An extraordinary revelation of a piece of Victorian social history. A bizarre Ran Tan ritual was performed in Skegness to express indignation when a fellow resident of the village was declared a ‘wife beater’. The Skegness Herald conjures up a vivid picture of the Victorian custom in this excellently written article.
On Monday evening last an unusual occurrence took place in the vicinity of the Sea View Lane end.
In consequence of one of the residents of that locality beating his wife, it was resolved that a ‘ran tan’ should take place.
At about eight o’clock men, boys and even women, to the number of about 100 assembled.
Old buckets, tins, trays, kettles, pots and pans, and everything conceivable article that would produce a sound, was brought into requisition.
The whole of the party then marched in procession to the immediate neighbourhood of the unhappy “wife-beater’s” residence, singing as they proceeded “Wait till the clouds roll by, Jemmie” and an incessant “din” was set forth.
This was indulged in for some length of time, and after the noise had somewhat subsided, the leader stepped forward and delivered a short address, in which he cautioned the culprit not to again commit the offence.
Three hearty cheers followed, and volleys representing an incessant roll of musketry, were fired on the pots, pans, etc., and the crowd shortly afterwards dispersed.
The proceedings were carried on with unflagging spirit the following two nights.
On Tuesday evening an effigy of the transgressor was carried about shoulder high, and on the Wednesday evening the man himself was brought out and marched through the streets accompanied by his effigy and about two hundred followers, and the effigy was afterwards committed to the flames of an immense fire in a field close by.
Source: Skegness Herald 27th February 1885