by Paul Nix
The range of buildings that faced the south side of the old Exchange was originally called “Cook Stool Row”. This was where the Ducking Stool was kept; for Cook Stool read Duck Stool, it was used to duck female scolds in the pond that was in front of the old Exchange building (replaced by the modern Council House).
The story goes that the Ducking stool had been out of use for some time (due to pressure from locals who thought it demeaning), but a dignitary decided that a notorious scold needed teaching a lesson.
During the ducking the stool broke (due to non use, its maintainance had been lacking) and the scold was drowned.
This led to the authorities ordering the destruction and burning of the stool and the filling in of the pond.
This side of the thoroughfare, after the demise of the stool was renamed The Poultry (possibly to hid the shame of the event).