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Museum history talk sheds light on the Scold’s Bridle

Date Published : 11 May 2009

Scolds bridle

A fascinating public talk on Wednesday 13 May 2009 will explore the history on Walsall Museum’s unpleasant instrument of punishment, the Scold’s Bridle.

Historian Dr Richard Totty, who has carried out extensive research into the use of scold’s bridles across the country, will be popping into the Museum to deliver the talk.

The scold’s bridle was a form of punishment used for women who had been found guilty of being gossips or nagging wives, as well as women who had committed other petty offences.  It was used in England and Scotland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and consisted of an iron framework to enclose the head, with a sharp metal gag or bit to go in the mouth and restrain the tongue. In Scotland and the North of England, the scold’s bridle was generally known as the ‘branks’.  

Two bridles were purchased for use by the Walsall town authorities during the seventeenth century.  However it is not clear what later happened to either of them.  

The bridle on display today in Walsall Museum was actually acquired by the Museum in the 1960s from a local historian who said he had found it on a scrap heap in Brownhills!

The talk will take place from 2-3 pm and is free of charge, but places are limited so seats must be reserved in advance.

Contact us

For further information or to book your places for the talk, please contact Walsall Museum

Telephone 01922 653116

Email museum@walsall.gov.uk

Or pop into the Museum in person.