Punishment for Fake Pilgrims

Punishment of the Pillory and Whetstone, for pretending to be a Hermit

ON the 20th day of July, in the 13th year etc., William Blakeney, shetilmaker [shuttlemaker], who pretended to be a hermit, was brought unto the Guildhall, before Robert Chichele, Mayor, the Aldermen, and Sheriffs, for that, whereas he was able to work for his food and raiment, he, the same William, went about there, barefooted and with long hair, under the guise of sanctity, and pretended to be an hermit, saying that he was such, and that he had made pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Rome, Venice, and the city of Seville, in Spain; and under colour of such falsehood he had and received many good things from divers persons, to the defrauding, and in manifest deceit, of all the people.

And he was asked how he would acquit himself thereof. Whereupon, he acknowledged that for the last six years he had lived by such lies, falsities, and deceits, so invented by him, to the defrauding of the people, under the colour of such feigned sanctity, and that he never was in the parts aforesaid; which was also found out by the Court. And therefore etc. it was adjudged that the said William should be put upon the pillory for three market-days, there to remain for one hour each day, the reason for the same being there proclaimed; and he was to have, in the meantime, whetstone hung from his neck. And precept was given to the Sheriffs to do execution thereof.

From Memorials of London and London life, in the XIIIth, XIVth, and XVth centuries. Being a series of extracts, local, social, and political, from the early archives of the City of London, A.D. 1276-1419. Selected, tr., and ed. by Henry Thomas Riley ... London, Longmans, Green and Co., 1868 [Hilles: 942.1 2].

13 Henry IV. A.D. 1412. Letter-Book I. fol. cxiii. (Latin.)

The Malefactor is brought to the pillory, with a whetstone about his neck.