[From Train's History, 1845]
NOTE I.PAGE 113.
Among the changes that have taken place in this age of refinenfent may be men-tioned the entire extinction of several punishments which were inflicted for minor offences in Great Britain as well as in the Isle of Man, even in the early part of last century. Both the instrument called the Branks and the Ducking stool, which were used for the punishment of scolding women, have now become obsolete.
The Branks was a sugar loaf shaped cap made of iron hooping, with a cross at the top, and a flat piece projecting inwards to keep down the tongue. When a woman was convicted of scolding, this cap was placed on her head, and fastened by a padlock behind, and a string annexed by which she was led by the hangman through the town.Brands History of Newcastle; Mac Taggarts Gallovidian Encyclopædia. In Scotland the Branks were used for more offensive purposes. In the church of St. Mary, at St. Andrews, is kept one of the implements, called " The Bishops Branks," which were worn by the martyr George Wishart, when he was burnt at the stake in that city. A model of these branks, which I got made in 1821, may be seen in the museum at Abbotsford.
The Lord Chief Baron Comyns, in his Digest of the Laws, says, " the timbrel is an instrument for punishing women that scold or are unquiet, now called a ducking stool." In another work it is thus described :" A post was set up in a pond, with a transverse beam turning on a swivel, and a chair at the end in which the culprit was placed, and let into the water as often as the virulence of the case required." Brerys Survey, vol. i, p. 343. These punishments, as well as standing in the whip-ping stocks" for slander, and riding on the wooden horse for theft or for other offences, were resorted to in the Isle of Man even since the revestment, but the infliction of these modes of punishment have now become obsolete. My friend, Dr. Underwood, of Castletown, in answer to a letter on the subject, says " there are now no remains of the wooden horse or stang, as it is called in the Manks dialect, and luckily, I think, for the husbands of the present day." This punishment was often inflicted upon military men, for dereliction of duty. The wooden horse was made of planks nailed together so as to form a sharp ridge or angle about eight or nine feet long. This ridge representing the back of the horse, which was supported by four posts or legs, about six or seven feet high, placed on a stand, made moveable by truckles : to complete the resemblance, a head and tail were added. When a soldier was sentenced, either by a commanding officer or a court-martial, to ride the horse, he was placed on the back, with his hands tied behind, and frequently, to increase the punishment, had muskets tied to his legs to prevent, as was jocularly said, the horse from kicking him off.Groses Military Antiquities, p. 106. This punishment is alluded to by Sir Walter Scott, in the fourth chapter of Old Mortality, where Halliday says " well have him to the guard house, and teach him to ride the colt, foaled of an acorn, with a brace of carabines at each foot to keep him steady."
The whipping stocks were likewise used in the Isle of Man for the suppression of intemperance. At a Tynwald court, held on the 24th June, 1610, it was proclaimed " that as oft as any man or woman shall be found drunk hereafter, the party so offending, if not of ability to pay a fine, shall for the first time be punished in the stocks, the second time to be tyed to the whipping stocks, and the third time to be whipped therein,"Lex Scripta, p. 92.
NOTE II.PAGE 126.
Well away to the woods, says Robin the Bobbin,
Well away to the woods, says Richard the Robbin,
Well away to the woods, says Jackey the Land,
Well away to the woods, says every one.
What will we do there, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.*
Well hunt the wren, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
Where is he, where is be, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
In yonder green bush, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
How can we get him down, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
With sticks and stones, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
Hes down, hes down, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
How can we get him home, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
Well hire a cart, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
Whose cart shall we hire, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
Johnny Bill Fells, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
How can we get him in, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
With iron bars, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
Hes at home, hes at home, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
How will we get him boiled, says Robin the Bobbin, &c,
In the brewery pan, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
How will we get him eaten, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
With knives and forks, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
Whos to dine at the feast, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
The king and the queen, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
The pluck for the poor, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
The legs for the lame, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
The bones for the dogs, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
Hes eaten, hes eaten, says Robin the Bobbin,
Hes eaten, hes eaten, says Richard the Robbin,
Hes eaten, hes eaten, says Jackey the Land,
Hes eaten, hes eaten, says every one.
MS. Account of Manks Custom,.
* Each line is repeated four times, in the same manner as the first and last are.