Your home is your castle
‘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