Bilboes Law and Legal Definition

Bilboes were iron restraints placed on a prisoner's ankles or wrists. In early days, bilboes were used as a device for punishment at sea. It consisted of a ‘U’ shaped iron bar with sliding shackles for confining the ankles of prisoners. Bilboes were commonly used to confine prisoners on ship board. They were also used to restrain slaves, and for public corporal punishment for both men and women. Bilboes were popular in England and the U.S. in the colonial and early revolutionary periods. This form of punishment was superseded by the use of stocks.