Bring back the stocks in Louth!

The stocks in Alford market place - could some be installed in Louth too?
The stocks in Alford market place - could some be installed in Louth too?

Louth Town Council is set to consider a request from an unnamed resident for stocks to be installed in the town’s Market Place - based on a 15th century law deeming that all towns should have a set.

The suggestion follows a recent case in the market town of Thame, Oxfordshire, last month, where a town councillor discovered The Statute of Labours Act of 1405 - which has never been abolished - which requires every town to have a set.

At the council’s meeting last Tuesday (July 12), Coun Jill Makinson-Sanders and Coun Dan Turner said that stocks in the town could be a ‘good talking point’ and that it should be considered properly at a future meeting.

Coun Turner added that Alford has a set of stocks, and said it would be a ‘great idea’ to have them in Louth too.

Coun Margaret Ottaway said she could think of one or two people who she would like to see in the stocks – although she tactfully declined to name names.

Coun Sue Crew suggested that perhaps the Mayor of Louth could be the first person to be placed in the stocks to officially unveil them 
to the town.

The Mayor, Coun Eileen Ballard, responded by joking that perhaps the decision ought to be held off until this time next year - when a new Mayor would be in place.

Meanwhile, Coun David Hall said that the 15th century law probably does not need to be applied to Louth - as it is a 17th century town, and would not have existed at the time the law was introduced.

Coun Andrew Leonard voiced concerns over the idea, saying that the idea was a ‘folly’ and that he just didn’t see the point in them.

He said: “We don’t have control over the market square, so where do you put them? In these difficult times it’s the last thing that we, or anybody else, should be spending money on.”

He also joked that the device is not something that one can simply buy them off a shelf, as it is ‘not a stock item’.

Coun Makinson-Sanders replied that the Louth Men’s Shed might be able to build stocks for the town – free of charge – if they were provided with the materials.

The Mayor told councillors that the item warrants a longer discussion, and asked councillors to think about where the stocks could go and what permissions need to be sought, and bring these ideas to the next council meeting.

• The Town Council is also keen to hear the views of local residents, including suggestions for where the stocks could be placed. Call the Town Clerk on 01507 355895 with your suggestions.