There were no laws or rules to protect the treatment of prisoners who faced torture, such as the Brank ( aka the Scold's Bridle) by restrictive. Torture was seen as a totally legitimate means for justice to extract confessions, obtain the names of accomplices, obtain testimonies or confessions.
Crimes which warranted the use of / Method of inflicting the Brank
Different types of torture were used depending on the victim's crime and social status. There were also different tortures used for men and women. The Brank was also known as the Scold's Bridle and it was specifically used as a torture for women to inflict humiliation and discomfort as opposed to pain. A scold was a term given to a gossip, shrew or bad tempered woman during the Middle Ages. A scold was defined as: "A troublesome and angry woman who by brawling and wrangling amongst her neighbours breaks the public peace, increases discord and becomes a public nuisance to the neighbourhood." The device was a locking iron muzzle, metal mask or cage which encased the head. There was an iron curb projecting into the mouth which rested on the top of the tongue. This device prevented the shrew from speaking. In some instances the iron curb was studded with spikes which inflicted pain if the victim spoke. Some branks had a bell built in which drew attention to the scold as she walked through the streets. The woman would be humiliated by the jeering and comments from other people.