Saturday, 21 July 2018

Scold’s Bridle

Whilst looking around for possible miniatures for a crime and punishment month, I happened across 'Colonel Bill's Wargames Depot'. The Colonel produces a range of unusual pieces that add a little colour to the tabletop. In one particular range of non-playing 17th Century Villagers,  I spotted a truly unique miniature, a woman wearing a Scold’s Bridle. Deciding that this was something that I couldn’t live without, a pack was ordered and with outstanding service, duly arrived in good time.
I had not painted a Col. Bill’s miniature before and would suggest the scale and sculpting are a good match for ‘Redoubt Miniatures’. They share a similar, comforting style, which I often find more forgiving when it comes to painting. Although not troubled with super fine detail, the woman is clearly seen wearing the bridle and yet still holds a stoutly, resolute pose. This intrigued me and so I delved a little deeper into the contraptions history. If I am honest with myself, I hadn’t realised that a Scold was, according to a medieval definition, a woman with a vicious tongue. Someone likely to cause insurrection or argue against the church; not quite the nagging housewife that I had been led to believe then. As with all these barbaric devices there are a variety of styles or modifications, but essentially it was an iron framework that was worn around the head, with a protruding bit that silenced the wearer. A form of torture and public humiliation the scold’s bridle, sometime referred to as the witch’s bridle or brakes, was certainly not to be considered an easy punishment.
Jenny Paull, writing about Lancaster Castle’s bridle, makes it very clear how any wearer would suffer excruciating pain, 

“The bridled woman was really an outspoken woman and it took a brave one to incur the punishment for being so. This made the bridle a very effective means of social control. Her fate was to be dragged through the streets in the bridle as it shook about on her head; often with her jaw broken, spitting out teeth, blood and vomit and receiving all forms of abuse.”

To accompany my poor unfortunate scold, I took the opportunity to paint another miniature from the same set, this time a puritan preaching from the good book. I have chosen to have mine match my earlier interpretation and swell the ranks of the Witchfinders.

55 comments:

  1. Ouch! I'm currently reading the "Amigo Comics" mini-series "Planet Of Daemons", Michael, which follows the escapades of a puritan magistrate and his witchfinding. This looks exactly like the sort of punishment he'd dish out!! Great minis and painting :-)

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    1. Now that sounds right up my street Simon, where might one go to pick up a copy?

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  2. Col Bill does make some crackin extras for our entertainment. I seem to have missed this figure. I'll go take a look at his website. Cheers Sir M!

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    1. These are my first go at a Col. Bill and I can't say that I was disappointed. I will certainly have to pick up a couple more at some point.

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  3. Great looking miniatures Michael, the painting adds life to the mini's

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  4. Not spotted that one either, thats a must for me to.
    Cheers
    Stu

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    1. In will the rest of the villages pack, so plenty more for me to be getting on with. :)

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  5. That’s a suitably grim post and miniature. Excellent work though.

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    1. Certainly veering to the darker side of the path.

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  6. Why don't they still use these today! I can think of a few ladies who could benefit from the fitment of one of these (Katie Price, springs to mind!).

    Great work Michael.

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    1. Not sure I am brave enough to champion their return.

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  7. Dark but stunning, even after being informed what this was I had to look. Excellent stuff thank you.

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    1. I was shocked to read how brutal they were when worn I had naively thought that their main purpose was humiliation.

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  8. Excellent. Although all of the women I know would stab you in your sleep if you even suggested that

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    1. That would certainly tally with the opinions of must of the women I know too.

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  9. A cracking miniature sir, what an evil piece of torture equipment that was and thank you for the mini (ahem..) history lesson

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    1. More thank happy to oblige, it was fascinating reading about it so I just had to share. :)

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  10. Wow! Never heard of that device - amazing rendition of dark history.

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    1. There seems to be no end to man's ingenuity to inflict pain on his fellow human being.

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  11. Lovely figures, horrible device.

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  12. I wonder what was the measurement for a woman to be "really outspoken"? Seems a bit of a heavy punishment for speaking, no matter how much. Bridle and bride. Etymologically different but that the "modern" english has the words so Close.

    So Ends thought for the day :-)

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    1. How very philosophical of you Paul. ;)

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  13. A suitable subject for your series I never realised how nasty a contraption it was, broken jaw!! Broken teeth - eek, I thought it was just to keep her quiet.

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    1. I have to confess that like you, I was surprised how ghastly this contraption could be.

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  14. Excellent work as always Michael!

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  15. Lovely work on some suitably creepy looking miniatures

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  16. Ouch! That sounds really painful! Great painting on a dark delve into history.

    Christopher

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    1. Thank you Christopher, certainly something to be avoided if possible.

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  17. Unusual figure that looks great. Interesting back story as well and it does sound a horrible fate.

    Cheers, Ross

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    1. Not good news at all if you found yourself wearing one of these.

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  18. Definitely nothing for the faint hearted! Well done on both these figures.

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  19. Brilliant addition to the collection Michael - I have the mini myself, but never thought to suggest including it.

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    1. Thank you, looking at it in the photographs, I think I may have misinterpreted her bonnet as hair, but not to worry.

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  20. That's definitely a terrifying device! Great brushwork :)

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    1. Thank you so much Ivor. Do you have a blog?

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  21. Replies
    1. She certainly could do with a break.

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  22. I hadn't heard about this particular torture device before, it looks very nasty and uncomfortable.

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    1. Certainly to be avoided if at all possible.

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  23. I know you are doing a really good job with these figures as they are making me feel uncomfortable!

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    1. I do apologise Clint, just one more to go for this set, I promise.

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  24. One of rhe best things about our hobby is coming across these unusual miniatures and then seeing them painted up by you, Michael. A fantastic job on a very different subject and an ideal character to appear in your Witchfinder games.

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    1. Thank you so much Jez, she probably won't have a staring role in the upcoming game, but will certainly be an 'extra'.

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  25. I think this is an excellent set of figures and all should fit in well with your witch-hunters.

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    1. Thank you Joe, hoping to get them on the table at the start of next month.

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  26. WOW & to think I just watched a movie where one of those devices was used...Brimstone is the movie. Who would have thought someone would have made a miniature with one. Nice find Michael!

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    1. Sounds like a one to watch, thank you Terry.

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  27. Subject matter is disturbing but paint job-wise it's excellent!

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