A girdle is like a griddle, in that it is a flat cooking surface, but instead of being set on top of the heat source, it is hung over the heat source by a long, linked metal chain.
It is usually made of iron, and usually round, with a metal hooped handle that a chain to hang it with will attach to.
A girdle was used for “baking” items such as bannock, scones, oatcakes, and other quick breads. You cook the items on it, as you would a pancake.
It was used particularly in Scotland.
A maker of one was called either a “Girdilmaker”, “Girdler” or “Girdlesmith.”
Literature & Lore
“Wi’ butter’d bannocks now the girdle reeks…” — Robert Fergusson (1750-1774)
“like a hen on a het girdle” meant hopping from one foot to another.
“The Bailie . . . had all this while shifted from one foot to another with great impatience, “like a hen”, as he afterwards said, “upon a het girdle.” — Sir Walter Scott. Waverley Novels. 1814.
Girdle: In: Dictionary of the Scots Language. Scottish Language Dictionaries. Accessed October 2019 at https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/girdle