Daniel Defoe

Put in the Pillory

 It was on this day in 1703 that the English journalist and author Daniel Defoe was made to stand in the pillory in front of the temple bar. Daniel is remembered for his popular novel Robinson Crusoe which, at the time, claimed to be second to the Bible in its number of published translations.
After Daniel was convicted of treason for one of his political writings, he was punished with time at the pillory. The pillory was essentially a stockade; the hands and head were stuck between two giant beams of wood. The person would stand in the pillory for days. It was a horrible punishment and it was usually reserved for hideous crimes.
While Daniel was in the pillory, the crowds did their best to show their support; they sang songs, shouted encouragements, and threw flowers at his feet instead of mud.
In 1830, a biography of Daniel said that his stocks were adorned with garlands and that drinks were provided to celebrate Daniel's release.
The image of Daniel standing with his head and hands in the stocks surrounded by an adoring audience was memorialized in an 1862 painting by Eyre Crowe. Gardeners will especially notice the flowers strewn on the ground in the foreground. On the right, there are two women struggling to hold on to a large basket of flowers as they are being pushed away by the red coats. Behind the women, a man has managed to attach a small bouquet to the tip of a spear that he is attempting to give to Daniel who is standing calmly in the pillory.

This post was featured on
The Daily Gardener podcast:

helping gardeners find their roots,
one story at a time
Daniel Defoe
Daniel Defoe

Leave a Comment