The terrible origin of the term "whipping boy"

Sorry, no, that’s NOT a switch. A Switch is a single bough. That is a bunch of BIRCH sticks. The Birch was used as a punishment way up until the 1960s, in the Isle of Man. The reason it’s birch, and not some other wood, is because Birch is a colony wood. It grows straight and tall on land where previously all that would grow was thorns, nettles and brambles. Because of this it has a connotation of “beginnings” and also of “correcting evil”.Number one in the Bethluis (The Ogham Alphabet). There is no empirical evidence of how well it worked. If you read “Mr Midshipman Easy” the hero is sent, as a child, to a school where the birch is not used. Instead they use the cane. THAT is a switch, if you like.


No need to be sorry. TIL. That’s the beauty of this place.

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