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Yett Yatt, a Wrought-Iron Gate Door

Yett or Yatt, a Wrought-Iron Gate Door, Typical of Border Strongholds

A “Yett” was a wrought-iron door made by riveting thick iron bars together to form a strong latticework. This structure was then reinforced by the addition of oak planks that were in turn riveted in place. The yett at Naworth Castle still has some of its planking in place and is a rare survival from reiving days.

The thickness of the walls of many Border strongholds allowed them the security of both a strong wooden outer door and an inner yett in the entrance passage. These are secured by strong wooden drawbars housed in tunnels in the thickness of the wall.

The doors closed against rebates or checks in the upright jambs and were “harr-hung”, i.e. they turned on pivots above and below.

The double-door arrangement probably had some effect against attempts to smoke the defenders out of a stronghold and is a feature of both pele-towers and bastle-houses on the Border.

Evidence that these yetts were effective is indicated by the decree of the Privy Council in 1606 ordering their destruction in all “houssis and strenthis” in the Borders. The “yettis” were to be removed and “turnit in plew irnis or sic other necessar werk”.

Barholm Tower Yett 1984

Fatlips Castle Yett Bw

Naworth Castle Yett Bw

Smailholm Yett

Barns Tower Yett

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