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The Shrub Hill jougs, Edinburgh displayed in the National Museum of Scotland

The jougs, juggs, or joggs (Old French joug, from Lat. jugum, a yoke) was an instrument of punishment formerly used in Scotland, the Netherlands and other countries.


It was an iron collar fastened by a short chain to a wall, often of the parish church, or to a tree or mercat cross. The collar was placed round the offender's neck and fastened by a padlock. Time spent in the jougs was intended to shame an offender publicly. Jougs were used for ecclesiastical as well as civil offences. Some surviving examples can still be seen in situ in Scottish towns and villages. Jougs may be the origin of the later slang word "jug", meaning prison.


Jougs on the weigh-house at Ceres, Fife

Sir Walter Scott rescued the jougs from Threave Castle in the Borders and attached them to the castellated gateway he built at Abbotsford House.[1]

The old Tolbooth museum in Sanquhar in the Nith valley has jougs attached to the wall just outside the entrance to the old gaol.

The jougs at Sorn Kirk were stolen in the 1930s, but located and returned. Cuthbertson refers to the jougs as "symbols of the session's power against gossips and evil-doers".[2][3]

The jougs on the Isle of Cumbrae survive, attached to a gatepost at the entrance to the Millport Old Cemetery entrance.[4]

The "Clachan Oak" is an ancient sessile oak near Balfron in Stirlingshire. It can still be seen bearing metal bands around its trunk to which jougs were once attached for the restraint and humiliation of petty criminals.[5]

Mr Carse of the Shawhill Estate protected a fine old thorn tree that grew at the Hurlford Bridge end by attaching a pair of jougs to it, made by David Brown the local blacksmith. These were never used, but acted as a deterrent to local children who might have harmed the tree.[6]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Napier, George G. (1897). The Home and Haunts of Sir Walter Scott, Bart. James Maclehose, Glasgow. p. 153.
  2. ^ Cuthbertson, David Cuningham (1945). Autumn in Kyle and the Charm of Cunninghame. London : Jenkins. p. 116
  3. ^ Sorn Church Retrieved : 2011-01-11
  4. ^ Steele, John and Noreen (2009). Welcome to Wee Cumbrae. Privately published. ISBN 978-0-9532637-0-7. p. 38
  5. ^ Rodger, Donald, Stokes, Jon, et. al (2006). Heritage Trees of Scotland. The Forestry Commission & The Tree Council. ISBN 0-904853-06-3. p. 182
  6. ^ Wilson, M. (1875). The Ayrshire Hermit : Tammie Raeburn. Hurlford Sixty Years Ago. Kilmarmnock : Alfred Chas. Jonas. Pages 40 & 41

External links[edit]

  • [1] Video showing the Kilmaurs Jougs.
  • [2] Video and narration about the Fenwick Jougs.
  • [3] Bygone Punishments of Scotland by William Andrews 1899 on electricscotland.