During the Tudor period, the back-ends of carts often doubled as places of punishment for minor criminals and delinquents. Though the exact origins are unclear, to be dealt with at the rear of a cart marked one’s fall from civilised society. Scores of prostitutes and adulterers were ordered to be “tied to a cart’s arse” and either whipped there or paraded around town for public humiliation.
In 1555, a London man named Manwarynge was “carted to Aldgate with two whores from The Harry, for bawdry and whoredom”. In 1560 “the woman who kept the Bell in Gracechurch” was carted for pimping. Sir Thomas Sothwood, an Anglican priest, was carted for “selling his wife”.
In North Carolina Mary Sylvia was found guilty of blasphemy and “carted about town with labels on her back and breast, expressing her crime”. Some were also punished for slanders involving carts. Sir Thomas Wyatt was thrown into prison in 1541 for telling others that Henry VIII should be “thrown out of a cart’s arse”.
Another brief but interesting mention of ‘carting’ comes from King’s Lynn, Norfolk, where in 1587:
“John Wanker’s wife and the Widow Porker were both carted for whoredom…”