Crantock Village Stocks

Crantock village stocks still exist and can be seen in the village churchyard.  Years ago every village had the stocks, for villains to be locked into and publicly viewed/humiliated by their disapproving neighbours and family.

Crantock village stocks can be found outside, at the rear of the church, in the churchyard. Dating from the 17th century, Crantock stocks were large enough to accommodate three villains sitting in a row.  The wooden stocks are surrounded by a frame, with a carved back wall containing an inscription and carving of a man in a tree, these date from 1915, which was specially commissioned to protect the old stocks.

The inscription is in three parts: the left panel and the right panel are the story and in the middle/bottom panel, under the carving of the man, is a short verse.

The verse says:

I paid my price for finding out
Nor ever grudged the price I paid
But sat in clink without my boots
Admiring how the world was made.

The left and right panels tell the story of the last main in Crantock Village Stocks:

The last man in Crantock stocks (circa 1817) was William Tinney of West Pentire, a smuggler’s son and a vagabond. He robbed, with violence, a widow woman of Cubert Parish, and was placed, to abide justice, in Crantock stocks, then standing in the church tower. By negligence or design he was insufficiently secured, and shortly afterwards appeared on the top of the tower. He had cut the rope from the tenor bell and by this he lowered himself to the nave roof. Climbing to the eastern gable of the choir and sliding down it, he dropped to the churchyard grass and in the sympathetic view of certain village worthies bolted, got off to sea and was never brought to justice or seen in the neighbourhood again.

This record was taken down in April 1896 by George Metford Parsons, Vicar from the testimony of Richard Chegwidden of Crantock, he being then 88 years of age and well remembering as a witness the events described.

The oak carvings were created by Davey & Bushell of Bristol.

Richard Chegwidden, who remembered the story, was born in 1807 and died in 1900, so he’d have been 10 when the events occurred.

Photo of Crantock, the Stocks 1912, ref. 64822

Reproduced courtesy of Francis Frith.

Francis Frith, photographer, took a photo of the stocks in 1912, but now they have aged they look more impressive than the pristine building he photographed.

Old postcards of the stocks vary between photographs and line drawings of the stocks, along with the inscription.

If you had ancestors who lived in Crantock then they’ll have stood and seen people locked into the stocks – and possibly even spent some time in them themselves!


remwbay crantock stocks

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