Kingston Duckings

www.thelegendsoflondon.wordpress.comOne of the last duckings ever recorded in Britain took place in the Thames, under the Kingston Bridge.  The bridge is the oldest bridge on the River after London Bridge.

The condemned victims were strapped into a chair with a metal belt, to ensure they did not slip out during the ducking.  The chair was lowered into the water a number of times, prescribed by the judge during sentencing.  It was a traumatic experience which led to severe cases of shock and on occasion proved fatal.

In 1745, the London Evening Post reported on the 27th April, “a woman that keeps the Queen’s Head ale-house at Kingston, in Surrey, was ordered by the court to be ducked for scolding, and was accordingly placed in the chair, and ducked in the Thames, under Kingston Bridge, in the presence of 2,000 or 3,000 people”.

…and this was the last time this form of punishment was carried out in Britain.



  1. From the Middle Ages to the 19th-century, it is estimated that over 40,000 women were publicly murdered, some by ducking, in the name of fighting the devil. Some of them were women with property which was then turned over to the “municipality”. Then people tell me that believing in the devil is a good thing… !

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