Skip to product information
1 of 12

Holt Antiques at Walsingham Mill

Museum Piece - An Exceptionally Rare 16th Century Scold's Bridle or Brank's Bridle

Museum Piece - An Exceptionally Rare 16th Century Scold's Bridle or Brank's Bridle

Regular price £7,450.00 GBP
Regular price £7,450.00 GBP Sale price £7,450.00 GBP
Sale Sold
Tax included. Shipping calculated at checkout.
Trustwave Trusted Commerce

A rare 16th Century antique "Scold's Bridle" or "Brank's Bridle".  Presented on an associated stand of later date.

Originating from Belgium. Sourced from a private collection.

Bridles like this are incredibly difficult to find. A similar example is held in the collection of the "Wellcome Collection".

A scold's bridle, sometimes called a witch's bridle, a gossip's bridle, a brank's bridle, or simply branks, was an instrument of punishment, as a form of public humiliation. It was an iron muzzle in an iron framework that enclosed the head. It would also have had a sharp metal gag that pointed into the mouth to restrain the tongue, like the bit on a horse’s bridle.

The word ‘scold’ was used as a legal term for women – and, much more rarely, men – who disturbed their neighbours’ peace with loud quarrelling, gossiping, slanderous speech or brawling.

It was illegal to use bridles to punish those charged as scolds. Nevertheless, these devices were employed in Scotland and England by local magistrates, around the 16th and 17th centuries. The practise spread to other parts of Northern Europe, including what is now Belgium.

The scold’s bridle was part of a wider culture of fear and punishment of witches, prostitutes, ‘shrews’ and other unconventional women, who refused to play the part of quiet, submissive wives.

Condition - overall good.  Some wear commensurate with age as per the images. A further detailed condition report is available upon request.


We ship worldwide! You can buy with 100% confidence too!

We are a member of the following 3 Professional Institutions:

1. LAPADA (London and Provincial Antique Dealers Association) –  LAPADA is the UK’s largest trade association for professional art & antique dealers (representing approximately 500 UK dealer members). All items are backed by our LAPADA guarantee;

2. CINOA –Confédération Internationale des Négociants en Oeuvres d'Art, (or International Confederation of Art and Antique Dealers' Associations) is the world association of art & antique dealer associations (representing 5000 dealers from 32 associations in 22 countries); and

3. The Norfolk & Suffolk Antique Dealers Association - Representing reputable, high quality antiques dealers based in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Wish to purchase this item?

1. Buy online via this website; OR

2. Tel: 00 44 7551 383897 (line open 9.30 am to 5.30 pm Monday to Saturday UK time) where we can take payment over the phone.

Want further information about an item?

1. Email us via this website; OR

2. Email us via: 

We will aim to respond and make contact with you within 24 hours of receipt of your enquiry.

View full details