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A two-tailed tawse used on a male bottom.
Woman strapped using a two-tailed tawse.

A tawsing is a spanking with a tawse. Tawsing was most often used in Scotland and to some extent in England, particularly in school corporal punishment, and to some extent in domestic spankings and in judicial corporal punishment.

Tawsing is done primarily on the delinquent's hands (usually the palms) or buttocks, either clothed or bare.


Scottish public (state) schools used the tawse to punish pupils of either sex on the palm of the outstretched hand. Pupils were usually instructed to hold out one hand, palm uppermost, supported by the other hand below, which made it difficult to move the hand away during the infliction of the strokes. It also ensured that the full force of each stroke was taken by the hand being strapped. The punishment was usually inflicted by the class teacher in front of the class, to act as a deterrent to others; sometimes by a designated teacher, such as the Deputy Headmaster, to whom the pupil was sent.

In Walsall and Gateshead, and in some schools in Manchester, male students were tawsed on the seat of the trousers.

The tawse was also used for judicial corporal punishment in Scotland as an alternative to the more usual birch. Courts could sentence boys of over 14 but under 16 to up to 36 strokes with an extra-heavy tawse for any offence. This was administered to the offender's bare buttocks. Judicial corporal punishment was abolished in 1948.

Lochgelly tartan[edit]

Being made to sit on a Lochgelly tartan is a phrase used to denote severe application of the tawse. An extra heavy tawse is applied with force with punisher alternating sides. The criss-crossing welts would be outlined in red and purple welts. This pattern created what was called the Lochgelly tartan, hence after you would be sitting on a Lochgelly tartan.



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