- ObjectNumber: WASMG : 1976.0680
- Object Name: Scold's bridle
- Number of Objects: 1
- Production Period:
- Summary: A branks, or scold's bridle.
- Description: The scold's bridle is of open crown form, with hinged sections and attached chain and ring. The "branks", more commonly called a "scold's bridle" or "gossip's bridle" was a form of punishment for gossips or nagging wives, and also for women found guilty of petty offences, foul language, street brawling, etc. They were used in England and Scotland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The branks consists of an iron framework to enclose the head, and a sharp metal gag or bit, which entered the mouth and restrained the tongue. Dr. Plot, the natural historian of Staffordshire writing in 1686, described the punishment thus: the instrument "being put on the offender by order of the Magistrate, and fastened by a padlock behind, she is led round the town by an officer, to her shame, nor is it taken off till after the party begins to show all external signs imaginable of humiliation and amendment". We have records to show that Walsall town authorities purchased a scold's bridle in 1617, and another one in 1654. This example was found by Billy Meikle on a scrap heap in Brownhills.
- Terms:Penal sanctions
- Material: Iron
- Dimensions: Height: 21cm
- Contact: Walsall Museums, Walsall Museum