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Scold’s Bridal

mid 17th Century

The Scold’s bridal is an instrument of torture and public humiliation used primarily on women.

Made from heavy iron, it attaches tightly around the head. It has a ‘bit’ studded with spikes that is placed inside the mouth and rests on top of the tongue. This causes terrible pain and silences the wearer.

This Scold’s Bridal has an attached leash that would be used to walk the wearer through the town. She would then be humiliated and often beaten by the townsfolk.

‘Scold’ was a word once used to describe a rude woman. A woman who was gossiping, slanderous, drunkenly singing or who disobeyed her husband. Any of these practices could be punished using the Scold’s Bridal.

After its use was outlawed the Scold’s Bridal hung on the wall in Stockport’s market hall as a warning. The last wife sale was said to have been held at the market hall. Women were often sold for a barrel of beer or 5 shillings (25p).