TV Guide: There Were A Ton of Wicked Witches on TV in 2018, So We Ranked Them (The Origins of The American Criminal Justice System Medieval Torture Kicked Out of Heaven Vol. I)

Branks: The brank or scold’s bridle was unknown in America in its English shape: though from colonial records we learn that scolding women were far too plentiful, and were gagged for that annoying and irritating habit. The brank, sometimes called the gossip’s bridle, or dame’s bridle, or scold’s helm, was truly a “brydle for a curste queane.”  It was a shocking instrument, a sort of iron cage, often of great weight; when worn, covering the entire head; with a spiked plate or flat tongue of iron to be placed in the mouth over the tongue. Hence if the offender spoke she was cruelly hurt. A scold’s bridle, sometimes called a brank’s bridle or simply branks, was an instrument of punishment used primarily on women, as a form of torture and public humiliation. The device was an iron muzzle in an iron framework that enclosed the head. A bridle-bit (or curb-plate), about 2 inches long and 1 inch broad, projected into the mouth and pressed down on top of the tongue.  The curb-plate was frequently studded with spikes, so that if the offender moved her tongue, it inflicted pain and made speaking impossible. Wives who were seen as witches, shrews and scolds, were forced to wear the branks, locked onto their head. Some branks were known to have a mesh covering with a hole in the top so bees or other unpleasant insects or things could be poured in. [138]

Ducking stool: The ducking stool seems to have been placed on the lowest and most contempt-bearing stage among English instruments of punishment. The pillory and stocks, the gibbet, and even the whipping-post, have seen many a noble victim, many a martyr. But I cannot think any save the most ignoble criminals ever sat in a ducking-stool. In all the degrading and cruel indignities offered the many political and religious offenders in England under the varying rules of both church and state, through the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the ducking-stool played no part and secured no victims. It was an engine of punishment specially assigned to scolding women; though sometimes kindred offenders, such as slanderers, “makebayts,” “chyderers,” brawlers, railers, and women of light carriage also suffered through it. Though gruff old Sam Johnson said to a gentle Quaker lady: “Madam, we have different modes of restraining evil—stocks for men, a ducking-stool for women, and a pound for beasts;” yet men as well as women-scolds were punished by being set in the ducking-stool, and quarrelsome married couples were ducked, tied back-to-back. The last person set in the Rugby ducking- stool was a brutal husband who had beaten his wife. Brewers of bad beer and bakers of bad bread were deemed of sufficiently degraded ethical standing to be ducked. Unruly paupers also were thus subdued.

That intelligent French traveler, Misson, who visited England about the year 1700, and who left in his story of his travels so much valuable and interesting information of the England of that day, gives this lucid description of a ducking-stool: “The way of punishing scolding women is pleasant enough. They fasten an armchair to the end of two beams twelve or fifteen feet long, and parallel to each other, so that these two pieces of wood with their two ends embrace the chair, which hangs between them by a sort of axle, by which means it plays freely, and always remains in the natural horizontal position in which a chair should be, that a person may sit conveniently in it, whether you raise it or let it down. They set up a post on the bank of a pond or river, and over this post they lay, almost in equilibrio, the two pieces of wood, at one end of which the chair hangs just over the water. They place the woman in this chair and so plunge her into the water as often as the sentence directs, in order to cool her immoderate heat.”  The adjectives pleasant and convenient as applied to a ducking-stool would scarcely have entered the mind of any one but a Frenchman. Still the chair itself was sometimes rudely ornamented. The Cambridge stool was carved with devils laying hold of scolds. Others were painted with appropriate devices such as a man and woman scolding. In the Statute Books of Virginia from Dale’s time onward many laws may be found designed to silence idle tongues by ducking. One reads:

“Whereas oftentimes many brabling women often slander and scandalize their neighbours, for which their poore husbands are often brought into chargeable and vexatious suits and cast in great damages, be it enacted that all women found guilty be sentenced to ducking.”

Others dated 1662 are most explicit.

The Origins of

The American Criminal Justice System

Medieval Torture

Kicked Out of Heaven Vol. I

Kicked Out Of Heaven Vol. I: The Untold History of The White Races; cir. 700-1700 a.d. is a 3 volume series that details everything about European society and mentality. In this edition you will find these facts: 100 pound hail stones, Sex in The Streets, Cuckolds in Poems Molly Houses, The Orders of Beggars, Torture, Medicinal Cannibalism, Food: Black Puddings & Eel Pie, Bathed Once a Year, Bloodthirsty Knights, Government Sanctioned Prostitution, Infants fed wine, Cross Dressing Men, Gang Raping Teenagers, Incest Marriages, Insane Kings & Queens, The Bastard Children, Condoms, Dildos, & Birth Control & A Long List of Infanticide. There’s Many Many More Odd Facts Inside!



TV Guide: There Were A Ton of Wicked Witches on TV in 2018, So We Ranked Them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *