To Have and to Hold

The brank consisted of a kind of crown or framework of iron, which was locked upon the head of the delinquent. It was armed in front with a gag, plate, point or knife of the same metal, which was fitted in such a manner as to be inserted in the scold’s mouth so as to prevent her moving her tongue; or, more cruel still, it was so placed that if she did move it, or attempt to speak, her tongue was cruelly lacerated, and her sufferings intensified. With this cage upon her head, and with the gag pressed and locked upon the tongue, the poor creature was paraded through the streets, led by the beadle or constable, or else she was chained to the pillory or market cross to be the object of scorn and derision, and to be subjected to all the insults and degradations that local loungers could invent.

“Muzzles for Ladies,” Strand, November 1894