picture-stories

On Ducking Stools

In ducking stools on July 2, 2011 at 8:55 am

“. . . a kind of armed wooden chair, fixed on the extremity of a pole about fifteen feet long. The pole is horizontally placed on a post just by the water, and loosely pegg’d to that post, so that by raising it at one end, you lower the stool down into the midst of the rivulet. That stool serves at present to duck scolds and termagants; but it is said that the superstitious inhabitants of Honiton [Devon] used formerly to place on it those old women whom they thought to be witches, and duck’d them unmercifully several times; sometimes to death.” — from On Obsolete Punishments by Mr. T. N. Brushfield in Journal of the Architectural, Archaeological, and Historic Society for the County, City, and Neighborhood of Chester, Vol. II, December 1855 – 1862

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