QUEBEC-RESEARCH-L ArchivesArchiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2005-06 > 1117916522
Subject: History Facts
Date: Sat, 4 Jun 2005 16:22:02 EDT
"One of the scourges of medieval life, if not of later centuries, was the
scold, or nagging wife, and so the judiciary, with its usual robust approach to
social problems, came up with the solution, gag them. And that's how the
Scold's Bridle, or the Branks, as they were also known, came into being.
There were several different designs, but basically the bridle consisted of
an iron framework in the form of a helmet shaped cage which fitted tightly
over the head, with eye holes and an aperture for the mouth. At the front,
protruding inwards, was a small flat plate which was inserted into the woman's
mouth, and then the bridle was locked about the neck.
Some models were quite painless to wear. Others had large tongue plates
studded with sharp pins or a rowel, a small spiked wheel, to hold the tongue
down. These could cause appalling lacerations if the victim attempted to speak."