Monday, 16 June 2008

How we exposed perpetrators of domestic violence in olden times here in The Isle of Thanet

A rural pastime called the “skimmerton,” occasions much mirth, particularly in villages, has it had a good effect on many who richly deserved to be publicly exposed.

It consists of two men riding on one horse; the one dressed as a woman; they sit back to back, and having panniers on the horse filled with grains, from a brewery, they proceed to the house of any man who has flogged his wife. On their arrival, they begin to quarrel, and throw the grains at each other, which is followed by a sham fight between the man and wife. The novelty of the sight, of course, occasions a great number of persons to assemble. The man who leads the horse on this occasion generally collects a few pence from the bystanders. An old servant of my father’s (John Hurst) was often selected for this rustic admonition. Sometimes, two or three parties have been thus publicly exposed on the same day.

Written by John Mockett in Thanet in 1828.

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