Iron Flesh Hook

Material: Wrought iron
Dimensions: Length: 55.5cm / 21 ¾in
Place of Origin: England
Date: 14th or 15th century
Maker or Retailer: Unknown
Present Location: Private collection


This medieval kitchen implement is made of wrought iron; it has three hooked prongs and was used to retrieve cooked meat and other foods from the cauldron. The flesh hook was later superseded by the more familiar two- or three-pronged flesh fork.

The present example is a rare survival; it was acquired from a now-defunct museum and its condition suggests that it may have been excavated.

An identical flesh hook appears in a contemporary illustration to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, dating from the late 14th century. It is carried by one of the pilgrims, the Cook, and is symbolic of his occupation.


  • J Seymour Lindsay, Iron and Brass Implements of the English House, Medici Society, London 1924; revised and enlarged edition Alec Tiranti, London 1964, pp. 34-35, fig. 110

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