Monday, November 17, 2014

Word of the Day -- Yett

A yett (from the Old English and Scots language word for "gate") is a gate or grille of latticed
wrought iron bars used for defensive purposes in castles and tower houses. Unlike a portcullis, which is raised and lowered vertically using mechanical means, yetts are hinged in the manner of a traditional gate or door, and secured by bolts attached to the yett, or by long bars drawn out from the wall or gateway.

Yetts are predominantly found in Scotland – where most towers, particularly the later ones, were equipped with them rather than portcullises – but some iron gates are found in the Border counties of England. While few references to yetts exist outside Scotland, an English report of 1416 on Roxburgh Castle (then in English hands) contained recommendations for the insertion of iron gates. Yetts are not restricted to any one region or district within Scotland, but are widespread throughout.

Similar grille constructions, frequently also referred to as yetts, were used in Scotland over windows and other openings. These were typically fixed in place, often set into the jambs, sills and lintels.



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