Next, two wooden pillories for restraining men who have been arrested.


The pillory, as depicted in the Coutumes de Toulouse (ca 1295-1297). Bibliothèque nationale de France ms. lat. 9187, fol. 30r. Public domain.

In December of 1394, ten days before the feast of Christmas, two noblemen of Marseille, Johannes Benedicti and Alsiarius Bausani, made their way to the small fortified village or castrum of Allauch. The castrum was located a little over 10 kilometers east and a bit north of Marseille, on the lower slopes of the beautiful limestone hills that ring the great Provençal port and form the basin of Marseille. The two men brought with them a notary, Guillelmus Barbani, who often did legal work for the bishop of Marseille and other members of the clergy. The presence of the notary was essential, because they were on their way to take possession for a year as farmers or rentiers (firmarii et arrendatores) of the castrum of Allauch, and along with it, the fortress which dominated the castrum. The notary's services were required to prepare an inventory of the fortress's contents.

In Allauch, the party was greeted by Raymundus Bodonis, a canon of the cathedral church of La Major, which held seigneurial rights in Allauch. Following custom, Raymundus formally transferred possession of the fortress to the two men by using the key to open and then lock the great gate. The two were given 25 bushels of wheat and other supplies and took possession of the fortress and all its contents. That's when the notary came into his own: having recorded the investiture, he took stock of all the things found in the fortress, beginning, somewhat improbably, with a breviary. Along with the kinds of things that one might ordinarily expect to find in a residence, including cooking utensils, furniture, and bedding, Guillelmus recorded several pieces of armor and numerous weapons, notably crossbows and quarrels.

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The line recording the two pillories (cepi) is slightly set off from the ensuing objects in the inventory.

The most striking objects were two pillories or stocks. Perhaps not used to dealing with such objects, Guillelmus seems to have set them off from the other items on the page by means of extra line spacing and an indentation in the second line. Strangely, the pillories and a good deal of armor were found in a room described as "the bread dispensary." The pillories appeared shortly before a set of objects that would have been equally unfamiliar to a notary more used to dealing with ordinary urban households, namely, four sets of manacles. Together, these items point to the fact that the fortress had more than a military function; it was also the seat of seigneurial justice in Allauch and the surrounding district.