Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Skim’mington.

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. 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 horse’s 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.   1
   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.   2
        “‘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.



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