Webpage created: September 29, 2019
Webpage updated: September 29, 2019
In the 17th century Plymouth had a Ducking Stool somewhere on or near the Barbican. It was used for ducking errant females in the water as a punishment for some misdemeanour or other.
An entry in the "Widey Court Book" for the year 1599-1600 records that four pence was paid 'for halliinge the duckinge stoole to ducke the cookes wyeffe and James Coyts wyeffe'. Sadly it does not tell us why this punishment was necessary.
A few years later, in 1606-07, two shillings and sixpence was paid 'for Ducking a woman and for swifting gardell & Cordes to make her fast'. Again the reason for the punishment is not stated but clearly this lady was struggling to get away and had to be tied to the chair.
Clearly the fact that the women had been trying to get out of the chair forced stronger security measures to be introduced which resulted in a 'new Cucking Stool (sic) made and the Cage renewed'.
Exactly when the Ducking Stool was last used and removed is not known.