Keyrings and Keychains
The Medieval Household: Daily Living c.1150-c.1450

Material Culture in London in an Age of Transition: Tudor and Stuart Period Finds c. 1450-1700 from Excavations at Riverside Sites in Southwark

Hooked-Clasps and Eyes

This linkspage was built on the foundation of research by Robert MacPherson and a conversation on the Armour Archive. I am grateful to Mac for allowing me to post his research here as well.

The links here represent different ways in which people carried their keys, including medieval keychains and keyrings. While it does, for the most part, eliminate the oversized keys as shown on images of St. Peter, there are several examples of St. Elizabeth carrying more realistic-looking household keys in depictions of the Visitation.

In addition to these examples, there are several metal rings in the Portable Antiquities Scheme finds database that may have been medieval keyrings, such as ESS-F6C1E1, ESS-F6B775, ESS-F6AD83, ESS-F697C6, ESS-E609F6, HAMP-872702, HAMP-7005D6, HAMP-67ABE4, HAMP-BAB9F4, HAMP-7C89B3, WILT-997275, WILT-B4B161, WILT-5A67C2, WILT-223662, WILT-F90530, WILT-AC6CD3, WILT-08BB45, WILT-1529C3, WILT-702FC4, WILT-6FE481, WILT-A313D4 and WILT-7FC084. Strap fitting LVPL-DD6134 has four loop holes with linked chains that could also have been used to hold keys. Strap fitting YORYM-FD9151 features a split ring that could have been used to hold keys.