In the medieval ages women who were nags and scolds were punished by means of the ducking stool. The unfortunate culprit was made to sit in the levered chair and paraded through the streets, before a ritual dunking in the river. It was an exercise in public humiliation but considered a more lenient option than the stocks or whipping post.
One of the few ducking stools still remaining is in the 13th century Priory Church in Leominster. The congregation has now decided to dust it off and bring it out into the open, but not before they have conducted a special service of reconciliation.
Jane Gething-Lewis was taken on a guided tour by the historian Eric Turton, to find out whether the ducking stool was a crude instrument of misogynist torture or a just desert for a public nuisance.