but here in England she gets birched and that is it. Honestly, I am shocked at your wantonness.

    • 16 Mindy

      😆 Poppy, that’s a good one! I have to admit I had to read it a second time to understand what you mean.

  13. 18 scarlet

    New rule, Poppy’s version: Any girl to be birched in an English Country Garden must be behind the hedges to be taken. 🙂

  14. 19 kaki

    Poppy, maybe over in England you should try a little of that wantonness, 😉
    Apparently Mindy has. 😉

    • 20 Mindy

      Balderdash. You have a wild imagination, Kaki. I’m still …. Oh, never mind.

      (Does that sound like someone we all know? 😉 )

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