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Bench yoke

In the Victorian workhouse if you stole from the person running it, you may end up in what is known as the "bench yoke". It was a chain with one end looped around the neck and on top of a leather neck belt (both wrapped tight around the neck) secured with a small padlock that ran through the buckle of the leather neck belt and the chain preventing the prisoner from loosening or removing either one.

The other end of the chain would then be secured by another padlock to the big heavy workbench which is bolted to the floor. The person being punished would sit there chained like a dog on a short lead until the workhouse headmaster decided when that person's punishment was over. One unfortunate lad was chained up this way for stealing a steak off of the headmaster's table. He was then told and I quote "you will sleep in your chains."
anonymous Other June 13, 2024 at 2:53 am 0
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