Your home is your cas­tle

EDP Norfolk - - Last Word In Property -

‘AN English­man’s home is his cas­tle.’ This state­ment, I un­der­stand, has been a le­gal pre­cept for hun­dreds of years. No per­son may en­ter an­other per­son’s home un­less in­vited.

This be­came com­mon law in the 1600s, when it was stated ‘A man’s house is his cas­tle, et do­mus sua cuique est tutis­si­mum refugium.’ It means ‘and each man’s home is his safest refuge.’ (Thanks, Google.)

We have been pro­tect­ing our homes from the en­emy for thou­sands of years in one form or an­other. In the Stone Age, rocks were used as weapons against in­trud­ers; then came bows and ar­rows. Later, wild dogs were lured with food to stay near set­tle­ments, en­sur­ing that the en­emy kept their dis­tance, cre­at­ing the first guard dogs.

I have men­tioned pre­vi­ously how homes in the me­dieval pe­riod were built in cir­cles fac­ing each other, with no win­dows to the rear, as a form of pro­tec­tion and of course, if you were a very wealthy landowner, your coun­try retreat may have had a moat.

Prob­a­bly one of the old­est forms of se­cu­rity came in the form of a lock and key. The ear­li­est date back to 704 BC, but were made of wood, so not very strong. It was the Ro­mans who cre­ated a much stronger and smaller ver­sion made of iron. This de­sign was used for 17 cen­turies after the fall of Rome.

Just after the end of the First World War, crime lev­els started to rise in Amer­i­can cities. To re­duce their in­sur­ance pre­mium and to give them­selves peace of mind, Amer­i­can cit­i­zens sub­scribed to a new ser­vice called the ‘door shaker’.

One of the ‘shak­ers’ would try your door late at night en­sur­ing it was locked! Imag­ine sit­ting in a dimly-lit room lis­ten­ing to the wire­less when sud­denly some­one tries your door! Ab­so­lute mad­ness. We have two peo­ple to thank for the birth of the home se­cu­rity sys­tem, in 1853 Au­gus­tus Pope in­vented an elec­tro­mag­netic sys­tem that sounded a bell when a se­cured win­dow or door was opened. In 1966 Marie Van Brit­tan Brown in­vented the first au­to­mated home se­cu­rity sys­tem. Us­ing a peep-hole at four dif­fer­ent heights on the front door, a cam­era slid up and down to look through the peep hole with the im­age ap­pear­ing on a screen in the sit­ting room, so you knew who was at your front door. Se­cu­rity has moved on since then. If money is no ob­ject, home se­cu­rity now comes in the form of hi-tech panic rooms, with se­cret pas­sages and bul­let-proof glass. But my favourite is a de­vice that pumps smoke into the face of an in­truder to con­fuse them; it even comes with the op­tion of a nox­ious gas! I know which one I would have in­stalled…

Above: Locks fa­mil­iar

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