A Monitor's View - An 'Old Grange' from the Inside

The Captain of the School had complete responsibility for the conduct of an Old Grange Caning. He would be one of the few School Monitors to be in his second year as a Monitor and would, therefore, have had considerable experience of the procedure as conducted by the previous Captain. Although, in Public schools, tradition stands strong Captains may feel the need to make small changes in any of the formalities for which they are responsible and the description below is of a caning in the Old Grange during my term of office as a School Monitor.

It was the Captain's job, aided by one or two other experienced Monitors, to initiate new Monitors into the various Monitorial duties including how to cane a boy. I remember my Captain exclaiming "It's not just a matter of hitting him with a stick you know!" There is a lot to learn about the administration of an effectual caning.

The School Monitors assembled each morning, immediately after Prayers, for a short meeting presided over by the Captain. If there were to be beatings on that day, they would be announced at that meeting, a time arranged and all the Monitors strongly urged to be present. The usual times for canings were either during Morning Break, or immediately after lunch. The latter being favoured as it allowed more time for the preliminary formalities to be undertaken and gave the candidate (as a boy due for caning was referred to) a longer period of anxiety during which to consider his misdemeanours; most would eat a very small lunch!

Although most Monitors were happy to come to beatings, inevitably there were usually one or two who did not favour corporal punishment and who might not attend. It was also customary for a Monitor to leave the Old Grange while his brother or his Fag was being caned. Usually they would wait a few yards down the corridor to avoid conversation with the waiting queue, and re-enter the study when their candidate emerged. Monitors were not allowed to beat their own personal Fags in the Old Grange but coud do so privately in their own study.

It was the job of the Junior Monitor to convert the Monitors' Study into the 'Old Grange'. This involved clearing the centre area of the study, tidying the desks, arranging the two chairs over which the candidates would bend, and providing, and oiling if necessary, a cane. The Junior Monitor would also have to carry out any small tasks required during the beatings such as folding-back the boys jacket, adjusting his position or checking him for padding.

Captain, in my time, regarded caning as an important and serious matter to be undertaken formally, firmly and in the proper manner. Joking and chatting by the Monitors between candidates, and even talking, was frowned upon until the last candidate had left the room. By five minutes before the appointed hour, all the Monitors would have assembled in the Old Grange, have donned their Purple Gowns and studied the list of candidates and their offences. The Monitor who would deliver the strokes, usually he who had caught the offender, would take up his position towards the centre of the study, the School Captain behind him, and the other Monitors ranged along one wall, perhaps two deep.

There would be an air of hushed excitement by this time; most Monitors thoroughly enjoyed these occasions. At the hour, the Captain would ask the Junior Monitor to invite the first boy in the queue to enter and to close the door behind him before he returned to his place closest to the chairs. The caning monitor would, in the prescribed words, challenge the candidate: "Jones, I propose to beat you for running down the corridor. Have you anything to say ?" and then, dismissing anything said, point with the cane and add, "Kneel on the chair, lean over the back and grasp the bottom rungs."

As soon as he was in position, the Junior Monitor would be asked to adjust his jacket, by folding it back well clear of his buttocks, and the caner would deliver the first stroke with a short run-up. Often a trace of dust would rise from the boy's trousers and a clear mark on the trousers would show where the stroke had fallen. Beginners sometimes applied a small quantity of chalk to the cane to help their aim! The preferred target area was the lower quadrant.

The boy might flinch slightly at the first strokes but usually remained silent until the third or fourth had landed when he would be unable to avoid exclamations and some heaving of this bottom moments after each stroke. If a boy remained quite silent, it would be suspected that he had padding and an inspection, by the Junior Monitor would be ordered. With experience, however, it was easy to tell, by the sound of the impact, if excessive clothing was being worn. As a junior boy, I received two extra strokes when the wrong sound indicated that the long jersey that I was wearing was tucked down around my bottom!

After the last stroke, the caner would say simply "You may go now". Whereupon the boy would rise, walk to the caner and say the two words "Thank you". Any other comment, even an added "very much", would receive immediate admonishment and, if considered cheeky, further strokes. It was, however, admissible to add the monitors name in the form "Thank you Simpson".

That monitors enjoyed and were excited by canings was obvious and often admitted. This was particularly true if several boys were in the queue and comparisons could be made between reactions of the candidates. Gowns would be clasped around trouser-fronts and hands often inserted into pockets to control or hide bulging erections. There sees no harm in the fact that some monitors would sometimes have to resort to a little masturbation when beating sessions were over. There is no doubt that the production of large amounts of endorphins in the candidates had a similar effect on them, particularly while examining their stripes!

A.H.L