This small key has been identifed as a rotary key, so named as they fit into a lock and rotate in order to lift tumblers or levers, or push springs.
This form of key was probably in use from the Late Medieval period (c. 1300-1539) and was likely used for a door or a chest. It was recovered in association with a post-medieval wall, which followed the same alignment as a medieval boundary wall for a manor house.
The key has a decorated bow handle depicting a quatrefoil with a perforation in each petal and an additional one in the centre. It has three sub-rectangular mouldings at the junction between the stem and the bow which form a bulbous collar. The stem is circular in cross-section and hollow and the bit (which goes into the lock) is sub-rectangular in shape.
Other information & metadata
Site location: Claverham, North Somerset
Project type: Archaeological excavation
Site type: Multiperiod
Discovery context: Post-medieval wall
Claverham Works and Court De Wyck: Medieval key