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1563 - 1563
punishment for brothelkeepers in Aberdeen

The Reformation church took a severe attitude to prostitution. Although there are few records about prostitution before 1560, it appears that medieval attitudes may have been more relaxed. Here a brothel-keeper in Aberdeen is punished and humiliated by the kirk.  Note that the kirk regarded such people as unworthy to live in a 'reformed town'. The Scots follows the translation.


Thursday 21 January 1563.

 The said day, it was ordained and decreed in the Assembly that Elspet Murray should be banished this town, conform to the act made for the punishment of common brothelkeepers, because it is sufficiently proven that she is one of these persons, and therefore unworthy to have remaining or dwelling in a reformed town, and that between now and next Saturday; and to be first carted through the town, and thereafter banished, by open proclamation at the market cross.

 The said day, it wes ordanit and decretit in the Assemblie that Elspet Murray suld be baneschit this toun, conforme to the act maid for the punishment of common bordelaris, because it is sufficiently prowin that scho is ane of thair personis, and thairfor vnmete to hawe remanying or duelling in ane reformit toun, and that betuix this and Saterday nixtcummis; and to be first cartit throcht the toun, and thairefter baneschit, be oppon proclamatioun at the mercat croce.



Selections from the Records of the Kirk Session, Presbytery, and Synod of Aberdeen ed John Stuart (Aberdeen: Spalding Club, 1846), 12-13. Translation by E. Ewan