Handcuff, iron,1700–1830s. Found during the 1912-14 moat excavation at Tattershall Castle .
Fragments of several barrel padlocks were found during the 1912-14 moat excavation at Tattershall Castle. Some barrel padlocks were used to secure human or animal limbs, though others were for securing doors and furniture. This example has been interpreted as one bracelet from a pair of handcuffs. The basement beneath the tower of Tattershall Castle is said to have been used as a prison during the Civil War and it is possible that the barrel padlocks were used to restrain prisoners. This artefact was recovered during an excavation of the castle moat between 1912 and 1914 by William Weir at the bequest of Lord Curzon as part of the site’s restoration works. Around 1,300 objects were found during this excavation and largely date to the medieval and post-medieval periods when the castle was occupied. The collection comprises pottery, ceramic building material, plaster, worked stone, vessel and window glass, metal work and clay pipe.