Punishment and Execution in Perth

The Tollbooth (prison) at the end of the High Street in Perth was used to lock up those people arrested by the Local Constabulary; Cowan, The Ancient Capital of Scotland Volume 1 – describes the jailing of the Town Treasurer in the Tollbooth. The Tollbooth stood opposite the Council Chamber

Hangings took place in Perth Prison until its abolition as a punishment in Scotland; they also took place at the bottom of the High Street.

The North Inch was a location of beatings and drowning; The Ancient Capital of Scotland Volume 2 – describes the flogging of a soldier on the North Inch; so-called heretics were either drowned or beaten at the instigation of Cardinal Beaton; prisoners of Cardinal Beaton were also held in the Spy Tower, at the bottom of Canal Street.

In 1407 a heretical follower of John Wycliffe (English philosopher and early Protestant reformer of the Catholic Church who supervised the first English translation of the Bible; followers of Wycliffe disputed the theory of transubstantiation and opposed the Catholic Church hierarchy) John Resby, was burned at the stake in Perth along with much of his writing.

At the intersection of Skinnergate and the High Street was located the town pillory – a wooden frame with holes in which a person’s hands and feet could be locked.

Both the North and South Inch would have been used for hangings. St John’s Kirk would have been a location for the issuing and delivery of punishments.

Perth Prison was utilised as a holding camp for those people sentenced to transportation.

Cowan, The Ancient Capital of Scotland Volume 1 describes the hanging of 500 notable thieves hung on a gibbet near the castle of Perth (972) under the auspices of Kenneth III.

The Mercat Cross at the bottom of the High Street, opposite the Kirkgate, was a location for the administration of public humiliation and punishment.

The Halkeston Tower above the north porch of the West Church had 2 cells that were in use during the Reformation. They were occupied after that period as well.

The town pillory was in the High Street. (“The pillory consisted of hinged wooden boards that formed holes through which the head and/or various limbs were inserted; then the boards were locked together to secure the captive. Pillories were set up in marketplaces and crossroads to hold petty criminals. Often a placard detailing the crime was placed nearby; these punishments generally lasted only a few hours. Time in the pillory was more dangerous than in the stocks, as the pillory forced the malfeasant to remain standing and exposed.”)