A Kale Wife ‘Loses it’ and Starts a Revolution

Luther claimed that women were meant to be still, hence he didn’t get much support in Britain, where women expect to be seen and heard. This is from Unbridled Spirits by Stevie Davies:

Jenny Geddes became a national legend when, on Sunday 23 July 1637, she expressed Scottish Presbyterian outrage a the imposition of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer by hurling her creepie-stool at the head of the Dean of St Giles Cathedral, bawling (as he intoned the word ‘Collect’), ‘Deil colic and waame of thee; out, thou false thief. Dost thou say mass at my lug?’ Jenny was a poor ‘kerb woman’ and ‘kail-wife’, who sold cabbage and greens at a pavement stall. She was joined by missile-throwing fellow women, who surged around shouting ‘False anti-christian! Beastly belly-God! Crafty fox! Ill-hanged thief! Judas!’ and was credited with precipitating the First bishop’s War between England and Scotland, which led in tun to the Second Bishop’s War, the English Civil War, the abolition of bishops, House of Lords, the monarchy… so that the flying stool of an outraged Scottish street-pedlar may be said, by an impudent extension of chaos theory, to have struck King Charles 1’s head from his shoulders. The approximate position from which Jenny hurled the stool was later market by a commemorative plaque:

Constant Oral Tradition Affirms

That near this spot

A brave Scotchwoman, Janet Geddes

sOn the 23rd of July 1637,

struck the first blow

in the great struggle for freedom of conscience


after a conflict of half a century


in the establishment of civil and religious liberty

Professor JS Blackie celebrated her rowdyism in admiring verses:

KLing Charles he wa a shuffling knave, priest Laud a pedant fool,

But Jenny was a woman wise, who beat them with a stool.


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