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Tarred and feathered

Posted by R. Berg on March 28, 2001

In Reply to: Tarred and feathered posted by james b. mcswain on March 27, 2001

: When did the ritual of humiliation, known as being "tarred and feathered" begin? Did it occur during the middle ages?

From the Oxford English Dictionary: "The practice was imposed by an ordinance of Richard I in 1189 as a punishment in the navy for theft: see [ three print sources cited here] in Howell's 'Fam. Lett.' (1650 . . . ); it is said to have been applied in 1623 by a bishop of Halverstade to a party of incontinent friars and nuns; but in neither case is the specific term used."