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Suffolk Latches – A History

April 1, 2010

written by Martin Foley

Who is William Twopeny?


Little is known about William Twopeny (1797-1873) other than a fine body of his work bound in 13 folios which are drawings of architecture, furniture, woodwork and ironwork accumulated during his travels within the UK. The drawings are executed with draughtsmanlike precision and in his collection of English metal work, form a unique record of the metal master’s craft. He illustrates in superb detail the lead rainwater pipes at Haddon Hall; the iron firedogs at Leeds Castle; an iron suffolk latch at Athelstane Abbey ┬áin Yorkshire, and many other items of door hardware. He is said to be the man who named the Suffolk Latch (no back plate) and the Norfolk Latch (with a back plate)

The Suffolk Latch has been popular since the C17th. Usually made in wrought iron or steel but sometimes in wood or brass, the latch is a simple but highly effective mechanism which still prospers today. There have been many different decorations over the centuries but today two designs dominate, the bean latch where the ends of the handle resemble a broad bean and the arrowhead or gothic style. It is most often used on Cottage Doors and with T-hinges.

Click on any of the photographs to link to our range of Suffolk Latches.

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