Nails were valuable. Horseshoe nails were even used as a form of currency in certain circumstances. They were made from English iron which was less carboniferous than the imported iron from Spain and Sweden (used in the making of cannons).
Apart from their use by blacksmiths and in shipbuilding, nails were used in furniture making, particularly in the earlier medieval period when furniture was board made. Nails might also be used to decorate furniture and chests. Often furniture nails were tin plated as the tannins in oak wood caused iron nails to corrode. They might also be silvered on the heads to provide a furtherdecorative feature. In house building they were used to secure laths for roof tiles and in walls, when lath and plaster was used.
Randall manor was subject to a planned abandonment so there should be very few if any furniture nails but as excavations have shown that tiles were widely used on the roofs of the buildings and there was likely lath and plaster internal walls, it is probable that most, if not all of the nails will be nails used in the construction of buildings.
- Wood, Margaret (1983) The English Medieval House. Harper Collins.
- Clifton-Taylor, Alec (1973) The Pattern of English Building. Faber & Faber.
- Ramsey, Nigel & Blair, John (2001) English Medieval Industries. The Hambledon Press.
(Amanda Hebbert, 2021)