[Scottish National Memorials Contents]
The Exhibits Nos. 1020-1025, consisting of manacles, fetters, and chains, from the old prison of Dundee, are extremely interesting, and excellent of their kind. They have seemingly been all made at one time. They are very massive and of admirable workmanship.
FETTERS of Condemned Felons. These consist of heavy iron rings 3 ¼ inches in diameter. They are hinged so as to open to admit the leg, and the parts of the ring which work on each other can be secured by rivets or a padlock. The fetters are attached to a central ring, one by a chain of four links, and the other by three links and a swivel link. The centre ring was intended to slide on an iron bar. (See Fig. 260.)
(1020) Lent by the COMMITTEE OF THE FREE LIBRARY AND MUSEUM, DUNDEE.
LEG CHAIN, consists of a strong iron chain about five feet long. At the end of this is the ankle ring about 3 ½ inches diameter. It is hinged, and on the opposite side from the hinge the ring can be opened by a screw inside a box, which works with a key. By this arrangement there is no necessity for a padlock.
(1022) Lent by the COMMITTEE OF THE FREE LIBRARY AND MUSEUM, DUNDEE.
SIMILAR FETTER, but the ring is divided like those in No. 1020, and requires to be either riveted or secured by a padlock. The whole chain measures about 2 feet 10 inches, and in the middle is a swivel link which gave the prisoner a little more freedom. It weighs 15 lbs. (See Fig. 261.)
(1023) Lent by the COMMITTEE OF THE FREE LIBRARY AND MUSEUM, DUNDEE.
SINGLE ANKLET of massive proportions. The centre iron rod is an inch in diameter, and nine inches long. The ring for the ankle is nearly as thick, and is three inches in diameter. Over it passes another flattened ring, to which a chain could be attached. The whole is secured by a nut or screw at the end of the centre bar, which works by means of a key. (See Fig. 262.)
(1024) Lent by the COMMITTEE OF THE FREE LIBRARY AND MUSEUM, DUNDEE.
ANKLET of similar construction, but has two rings instead of one, and it wants the chain ring. The whole apparatus is 12 inches long, and the rings are 3 ¼ by 2 ¾ inches diameter. It weighs 7 lbs.
(1025) Lent by the COMMITTEE OF THE FREE LIBRARY AND MUSEUM, DUNDEE.
PAIR OF MANACLES, from W. B. Johnstone’s Collection. It consists of a straight iron rod, 9 ½ inches long, with a round hammered head. Slipped on the rod are two rings of metal for surrounding the wrists. The rings are 2 ¼ inches at their widest part. They are prevented from being taken off the rod by a padlock which passes through a hole or slot at the end of the rod. The padlock is of an unusual shape, being flat on one side and curved on the other, and the keyhole is placed on the narrow part of the padlock. This is a comparatively light set of manacles.
(1265) Lent by ROBERT GLEN.
2 thoughts on “Fetters, pp.329-330.”
Interesting how “fetters” has (have?) taken on a solely metaphorical meaning in latter times.
That might depend on where you are in the world. In my mind, when I see US prisoners being tranported with their hands and legs chained, I consider them to be in fetters.