E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
To ride the skimmington, or Riding the stang. To be hen-pecked. Grose tells us that the man rode behind the woman, with his face to the horses tail. The man held a distaff, and the woman beat him about
the jowls with a ladle. As the procession passed a house where the woman was paramount, each gave the threshold a sweep. The stang was a pole supported by two stout lads, across which the rider was made to stride. Mr. Douce derives skimmington from the skimming-ladle with which the rider was buffeted.
The custom was not peculiar to Scotland and England; it prevailed in Scandinavia; and Hoefnagel, in his Views in Seville (1591), shows that it existed in Spain also. The procession is described at length in Hudibras, pt. ii. ch. ii.
Hark ye, Dame Ursley Suddlechop, said Jenkin, starting up, his eyes flashing with anger: remember, I am none of your husband, and if I were you would do well not to forget whose threshold was swept when they last rode the skimmington upon such another scolding jade as yourself.Scott: Fortunes of Nigel.