SWYOR-ECF507: SWYOR-ECF507 Medieval Book Fitting

Rights Holder: West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service
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Unique ID: SWYOR-ECF507

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

 An incomplete medieval copper alloy hinged plate-and-loop type book clasp (Howsam type A.1.1) dating from the late 14th or early 15th century. The object has a folded tapering rectangular plate which is folded around a bar, which also articulates with the remains of the main part of the book clasp.  There is a small fragment of one loop from the clasp remaining articulating with one side of the bar. The majority of the clasp element is lost to antiquity leading to speculation as to the design of the loop.

The sheet plate has two copper alloy rivets in situ at the open end, positioned side by side, and has signs of breakage around the rivets on the backplate.  The plate has recessed shoulders to accommodate the clasp hinge loops. There is an overall brown and green patina with no visible decoration. Dimensions: 21.9mm long, 8mm wide and 2.9mm thick. 1.14g.

Book clasps found in archaeological contexts seem to cluster in the late 14th and 15th centuries in London (Egan 1998, 277-80) and in early to mid 16th-century contexts elsewhere (Howsam 2016, 24-26). Howsam points out that many old books were destroyed at the Reformation, leading many old book fittings to be found in 16th-century contexts. The date of the context is not the same as the date of manufacture of the book fitting. See https://finds.org.uk/counties/findsrecordingguides/book-clasps/.  Comparisons from the database include LVPL-7BFF03, SWYOR-EABA94 and WAW-CC2E93.

Class: clasp
Sub class: Howsam A.1.1

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Period to: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1350
Date to: Circa AD 1500

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 21.9 mm
Width: 8 mm
Thickness: 2.9 mm
Weight: 1.14 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Sunday 1st December 2019 - Friday 31st January 2020

Personal details

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Other reference numbers

Other reference: PAS form number 3597

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Hand made
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: Yorkshire and the Humber (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Wakefield (Metropolitan District)
District: Wakefield (Metropolitan District)
Parish or ward: Pontefract North (Metropolitan District Ward)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SE4623
Four figure Latitude: 53.70141555
Four figure longitude: -1.30471014
1:25K map: SE4623
1:10K map: SE42SE
Grid reference source: GPS (from the finder)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

Author Publication Year Title Publication Place Publisher Pages Reference
Egan, G. 1998 The Medieval Household: Daily Living c.1150-c.1450 (Medieval Finds from Excavations in London) London The Stationery Office pages 277-280
Geake, H. 2000 Finds Recording Guide Book Clasps
Howsam, C.L. 2016 Book Fastenings and Furnishings: An archaeology of late Medieval books Sheffield Unpulished PhD Thesis pages 24-26

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: SWYOR
Created: About one year ago
Updated: About one year ago

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