Village History

The Village

Village Stocks

The Village

Parish Churhc

The Village

Village Stocks

Little Houghton Village Stocks

A County Heritage Site


Whilst we in Little Houghton are all aware of our good fortune in possessing our Village Stocks as an important feature not only of our own lovely village but of Northamptonshire, and indeed the Nation, I feel many would be interested to learn more about them.  

With the kind help of the Archives and Heritage Service of the Northamptonshire County Council, we are able to give you fascinating facts concerning Village Stocks in general, and Little Houghton in particular. We hope you find this article will enable you to view our Treasure (which it undoubtedly is) with renewed interest. But first an introduction to the use of Stocks in England.

Stocks were reputedly first used in medieval times. Edward 11 in 1376 ordered every town and village in the land to maintain a set of stocks to punish offenders, However, it is possible that they may have been in use some time before then, and Edward’s decree came at a time when the maintenance of law and order was becoming increasingly difficult, particularly in rural areas. The sites chosen for these stocks were usually places where they would be clearly visible within their communities – the most popular locations being village greens, town squares or outside churchyard gates. Many stocks were also provided with whipping posts, as at Little Houghton, incorporating iron clamps by means of which an offender could be held by the wrists while he or she was flogged for their crime.

But to return to our own village stocks and whipping post in Little Houghton. It is not known exactly how long a set of stocks has stood in its present location outside the Post Office. Records show that Williams Deacon was paid £2.7s. 6d for new stocks and 2s. 0d for a new lock in 1836. However in 1833 a William Baucott was put in the stocks for being drunk and beating his wife – the last time the stocks seemed to have been used.

The stocks are owned by Little Houghton Parish Council and are maintained by Northamptonshire County Council. You will be pleased to know that our stocks are inspected and their condition monitored several times each year by the NCC Archives and Heritage Service. We can therefore rest assured that our famous stocks will be well looked after and protect our Treasure for future generations in Little Houghton.

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