England’s Grievance Discovered Part Five: Scold’s Bridle

Ralph Gardiner 1655. This one is quite familiar, I’ve see it in several publications before, but nonetheless the costume details are excellent and in many ways akin to the Cryes of London. Here’s the text:

“Iohn Wilis of Ipswich upon his Oath said, that he this Deponent was in Newcastle six months ago, and there he saw one Ann Biulestone drove through the streets by an Officer of the same Corporation, holding a rope in his hand, the other end fastned to an Engine called the Branks, which is like a Crown, it being of Iron, which was musled over the head and face, with a great gap or tongue of Iron forced into her mouth, which forced the blood out. And that is the punishment which the Magistrates do inflict upon chiding, and scoulding women, and that he hath often seen the like done to others.”

So here is Ann with the Officer of the Corporation. The officer has a hat, coat breeches and shoes whilst the poor woman strapped into the branks is wearing a bodice and petticoat with an apron and kerchief tucked in, and just a glimpse of shoes at the bottom.

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