The Cucking (Dunking) Stool
The cucking-stool or Stool of Repentance, is of very ancient date, and was used by the Saxons, who called it the scealding or scolding stool. It is mentioned in Domesday Book as in use at Chester, being called cathedra stercoris.
The term cucking-stool is known to have been in use from about 1215. It means literally "defecation chair", as its name is derived from the old verb cukken which means "to defecate", rather than, as popularly believed, from the word cuckold. Commodes or chamber pots were often used as cucking-stools, hence the name.
The cucking-stool could be used for both sexes - indeed, unruly married couples were occasionally bound back-to-back and ducked (dunked). The device was most commonly used for the punishment of dishonest brewers and bakers. Its use in the case of scolding women declined on the introduction in the middle of the 16th century of the Scold's Bridle, although the cucking-stool appears to have still been in use as late as the mid-18th century, with Poor Robin's Almanack of 1746 observing:
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
- Now, if one cucking-stool was for each scold,
- Some towns, I fear, would not their numbers hold.