April 7, 2016

2442 UNITED KINGDOM (Bermuda) - A ducking stool in St. George's

Cucking and ducking stools were chairs used for punishment of disorderly women,  scolds, and dishonest tradesmen in England, Scotland, and in the English colonies of North America. They were instruments of public humiliation and censure primarily for the offense of scolding and less often for sexual offenses like bearing an illegitimate child or prostitution. The cucking stool was usualy a commode or toilet, placed in public view, upon which the targeted person was forced to sit, and often while being paraded through the town.

The consequences of the ducking stool were far more severe. The device consisted of a wooden or iron armchair onto which the culprit was strapped, which was attached to a long wooden beam, usually located alongside a pond, a river, or seafront and was lowered into the water. Repeated duckings routinely proved fatal, the victim dying of shock or drowning. The cucking-stool is older, with written records dating back to the 13th century, the use of a ducking stool being records towards the beginning of the 17th century. The last recorded case was in 1817.

In Bermuda, is even in nowadays a replica of a ducking stool, on King's Square in St. George's, at the waterfront, which is used to reenact the colonial history by ducking a woman into the water who plays the role of a nagging wench. This strange and funny demonstration is overseen by the Town Crier in his 17th-century colonial costume and attended by many tourists. It is staged at 12:30pm on Monday to Thursday and Saturday during May to October, and on Wednesday & Saturday at noon time in the other months.

About the stamps
The first stamp is part of the series Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Prince Philip - Lifetime of Service, about which I wrote here. The second stamp is part of the series Piloting - Pioneers of Progress, about which I wrote here.

Cucking stool - Wikipedia
Kings Square Bermuda - Burmuda Attractions

Sender: Denise 
Sent from Southampton (Bermuda), on 25.04.2014

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