I have just read an article titled, “Medieval punishment”, in a magazine, which is about one of the London’s notorious prisons “The Clink”, built by the Bishop of Winchester between 1107 and 1144. I would like to share with you my reading as we are currently dealing with some related topics in our subjects.
As an introduction, the article tells us a bit about the Clink prison’s history. It starts explaining the origins of the name "The Clink", which actually derives from the sound of the rattling of the chains that the prisoners wore.
As regards prisoners´ life there, it was hard; they were beaten and tortured brutally with various torture devices. Women were actually more severe punishment that men, they were tortured to death slowly, whereas men would often be granted the death of honour. Furthermore, prisoners had to eat mice and rats to survive because food and drink were charged at twice the correct price.
Added to this, it is said that this prison presented a source of income for the Bishop as in those times warehouse were regulated and shut down. As an evidence of that, the article tells us that prisoners´ family and friends had to pay the jailers in order to make their time better. Another example mentioned is that the law permitted creditors to send their debtors to jail so as to increase the prison’s population.
Punishment continued for a few decades during Henry VII and Mary I´s reign. However, as the costs to upkeep became higher, the prison was used less and less until finally, it was burned down.
In brief, the purpose of the article seems to be to point out that today The Clink Prison becomes a Museum, which is currently located on the original site in Clink Street, and that it tries to recreate the conditions of the original prison. To convince the reader it highlights that for its visitors it was an impressive and vivid feeling to be there. Besides, as a conclusion it presents some of the visitors´ testimonies that bear it out.
Although it offers persuasive ideas, I consider that the content of this article could be very useful to work with. Moreover, the article suggests areas where additional research findings would help us to understand the medieval context as well as other important events that took place at that time.
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