E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Tarring and Feathering.
The first record of this punishment is in 1189 (1 Rich. I.). A statute was made that any robber voyaging with the crusaders shall be first shaved, then boiling pitch shall be poured upon his head, and a cushion of feathers shook over it. The wretch was then to be put on short at the very first place the ship came to. (Rymer Fdera, i. 65.)