We take a look at the brief history of the Mortice lock

So, what is a Mortice lock?

Put very simply a Mortice lock is a lock that requires a pocket (this is called the Mortice) to be cut into the door in which the lock is to be fitted. They are not as popular nowadays as the Euro Cylinder or the Yale Locks as they were traditionally used in older buildings that were built before the advent of cylinder locks.

They have enjoyed a bit of renaissance recently as they are being used in upmarket residential construction and are now seen as a bit of a style statement. So where did it all begin? Here’s a brief history of the Mortice lock.

Mortice locks have been in use since the mid 18th century as part of the doors hardware system. Typically though, the Mortice Lock was only ever used in the most formal rooms of the most expensive houses. This changed in the mid 19th century where their use was more widespread in more modest general housing.

How do they work?

The mechanism of a Mortice Lock, historically and still in effect today, uses lever locks. Some older Mortice locks have used warded lock mechanisms. The installation of a Mortice Lock should be left to specialist Locksmiths, as it requires a precise cutting of the pocket and the installation of the external trim can be tricky. Specialists generally use a morticising jig for this procedure.

The parts that make up the Mortice Lock typically are the lock body, the lock trim, strike plate and the keyed cylinder which operates the locking and unlocking function of the lock body. In Europe however, Mortice Locks use lever mechanisms instead of cylinders.

To find out more about the history of Mortice locks, ring Stephen on 07930 841967 if you are in the Doncaster area.

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About S Fretwell & Sons of Doncaster


We are a family business established in 1980, Stephen is DBS checked and a member of the Association of Accredited Locksmiths. We are a local company based in Doncaster.


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