Historic Churches 2021

20 BCD SPECIAL REPORT ON HISTORIC CHURCHES 28 TH ANNUAL EDITION VICTORIAN LOCKS Jessica Burr S ECURITY IS one of the ever- changing responsibilities we face when looking after a church. With technology advancing all the time, keeping security sympathetic yet up to date can be tricky, especially on the doors of listed buildings. On the exterior doors of a church, whether they are single or double doors, you would typically expect to find a large, surface-mounted rim lock with a timber casing on the inner face, together with a ring pull or latch, bolts, and large stone-mounted strap hinges. This form of rim lock is among the oldest, with a deadbolt fixed to the inner face of the door and covered by the timber casing. (A deadbolt or deadlock is one that can only be operated by a key – there is no handle on the inside.) In most cases the lock’s security relies on a specially shaped obstruction or ‘ward’ that allows only a key of the correct shape to rotate and connect with the bolt itself, pushing it into its new position. There may also be a plate called a lever that prevents the bolt from sliding. This is raised by the key as it turns, allowing the bolt to be moved. The bolt would lock into either a mortised hole in the stonework or an iron staple mounted on the surface of the wall. Alternately, if the door has a timber frame an iron keep might replace the staple. In the Victorian era many older doors were refurbished to look ‘gothic’, and the old lock would be replaced. The new A Victorian church door at St Mary’s, Everton with a wood-encased deadlock (top right) and ornate metalwork