Castle Objects of the Month: Scold’s Bridles

Castle, History

Scold's Bridles (branks)
The Castle Objects of the Month are the Scold’s bridles (also called branks) found in the Council Chamber, at the end of your Castle visit.

Scold’s bridles were popular methods of punishment from the 16th century through to the 19th century. They were designed primarily for outspoken women who were seen as witches, shrews and scolds. They prevented them from speaking. Some bridles had a tongue-plate that could be as gentle as a flat piece of iron that passively discouraged tongue movement, or as painful as a spiked iron bit.

When the branks were placed on the person’s head, they could be led through town to show that they had been committed an offence or scolded too often. This was intended to humiliate them into “repenting” their “riotous” actions.

Find out more interesting information in the Castle archive section.

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