IRON-WORK, as an ornament in medieval architecture, is chiefly confined to the hinges, etc., of doors and of church chests, etc. Specimens of Norman iron-work are very rare. Early English specimens are numerous and very elaborate. In some instances not only do the hinges become a mass of scroll work, but the surface of the doors is covered by similar ornaments. In both these periods the design evidently partakes of the feeling exhibited in the stone or wood carving. In the Decorated period the scroll work is more graceful, and, like the foliage of the time, more natural. As styles progressed, there was a greater desire that the framing of the doors should be richer, and the ledges were chamfered or raised, then panelled, and at last the doors became a mass of scroll panelling. This, of course, interfered with the design of the hinges, the ornamentation of which gradually became unusual. In almost all styles the smaller and less important doors had merely plain strap-hinges, terminating in a few bent scrolls, and latterly in fleurs-de-lis. Escutcheon and ring handles, and the other furniture, partook more or less of the character of the time. On the continent of Europe the knockers are very elaborate. At all periods doors have been ornamented with nails having projecting heads, sometimes square, sometimes polygonal, and sometimes ornamented with roses, etc. The iron work of windows is generally plain, and the ornament confined to simple fleur-de-lis heads to the stanchions. For the iron-work of screens enclosing tombs and chapels see GRILLE; and generally see METAL-WORK.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)