Object of the Month, July 2017

LISDD:2006.34 & 35 Cast Iron Hanging Plate Girdles


LISDD:2016.35 Griddle with hinged handle, base diameter 300mm


LISDD:2016.34 Griddle with hinged handle and ring, base diameter 360mm.

From Port Ramsay. 

Every house on Lismore would have had at least one traditional Scottish (or Irish) hanging plate griddle or girdle (Gaelic grideal), with a hinged handle for easy storage. Used for baking bannocks, oatcakes, scones, pancakes, potato bread and biscuits, they were very versatile and could be used directly on, or suspended over, an open fire (see the swee below), and on stoves and cookers. In the days before the wheat loaf supplanted the oatcake or bere bannock, “in Scotland, amongst the rural population generally, the girdle …. took the place of the oven” (McNeill, 1929). A wide range of types of girdle would have been used in the past, normally made by the local blacksmith but, in the early Victorian era, mass production brought cheap cast iron hanging plate girdles into most Highland homes. Modern versions are normally manufactured in steel. 

LISDD:2006.39 Swee, allowing a suspended pot or girdle to be moved over an open fire. Axis length 880mm. Found on the shore at Port Ramsay and donated by Robert Smith 

Swee, sway or swey

“A moveable iron bar over a fire, on which pots, kettles etc can be hung”

Robinson M. (1987). The Concise Scots Dictionary. Aberdeen University Press. 


McNeill F M. (1929 and many subsequent editions). The Scots Kitchen. Its Lore and Recipes. Edinburgh: Blackie.

Brown C. (2004). Classic Scots Cookery. Glasgow: Neil Wilson Publishing.

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