Tarring and Feathering

The first record of this punishment is in 1189 (1 Rich. I.). A statute was made that any robber voyaging with the crusaders “shall be first shaved, then boiling pitch shall be poured upon his head, and a cushion of feathers shook over it.” The wretch was then to be put on shore at the very first place the ship came to. (Rymer Faedera, i 65.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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