Beaten twice in a week

Hello everyone,

Was it uncommon or not for someone to be beaten twice in one week? I did read a Victorian newspaper story that described exactly that – this was featured on the Corpun website. The punishment was inflicted the day after the first. This was, however, on board a naval ship; the captain was sacked for this excessive punishment.

I can only imagine you would have been extremely sore after a double dose along similarily inflicted ‘lines’.


There is a vast amount of material on the excellent Corpun.Com website. A very quick search there takes me to this account. I hope it is the correct one.

This item satisfies the criteria you mention in your contribution #1 above that it took place in 1861, certainly within the Victorian era, on board naval vessel HMS Trident, a caning on two successive days was involved and the officer concerned, Commander Nicholas, admitted that he had committed a grave and serious error of judgement and was sentenced to be discharged with disgrace at the resulting court martial.

The account linked, a court martial summary rather than the newspaper report you mention, is confusing and contradictory in many respects. However it appears that between Saturday 9 November and Tuesday 12 November 1861 two boys were caned for various offences on various occasions aboard HMS Trident. One of them, Boy Philip Crannis age 15, seems to have been given between 60 and 100 (the evidence is confusing) strokes of the cane on Monday 11 November and a further 116 (possibly, again the evidence is confusing) strokes of the cane on Tuesday 12 November.

After the Tuesday caning Crannis reported sick and was found by the ship’s surgeon to have “severe contusions on both buttocks, particularly the right”. Scarcely surprising if he had received over 200 strokes of the cane in two days! Whatever the actual number of strokes most of those who gave evidence at the court martial seem to have agreed that both of Crannis’s punishments were more excessive than a normal ship’s caning for a boy, which was apparently 48 strokes.

For those interested the court martial summary contains some data as to the type of cane, the punitive posture imposed on the boys and the clothing permitted – if you can decipher it!


Thank you, Another Lurker… gosh, I really don’t like my username on here! Any possible way of changing it, I couldn’t seem to be able to, quickly looking at the menu on my profile. I suspect I’d have to ‘delete’ myself!

Going back on topic, thank you for your reply. I’d forgotten the varying details of the report, so I’m glad you’ve refreshed my memory. The caning does seem incredibly excessive and very cruel, I can only imagine how terrible it would have been for the poor recipient. I do remember he said he was ‘very sore’ after the first infliction, and must have been dreading a second dose so soon after.

I will check out the reports.


I am pleased to hear that the item I linked in #2 is the correct one.

I regret that I cannot assist with a username change.  As you have doubtless noticed there appears to be provision for this, with ‘Change Username’, right hand side of the ‘Other Actions’ bar under ‘My Profile’.  However for me at least this appears to be inactive and simply loops back to the ‘My Profile’ window without offering any options or taking any action.

There are a number of possible reasons for this.  It may be a forthcoming facility not yet implemented by Tapatalk.  It may require software I don’t have on my desktop system, such as the Tapatalk App, though possibly not as I note you do have the app on your iPhone.   It may require a particular membership status such as VIP+.  It may be a Tapatalk facility which this Forum’s Management have chosen to disable.  Or it may be that it just  doesn’t work in the browser configuration I use here, though if it didn’t work for you either this becomes less likely.

In any event I would urge considerable caution in anything to do with usernames.  And after all, to quote Shakespeare’s Juliet, what’s in a name?  However you could simply append a name you prefer as a signature to your contributions and I, and doubtless others, will attempt to remember to use that name if you wish.

Going back to the subject of your thread, the court martial report does indeed say that when faced with a second dose of the cane on Tuesday Philip Crannis begged hard for the punishment to be delayed as he was extremely sore and could hardly sit down from the effects of the previous day’s punishment.

I think it unlikely that many people will have experienced such extensive and severe canings on successive days within living memory, and certainly not in a conventional educational environment.  However some of our readers have led interesting lives and have participated in recreational CP.  Someone may be able to comment on the effects of two (or even more) severe canings in the space of a couple of days.  If so I hope that they will!


If 48 strokes was “normal” it does seem excessive but maybe it’s an indication of the severe punishments that were administered in Victorian times and considered as standard practice. It follows that school punishments in those days would have followed a similar pattern and that the “six-of-the-best” that most of us consider the maximum number that any boy (or girl) could reasonably be expected to take would have been regularly exceeded.


In the infamous caning scene in Kes, the headmaster gives the boys two on the hands and says that he knows they will be back for more before the week is out. Steven Fry also mentions being caned twice a week at his prep school.


Well – it wasn’t common. But there were certainly some in our year who would frequently get the strap on their hands several times a month – sometimes more than once a week for bad behavior, not doing homework, misbehaving at assembly, late for school, etc.


I remember having the slipper for a kit infraction and the following day being caned for missing a detention. Having the cane on a sore backside was no joke!


I was whacked twice in one lesson with a miniature cricket bat at my senior school. The first punishment was for forgetting my P.E. kit and the second for misbehaving during the lesson. It hurt like hell and I remember being grateful that I was fully clothed and not only wearing a pair of thin cotton P.E shorts like some of my classmates who were punished during the lesson with the same implement.


The Background to the item is as follows.

On 11 December 1861, Commander B. G. W. Nicolas, captain of Her Majesty’s Sloop Trident, was brought before court martial at Malta to answer for charges of cruelty in causing unwarrantable and excessive punishment to be inflicted on two boys of the Second Class, and in ordering them to be kept on deck without food from noon until midnight, after having been corporally punished. Within a day, he was sentenced to be discharged with disgrace from Her Majesty’s service, the most senior officer of the Royal Navy to receive that sentence during the 1860s.

The event triggered an attempt by the Admiralty to curb excesses by commanding officers. The problem remains on how to balance the need for obedience during the contingency of war while guarding against unlawful or stupid orders.