So, there was this thing called the Ale Houses Act of 1551 where it essentially was used to maintain public order with respect to public drunkenness (and it must have worked okay, since it was only repealed in 1828).  

In Ralph Gardiner's England's Grievance Discovered (1655) there was the following statement regarding sights seen in Newcastle:

[M]en drove up and down the streets, with a great tub, or barrel, opened  in the sides, with a hole in one end, to put through their heads, and to cover their shoulders and bodies, down to the small of their legs, and  then close the same, called the new fashioned cloak, and so make them  march to the view of all beholders; and this is their punishment for drunkards, or the like.

This punishment should not be confused with the visually similar Bankruptcy Barrel.